Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

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Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby riverc0il » Sun Apr 08, 2007 5:45 pm

This report is essentially useless gloating as Mad River Glen is now closed for the season. As mentioned in my reply on the April 7th report, this is due to the construction schedule for the Single Chair rebuild. Work begins immediately and even a one week delay would have put an already tight schedule behind. With cold weather to persist through this week and potential snow fall Thursday and Friday, it is conceivable with the current base that Mad River could be skiable from top to bottom perhaps for the entire month of April. Even without the Single construction plans, given the extremely low turn out for three powder days in a row at one of the best mountains on the East Coast, I doubt operations would have turned profitable for an additional week, which is unfortunate for late season skiing in general, let alone late season skiing at Mad River Glen.

Three inches fell over night though it seemed like more in places on the Upper mountain. It snowed all day with not much accumulation. Though it really started coming down hard as I was leaving at 5:30p. Should be a FIFTH STRAIGHT POWDER DAY for the Northern Greens tomorrow. This is April? This weekend certainly hasn't sucked. I will place a three way/day tie this weekend for my third best day of the season. Not the deepest powder but pretty close at times and no competition all weekend. It has really been sick out there.

Open to Close today for the final day of the original Single Chair operations. Though I begged forgiveness by opting out of the final Chair load at 4:30p despite an opportunity for one more run. I actually felt physically better than yesterday despite the royal powder pounding I gave my body. If I was on the fence before, I am certainly a believer now. Mad River is such a special little place in the world. The terrain continues to amaze as I further explore the lesser known areas of General Stark Mountain. And when EIGHT runs last from 9a-4:30p with an hour off for lunch and every minute was well spent, my mantra of quality over quantity is confirmed. How the mountain was so empty with $29 tickets being offered on a powder weekend is still beyond me.

On to the report then. So for the third day in a row (do you know what is coming?), boot to knee deep untracked was still plentiful, albeit slightly harder to find than the previous days, and lines were shorter and less often. The general rule was lots of loose powder everywhere with occasional patches of day old untracked on the sides. The trees owned it yet again with delightful slots though the more well known locations were well played but still nice. Bumps were finally beginning to develop anew as most were gone from the previous melt out. Lower mountain off trail was questionable with the fresh powder tracked out and not much base. The snow was soft and were packed, was a delightful mid-winter after a fresh storm style packed pow. Some of the best non-powder snow I skied all season for the packed powder sections.

Met up with Patrick and his friend Natalie first thing in the morning which was excellent. Nice to ski with you again Patrick! Patrick and I reminisced about how this year's closing day was so different than last year's:
http://www.thesnowway.com/ski/2006/mrg040106.php

Unreal. Back next week from Jay Peak after what looks to be yet another powder pounding on Thursday-Friday.
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re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby riverc0il » Sun Apr 08, 2007 7:39 pm

And I have some photos uploaded to TSW. Quality is not the best on most pictures due to the snow and poor light.

Photo Gallery

Edit: Patrick has the signature Pink Poles for reference.
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re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby joegm » Sun Apr 08, 2007 9:39 pm

mrg is probably just about the last place i would go after in an attack becasue of the honest way they operate in general... but i think it is just inexcusable that they are shutting it down now with the current conditions that are being reported on, after such a crappy year in general.. and yes i do think it was a crappy year despite some very good days, obviously, that came up...what's the big deal in getting behind schedule.. the way things are around here and have been for 3 years straight, who cares about skiing in dec....it's likely gonna stink...once again, no respect for spring skiing from the industry
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re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby riverc0il » Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:02 am

The big deal is they HAVE to have the Single operational by next season. It is not an option to fall behind. If the Single refurbishment is not completed by next season, the Co-op looses revenue it can't afford and disappoints its shareholders. There are a lot of things going into the construction this Summer and unexpected delays can always occur. Another big factor, from what I understand, is a few key tests have been scheduled around the schedule of some specialists that can not be rescheduled. This is business, companies make time commitments and deadlines must be met not only by Mad River, but also the companies it contracts with. There is a lot of factors going into this thing and I think any one that puts some effort into trying to understand those factors would appreciate the fact that skiing next weekend is not an option. I would love two more powder days at Mad River next weekend, but you won't hear me complaining. This isn't about the industry as any other year Mad River would surely go until the snow melted out at the base area.
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re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Apr 09, 2007 2:31 pm

