Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

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Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:11 pm

I started my three-day visit to northern Vermont with an uninspiring outing at Bolton Valley on Friday: hard and fast with stiff snow in the trees following a midweek thaw/freeze, the northeast's first since... December? Conditions at Stowe on Saturday were considerably better with mostly soft groomers and low-angle trees. Anything steeper than that was scratchy.

With lots of traffic heading up the access road, I figured that I'd be looking at a long walk to the lifts; luckily, the huge lot on the Mansfield side is right alongside the gondola and Forerunner quad. Very convenient.

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Gondola Base


I started by taking the Over Easy gondola to always line-free Spruce.

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The last time I skied Spruce was 2004, which I'm pretty sure was the final year of the double chair -- the first of its kind in the U.S. when opened in 1954 -- so the whole development over there, village and lifts, were new to me. What a difference taking the Sensation quad (barely five minutes) instead of 15+ on the old double. which I kinda liked, but hey, that's progress. Sterling and Smugglers had softened nicely in the moderate temps and you could really attack them. I had forgotten how fun these long, twisty classic New England trails were.

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Top of Spruce

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Upper Smugglers

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Smugglers

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Tough to miss the NJ racers from our local molehill Campgaw


Before heading back to Mansfield, I took a quick walk around the new village, which is still under construction. It looks very popular and honestly, given Stowe's clientele, it's surprising that they went until the mid-00s before building a Deer Valley-esque development like this. They're still building it out; not sure when the estimated completion date for the whole thing is.

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Spruce Camp Lodge

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Spruce Village's Target Audience?


Like pretty much everywhere in the east, locals were raving about Stowe's conditions all the way up through this week's market corrections. Starr and the other Front Four were open, but given the condition of steep off-piste, you'd probably need John Egan-level ice skills to make it through.

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Even with sub-optimum conditions, Stowe is a lot of fun and obviously deserves its traditional standing in the northeast Top 5. It skis bigger than the 2,100 lift-served verts and the trails still have plenty of New England personality.
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Re: Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby Admin » Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:15 pm

Stowe is without a doubt one of the East's top hills.
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Re: Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:12 am

Sunday morning, they were reporting three inches of dense overnight snow on the mountain with continued precipitation expected during the day, which turned out to be the case. It snowed continuously all day and the upper mountain was getting pounded by high winds, creating a borderline whiteout (during the morning they were running lifts/gondola at a slower speed). Once below the clouds about a third of the way down, it was clear sailing. I'm guessing that 6-8 inches had already fallen when I left at 3:30. On-piste conditions were really nice, you just had to stay on the side of the trail that hadn't been scoured by the wind.

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Smuggs


The woods were filled with really soft windsift, but I didn't see many people going in, so not many photo ops:
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This guy blasted through that space between the hardwood tree and the pine:
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Braving the winds on the summit:
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I wonder how long ago the owner had secured this vanity plate:
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Today is going to be a great day up there with warmer temps and clear skies predicted; unfortunately, I'm back in the city.
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Re: Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby kingslug » Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:32 am

Guess we where there the same time...Sunday was great..Saturday at the Bush..not so much. I've been heading up there more often now that I have a way to get there without driving...the bus..Miramar ski club..
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Re: Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:16 pm

For far better pix and more details about yesterday at Stowe, check out J.Spin's report:
http://jandeproductions.com/2015/03/15/ ... 15mar2015/
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Re: Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby baldyskier » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:02 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:For far better pix and more details about yesterday at Stowe, check out J.Spin's report:
http://jandeproductions.com/2015/03/15/ ... 15mar2015/

Thanks for your post and the link to J. Spin's report.

I skied Stowe one weekend back in 1979. I remember one day was foggy and slightly above freezing, while the 2nd day was so cold that they were handing out blankets for the chairlift ride. That was the first large ski area I had skied at, and that 2nd day was especially nice. I was amazed at how long the runs were (compared to my home hill, Snow Ridge, in Turin, N.Y.)

In 1981 I moved West (and thought I had died and gone to Skier's Heaven). Looks like the East has been more like Skier's Heaven this year.
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Re: Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:44 am

It's stunning how many people mention the wool blankets they gave out on cold days decades ago. In two days there, I must've heard from six different people on the lift go on about them. Here's a great article about it:
http://retro-skiing.com/2011/12/lift-blankets/
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Re: Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby Admin » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:29 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:It's stunning how many people mention the wool blankets they gave out on cold days decades ago. In two days there, I must've heard from six different people on the lift go on about them.


I remember very well from my childhood riding Stowe's single chair with the blankets. They were these thick, woolen things with a hole that you'd put your head through to wear them like a poncho. Lifties would download the blankets on the empty chairs, where despite their weight the ferocious wind howling through the Notch would blow them into treetops adjacent to the lift line.

Edit: and now that I've clicked on the link and read the article I feel a bit redundant. :wink:
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Re: Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby Marc_C » Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Admin wrote:Edit: and now that I've clicked on the link and read the article I feel a bit redundant. :wink:

Dude, you clicked to a J. Spin ski report - something with the precision, accuracy, and detail of a peer reviewed academic research paper. What did you expect? \:D/
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Re: Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby Admin » Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:52 am

Marc_C wrote:
Admin wrote:Edit: and now that I've clicked on the link and read the article I feel a bit redundant. :wink:

Dude, you clicked to a J. Spin ski report - something with the precision, accuracy, and detail of a peer reviewed academic research paper. What did you expect? \:D/


No, I clicked to http://retro-skiing.com/2011/12/lift-blankets/.
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Re: Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby Marc_C » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:00 am

Oh. Never mind.

At least they had the good sense not to replace their single with another single.
-marc
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Re: Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:57 am

Marc_C wrote:Dude, you clicked to a J. Spin ski report - something with the precision, accuracy, and detail of a peer reviewed academic research paper.

Hah, occupational hazard, I guess. The pix of his kids are always great -- they showed what the trees were like with all that blown-in snow.
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Re: Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby admafw » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:25 pm

Was there Friday (2015-03-20) for Ski & Ride with the Point day. Probably the most crowded I'd ever skied the place with lots of Vermonters, but it turns out that in addition to the radio promo they also had a promotion going for club members from Connecticut (some type of state holiday?) as well as some Burton event which closed the bar for lunch on the gondola side. (Luckily we'd packed all for heading home and had started early so we were parked close enough to manage a luncheon tailgate...) Long lines at the forerunner quad, smaller lines at the gondola. Snow firm in the morning and generally good with icy spots in high traffic/steep areas. Stayed away from the double diamonds but the bumps on chin clip skied well with only a few patches. Was able to pick up a few short fresh lines on some of the toll road switchbacks. We got lucky for weather, especially after a bitter wind scour day the day before at Cannon - locals were saying it was Stowe's first "spring skiing" day of the season.

One touristy pic of the group...
Stowe Tourists 20150320.JPG
A few snaps and a quick stretch before a cruise down Perry Merrill
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Re: Stowe, VT: 03/15/15

Postby JulieSkier » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:21 pm

Hi all,

Speaking of these amazing blankets. I don't suppose anyone has one for sale. We remember them fondly and would love one for our little couch in the condo. email juliegittings@gmail.com with any leads? thank you very much. julie
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