Sugarbush: Saturday 1/26 (nice pics included)

Will try to let the pictures speak for themselves as much as possible, but we shall see...

Skied Sugarbush last Saturday and didn't get around to making a report until now. We stayed in the valley but got a bit of a late start, so ended up starting around 9 or so. Temp at the base was 8° and it was a crystal clear bluebird day.

We started on Gatehouse and lapped Waterfall, N. Lynx, and Sleeper for some high speed rips. Excellent dry/squeaky groomed PP conditions, especially on N. Lynx because they had been making a lot of snow there. By PP, I mean the stuff that makes huge billows on every turn, and not the code word for ice that eastern resorts are so fond of. This type of snow prevailed on pretty much all of the groomers the whole day. It was great. I Love skiing in the cold. :grin:

After, we headed over to Superbravo. I'm sure Snowball et al. were great, but we headed directly for Heaven's Gate via Downspout (which was in its usual shaded/scraped state). We were greeted with a warning sign about the cold, extreme windchill, no exposed skin, etc. We were prepared so we headed up.

View from the top:
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Ripcord was good but it had already been beaten up by the "hey let's side-slip down this groomed 'double black' so we can brag about it" crowd (anybody who has skied Sugarbush on a weekend/holiday knows exactly what I'm talking about). No matter; short radius turns skier's left were rewarded with sweet snow.

My more adventurous friends decided to enter the woods off to the left of Ripcord, crossed Upper Paradise (closed), and skied Paradise woods, which they reported to be decent (!). Lower Paradise was open and to my surprise had nice bumps; quite firm but nice, chalky snow. Best of all, no one expected anything off the groomers to be any good, leaving them empty. Oh well. 8-) Did many laps off from upper Ripcord to lower Paradise, with occasional excursions into the woods, kept me happy.

Rule of thumb: if Ripcord is groomed, Organgrinder isn't (and vice versa). Today was no exception. This pic makes grinder look really sweet, but take my word for it, it was completely windblown right down to the frozen base. It was deserted for a reason.
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Jester was in great shape and a blast, as usual.

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A quick warmup break in Allyn's, then we continued to ski the lower mountain. Snowball was nice. To my surprise, Lixi's Twist and Moonshine had sweet, chalky bumps. And again, no one knew that the natural trails would ski so nicely. Their loss.

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Even better, the woods in that area (Gangsta's Grotto and Sap Line) were completely wind loaded. Almost felt like a powder day. Almost.

Sap Line:
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Based on the good snow/coverage here, I started wondering why Castlerock was closed. I'm obviously no patroller and can't claim to know the specific reasons they might have for keeping it closed. For all I know, it could be really sketchy up there. It sure didn't look like it from a distance, though, and the good conditions I encountered on natural trails that day made me think that things might not be half bad up there. Any thoughts?

Anyways, I could have happily lapped the Valley House area all day, but my friends wanted to check out Mt. Ellen, so we took the bus (Slidebrook was closed, guessing due to the cold and wind).

North was dead, groomers were a bit scraped down and windblown compared to South, though still in good shape by any standard. It was also colder there, if that's even possible. It was in the negative teens at the summit, without windchill. Winds were starting to kick up, I would guess ~30+mph. As close to Siberia as it gets without actually going there. Looking over the ridge towards the Adirondacks, I could see a storm approaching. It was pretty much still bluebird though, and the views from the top of Ellen were incredible, unfortunately I can only post 5 pics per post. :angry:

Towards the very end of the day, the winds became so violent that snow was kicked up all over the mountain, the visibility was severely compromised, and the windchill became all but unbearable. It was ~3:30 or so by that point so we decided to call it a day before one of us got frostbite.

Overall, an awesome trip. This is how midwinter skiing should be (of course some new snow would be better) and I was really surprised about how well the natural stuff skied after the January thaw/refreeze. I would have said that we have a great base all we need is another 6 inches or so and everything will be gold, but as we all know the "you-know-what" hit again this past week. At least winter is back again :snow:

Rock on!
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