As the one who first carped about MRG shutting down, I totally accept River's explanation as a one time exception. It's called Murphy's Law. After routinely closing in this time frame with desperation time conditions, it figures the one year MRG has to do it on a schedule they are loaded with pow.

after such a crappy year in general
I think the powderhounds will disagree with that. When I put the shortened (I only have enough data since 2001) Vermont version of http://bestsnow.net/scalhist.htm online I'll be interested to see how this season stacks up. My guess is that all those "not worth skiing" weekends in the beginning of the season will be offset by the run of A's from February onwards and come out near average.
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re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby riverc0il » Mon Apr 09, 2007 3:34 pm

I will agree with Tony's assessment that the powder hounds will disagree with this season being a crappy. I might go so far as to say this has been my personal best season to date. I think this coming weekend is going to solidify that opinion beyond even an unreasonable doubt.
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Re: re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby ono » Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:51 pm

joegm wrote:mrg is probably just about the last place i would go after in an attack becasue of the honest way they operate in general... but i think it is just inexcusable that they are shutting it down now with the current conditions that are being reported on, after such a crappy year in general.. and yes i do think it was a crappy year despite some very good days...


reporting for the season:
325" stowe
350" Jay
300" MRG

considering there was nothing from Early December to mid-january, this season was the 2004 Red Sox of winters.

season sucked until january 15th or so... then we went around 60 days without rain.
this winter's brief rundown...

throw in a 40" blizzard somewhere in there.

a few synoptic/wraparound events around 20" each

and a couple prolonged upslope events that brought several feet over periods of DAYS

many 4-6" clippers/upslopes


and then there was april-

from last Wed to this Wed may get close to 40" around mansfield upper mountain.

the snowstake @ stowe reached 90" (40 year seasonal average peaks around 72" ), and is still at 79" april 9th. that's indicative of at least an above-average comeback (an understatement to say the least)

after a bad start, the second half of the season was amazing. i live in DC, and made several midnight trips to smuggs/MRG this year for the big storms. It was a GREAT year. sorry if i'm overly emphatic, but that kinda negativity just has no place- did you hang up your skis the first week of january and not look back?

maybe you skied NH or southern VT (totally different story) but no way was sugarbush-northward bad this year. it was sweet.
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Re: re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby JimG. » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:04 am

riverc0il wrote:I will agree with Tony's assessment that the powder hounds will disagree with this season being a crappy. I might go so far as to say this has been my personal best season to date. I think this coming weekend is going to solidify that opinion beyond even an unreasonable doubt.


This season has been far from crappy.

Poor start, true. First 2 months sucked. Then it started to come around. Got cold 1/15 and there was a good month of excelllent snowmaking. Then, from 2/14 on, the snow started and the season became truly epic. Since then, I have skiied a total of 25 days and 11 of them were genuine powder days (I like Steve's definition...6"+ fresh snow and untracked lines at least part of the day). 44% of the days I've skied in the past 2 months were powder days. That's amazing for me.

Even using my total of 52 days to date, having a season where 21% of my ski days were powder days is amazing considering my home location near Poughkeepsie, NY. After this past week, I'm feeling blessed by ULLR.

Great season overall, perhaps one of my 5 best ever.
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Re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby Patrick » Tue Apr 10, 2007 10:04 pm

riverc0il wrote:This report is essentially useless gloating as Mad River Glen is now closed for the season.

Best closing conditions that Mad that I've ever experienced. All this for only $29!!! :shock: :shock: :shock:

riverc0il wrote:Open to Close today for the final day of the original Single Chair operations. Though I begged forgiveness by opting out of the final Chair load at 4:30p despite an opportunity for one more run.


Open to Close would have been from 9am to the last run after 5pm. :shock: Or even taking part of the Easter Service at the top of the mountain before the lifts officially opened. First tracks prior to opening, wow...

As for River, Natalie (my friend that finally could experience Mad) and myself, the start was at 9am. The chair was running slower to let some of the people that attended the Summit Service load and unload from the single.

