Sugarbush 3/18/2014

Date(s) Skied: 3/18/2014
Resort or Ski Area: Sugarbush
Conditions: Powder, packed powder
Trip Report:

My friend John and I trekked up to the Bush for what has become our annual Warren Miller freebie day. (Truth be known, Ticket To Ride was lousy enough that we might decide to just buy lift tickets from now on.) Started out on Gate House and then went over to the Village Double, of all things; John wanted to practice one-ski skiing (this is apparently a thing for learning better balance) and I wanted to do a nostalgia ride on this ancient lift that I had gotten to know well when my family vacationed there when I was 6. Thing has new chairs but was otherwise the same lift; I was also trying to figure out where the daycare had been (might still be in the same place, actually).

Then it was back up Gatehouse and the Slide Brook Express over to Mt. Ellen. One day I'm going to explore the Slide Brook Basin, but it was not this day. We headed up top and down Rim Run, and in avoiding Exterminator and Bravo ended up in Bravo Woods, which was fun but we decided to bail onto Elbow. I had this recollection from when I was a kid that there was a fairly wide trail over to the top of the Inverness lift, but it turned out to be this narrow, not-entirely-downhill crosscut, and then the Inverness area turned out to be closed. But we had a fun ride down Walt's Trail, which is much more winding than it appears on the map. (I've decided I really don't care for James Niehues's maps, but that's another thread.)

The Mt. Ellen base lodge has clearly not changed a bit since the 60s. Unfortunately, the same appears to be true of the food.

After lunch we did a run on FIS, where I was starting to get my ski legs under me and dealing with bumps better. Lovely trail, but the flat runout was a bit annoying. Sugarbush appears to be fond of long flat runouts. Then we got some more bump exercise on Tumbler; at one point I stopped to rest and John said "You look better than you feel", which I decided to take as a compliment. :-)

Back over on the SBX and we were going to go up North Lynx, but it was stopped for what the liftie called a "maintenance check", and then a couple guys who I assume were lift mechanics roared up on snowmobiles. We hiked up to Castlerock Connection, and as soon as John committed to going down the trail, the lift started up again.

At Castlerock we gracelessly flailed our way down Rumble; I was feeling pretty good about my bump skiing at this point. Guess there's something to this idea of picking your line a few bumps in advance. Then we did Castlerock Run with the intent of cutting over to Heaven's Gate, but Bailout closes at 3 for reasons I'm unclear on. We headed all the way down and up Super Bravo; John didn't think we had time to get to Heaven's Gate but we did. I was done with bumps for the time being, so we rip-roared down Jester; had to read the signs really quickly to stay on it in the lower reaches. Then we had a few unexpected final runs on Super Bravo; on the last one the liftie put the seat back down so we could get on. John persuaded me to go down Lower Birdland on one of those, which had huge bumps and a tricky double fall line.

And then the lift closed for good and real and it was time for beers and the long drive home. Stopped at the Warren Store for some Heady Topper and managed not to stuff the car in the ditch going down Roxbury Gap this time.

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