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Mt. Ellen 12/28 - 12/29/12 - Horde Avoidance

PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:34 pm
by flyover
12/28/12

Drove to Mad River with the family on Friday, but didn’t ski there. The Horde finally arrived. The parking lot was full and the line to buy tickets was 45 minutes. We made a spot decision to try Mt. Ellen and were glad we did. We got one of the last spots in the lot and the lodge was an absolute zoo. Liftlines, however, were under 7-8 minutes all morning and under 5 in the afternoon. The trails, chosen carefully, weren’t too crowded either. Refugees from South encountered in the liftlines complained of 45 minute mazes on the other side of Slide Brook.

This was family skiing until my parents and daughter went home around 2:45, so I mostly skied cruisers. I hadn’t been to Mt. Ellen since about 1993 (when it was “Sugarbush North”) and had forgotten that, despite some very annoying crowd funnels and flat spots, it has a decent selection of fall-line blue cruisers. With the exception of the wind-scoured summit and a few of the worst crowd funnels, the packed powder conditions were some of the best I can remember skiing in the Northeast. I’ve also got to give props to SB for allowing some of the easier blues and more difficult greens to bump up a little bit, allowing intermediate skiers to practice mogul skiing on relatively gentle slopes. This was fun for my wife and daughter.

12/29/12

Went back for more today. It snowed about 4 inches of low-density powder over the course of the day, freshening things up nicely. Liftlines were between ski-on and 5 minutes all day. With the family in tow, I still haven’t gotten into Mt. Ellen’s trees, but from the trails, I noticed that the woods are getting tracked out a lot more slowly than they do at South. Even from the trails, I could tell there is a lot of inbounds deep fresh snow in reasonably spaced trees leftover for those willing to put in just a little extra effort. The natural snow trails all over the hill are bumping up nicely and moguls everywhere except the summit are super soft.

I can’t quite figure out Mt. Ellen’s demographic. Someone has bumped up a lot of the hill with excellently spaced moguls, but every time I ventured off on some of the better natural-snow trails, I found myself alone. After the family went in for hot chocolate at 3:30, my last run of the day was down lower F.I.S. It must be about 1800 vertical feet of classic twisting, rolling, narrow New England skiing. Today it was wall-to-wall with super soft bumps dusted in fresh powder. I didn’t see another soul over the entire length of the trail.

Re: Mt. Ellen 12/28 - 12/29/12 - Horde Avoidance

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:13 am
by flyover
Interesting:

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/2013/0 ... sugarbush/

So even on SB's busiest day ever, Mt. Ellen's liftlines were relatively short and the powder stashes in the on-map woods were tracking out slowly.

I went back again on 12/30 and skied a few laps through on-map woods between Tumbler and Lower F.I.S. These trees were completely sheltered from the winds and, 3 days after the big storm, offered an essentially unlimited supply of well-preserved, very lightly-tracked powder on moderately-steep pitches with respectable vertical drops. For some reason, Mt. Ellen's skiers and riders just weren't hitting this enormous and obvious stash. I'll try to add a few pics over the coming weekend.

Re: Mt. Ellen 12/28 - 12/29/12 - Horde Avoidance

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:30 pm
by Mike Bernstein
flyover wrote:Interesting:

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/2013/0 ... sugarbush/

So even on SB's busiest day ever, Mt. Ellen's liftlines were relatively short and the powder stashes in the on-map woods were tracking out slowly.

I went back again on 12/30 and skied a few laps through on-map woods between Tumbler and Lower F.I.S. These trees were completely sheltered from the winds and, 3 days after the big storm, offered an essentially unlimited supply of well-preserved, very lightly-tracked powder on moderately-steep pitches with respectable vertical drops. For some reason, Mt. Ellen's skiers and riders just weren't hitting this enormous and obvious stash. I'll try to add a few pics over the coming weekend.


Correction - busiest day under current ownership, not ever. Still, the broader point stands. They call it Club North for a reason.