As the previous day, I try to show (with some help from River) some of the on and mostly off map terrain. Another great day. We took a longer lunch and enjoyed the Easter parade that included "The Mad River Hookers" (people that hook they poles on the single pole hook).

riverc0il wrote:I actually felt physically better than yesterday despite the royal powder pounding I gave my body.


Nat stopped one run before River, as she was also at her 3rd day in row (and what planning to ski the next day with her godchild, my daughter, the next day). I did one more run than River and loaded on the last minutes of the single. The line hadn't been this long this weekend, it would seem that must people wanted to ride the old single at the last possible moment. As I took chair #41, in front of a huge crowd, I hooked up my poles on the pole hook for one last time and enjoyed the ride into the raging snow. Ullr was throwing a party for the single. Halfway to the top, the single stopped, people realized on the chair that this was it, Ken Quakenbush, longtime GM of MRG now 90, was loading on the single, making him the last person on. Some cheers could be heard. As we approched the top of General Stark mountain, we could see a crowd gather on the deck on the Stark's Nest, including a few on the top of the lifties shack. Party atmosphere reigned on top, champagne, beer and cheers.

Ken Quakenbush got a lift on a snowmobile down the mountain, while all of us, left skiing in every direction. I took Paradise for this last run, once I hit Bunny, a had fresh tracks. It was snowing hard. At the bottom at 5:08pm, what a day.

Runs: 9
time skied: 8:06
Vertical: 5488m (18,275")

This had been a strange season for Mad River Glen, from a extremely bad season to a extremely good season. As someone mentioned, when was the last time you could have 6 weeks of powder skiing in a row? All started with on Valentine's day.

http://www.emberphoto.com/home/page_id=39169

As for myself, I'm happy that I was able to make it down 6 times this year (a record) and my daughter was happy to finally be able to ride the single solo this year after a disappointed year where MRG was closed during her Spring Break the previous year.

See you in 2007-08, Mad River Glen.

PS. Nice to finally be able to ski with you when it's not raining River.

Note: River's pictures were not in the deepest or steepest places that we skied on that day, but our pretty representative of the conditions that could be found on the mountain.
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re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby riverc0il » Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:17 am

LOL about not skiing at MRG in the rain this year, heh!

Interestingly enough, when the Single stopped, it was not to load Ken Quanckenbush!!! The single stopped when they were still loading the last of the skiers or shortly after the last skiers had boarded but before they loaded the last four to ride. It was rather funny yet ominous as everyone at the base area was saying "just a few more minutes, please!!!" :lol:
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re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby joegm » Thu Apr 12, 2007 2:28 pm

Giving up 2 weeks or so of skiing on what is more than likely going to be crap in december , for soft snow in april- to me, isn?t or shouldn?t be , a big deal? but obviously not many people feel that way : to wit: ski areas closing now with anywhere between 80 and 100 % of their terrain open and skiable because the stupid public will not demand lifts spinning?.mad river is a business, obviously.. but they like to position themselves as being outside that corporate box- which I think they are.. most of the time.. closing now, in these conditions, is not a very anti-corporate decision though.
Cumulative snowfall , as a measure of a relative ? good or bad? season I think, can and is deceptive?.if your lucky enough to live in ski country and / or cherry pick your days at will, l to ski, I suppose you could have grabbed enough days of ? good skiing ? to call your season a good one?on the other hand, if you are someone who goes skiing every week from ? there goes swifty ? till they ? spin no more ?, on a consistent basis, as I am, my opinion stands that this season has been not very good?.just as crappy and as wildly inconsistent as the previous 2 seasons have been??.and even more so if you are looking to ski anything close to consistent bumps consistently?to conceed 2 months of a 16 or so week seaons , i think is giving up a lot.. if we were in whister and 2 months of the season was bad, but the rest of the 6 month season was good, then i think the totality would be more of a factor... i just dont see how you can conceed 50% of the season and somehow manage to call it great. I?m not angry about it cause there is nothing I can do about it?.but to call it a great season I think is silly? look , all I?m saying is I think it?s ridiculous that ski areas close so early with a ton of snow on the hill and open so early with no snow on the hill.. I skied loon and wildcat this week.. they were 2 of the best 5 days all year
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re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby joegm » Thu Apr 12, 2007 2:34 pm

and another thing...even though the stupid public is 50% at fault, ski area's are deceptive and disengenous... if not outright liars....nothing proved this to me more than this past week at wildcat on tuesday...i was told to my face by a mid level manager at wildcat that they were closing on 4-15 and it was not negotiable because their insurance policy would not allow them to continue....27.5 hours and a prediction of a foot or so of snow later, they go public with the pronouncement that they are going to ( try ) and spin till the 22nd...they get credit for spinning....but it now makes me suspicious of anything any resort says....
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Re: re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby JimG. » Thu Apr 12, 2007 2:37 pm

joegm wrote:Giving up 2 weeks or so of skiing on what is more than likely going to be crap in december , for soft snow in april- to me, isn?t or shouldn?t be , a big deal? but obviously not many people feel that way : to wit: ski areas closing now with anywhere between 80 and 100 % of their terrain open and skiable because the stupid public will not demand lifts spinning?.mad river is a business, obviously.. but they like to position themselves as being outside that corporate box- which I think they are.. most of the time.. closing now, in these conditions, is not a very anti-corporate decision though.
Cumulative snowfall , as a measure of a relative ? good or bad? season I think, can and is deceptive?.if your lucky enough to live in ski country and / or cherry pick your days at will, l to ski, I suppose you could have grabbed enough days of ? good skiing ? to call your season a good one?on the other hand, if you are someone who goes skiing every week from ? there goes swifty ? till they ? spin no more ?, on a consistent basis, as I am, my opinion stands that this season has been not very good?.just as crappy and as wildly inconsistent as the previous 2 seasons have been??.and even more so if you are looking to ski anything close to consistent bumps consistently?to conceed 2 months of a 16 or so week seaons , i think is giving up a lot.. if we were in whister and 2 months of the season was bad, but the rest of the 6 month season was good, then i think the totality would be more of a factor... i just dont see how you can conceed 50% of the season and somehow manage to call it great. I?m not angry about it cause there is nothing I can do about it?.but to call it a great season I think is silly? look , all I?m saying is I think it?s ridiculous that ski areas close so early with a ton of snow on the hill and open so early with no snow on the hill.. I skied loon and wildcat this week.. they were 2 of the best 5 days all year


I can't kill you for this opinion.

I think the last 2 months have blinded me to the admittedly poor first 2 months.
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re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby riverc0il » Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:17 pm

Joe, read the facts regarding MRG closing. If it was any other year, I would be banging on the Board of Directors doors personally. The Single has run straight through April previously and if they didn't have to have a line inspection, it wouldn't be a big deal.

Interestingly enough, a lot of ski areas this week announced extending ski season, extended operation, etc. It is nice to see ski areas putting in the effort due to the storm. I don't think any one here would advocate for November turns instead of April turns which are superior, but the general skiing public foots the bill, not the dedicated skier.

/Beats the dead horse
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re: Mad River Glen, VT: 04/08/07

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:24 pm

By the http://bestsnow.net/scalhist.htm methodology I have the following scores for Vermont since 2001:
2000-01: 49
2001-02: 26
2002-03: 42
2003-04: 33
2004-05: 32
2005-06: 33
2006-07 currently stands at 31, but rates to end up at 37, going A,B,C the next 3 weekends. So the strong February/March got this season close to average, and the off-the-charts April is going to make it slightly above.

if you are someone who goes skiing every week
As with Berkshire Skier, this is a recipe for masochism in the East IMHO. With the rare exception of years like 2001, you've got to show a little flexibility and take a pass during the inevitable crappy weeks and get out there every free day when it's like the last 2 months.

Or else book a week at some western area with the type of skiing you like. Of the places I skied this season, Taos and Vail/Beaver Creek would have made joegm a very happy camper.

As most of you know, I'm in 100% agreement with joegm on the late season issue. But River has pointed out that there are lots of areas in New England, and Patrick has listed definite commitments of April 29 for Sugarbush and May 6 for Killington. I'd expect good quality spring bump skiing this year at both of those. Despite the current weather, I think it is unlikely that there will be a natural snow base anywhere in the East later than that except for the non-lift-served Presidentials.

In my SoCal chart you will see that our season does get pushed to late April or May in the good natural snow years. In the East I think the end of April (2001 and this year) is about the longest possible for lift served natural snow. Later means an advance snowmaking commitment, and we've debated the economics of that before.
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