Sugarbush, VT 22APR2011
The forecast called for sun and spring temperatures today, and Mother Nature delivered just that, so I headed to Sugarbush with the boys for some spring turns. It was our first day of skiing away from Stowe and Bolton this season, and thus our first day actually buying real lift tickets. Fortunately, spring ticket specials are in effect throughout the area, making things more affordable; Sugarbush has a two for one offer on their already reduced spring rate if you bring your season’s pass from another ski area, so the boys and I skied for $59 total, which was pretty economical.
We hadn’t been to Sugarbush since the end of 2007, which was our first season back from Montana. We made trips to the ‘bush on April 21st and May 6th that year and we had our first chance to really check out the Clay Brook complex. A couple of things had changed in the base area since our previous visit; the new Schoolhouse and Farmhouse Lodges had been added, and the walkway up to the base area was much improved. It turns out that all these improvements happened this season. It sure was nice to have a gentle walkway up to the base area that the boys could negotiate even in their ski boots. My fried Chris said that the walkway is heated, akin to what Stowe has going on in the center of the Spruce Peak area; I can imagine it’s especially helpful for folks walking on a sloped surface of stones in their ski boots.
The snowpack continues to be very solid, with just a few bare zones on some of the natural snow trails. Super Bravo and Heaven’s Gate were the lifts in service, and we started off with a Downspout run to the base of Heaven’s Gate. The corn snow was excellent, and the boys were having a blast exploring what was new terrain to them because they were so young the last time we went. We did a couple of Jester runs, since the boys liked it so much; they really loved the S-curves and big trenches that built into the corners where you could really hold your speed. We also mixed up the ski options below Allyn’s Lodge by hitting Domino and that middle part of Jester. For our last Jester run we hiked up to the Lincoln Peak summit so I could show the boys the observation platform and we could check out the views in all directions. Apparently Ty could see our car in the parking lot all the way from the top of Lincoln Peak, but I’m not sure how. After enjoying the views, the boys got to ski Jester from the very top.
For our final run off Heaven’s Gate we hit Ripcord, and the top portion was really not as soft as it could have been due to its elevation and exposure. It got better pretty quickly as we descended though, and after lots of Tele bumps, my legs were pretty cooked by the time we hit the long route back to the base. The boys requested a drink break, so we stopped in at the Gate House Lodge and then headed back out because they were running the Super Bravo until 5:00 P.M. with their spring setup.
When we’d first arrived at the mountain, Dylan had looked up and seen Spring Fling, and asked if we could ski that. I told him that it was one of my favorite trails, and that we’d ski it later in the day once the top of the mountain had closed. Hitting that classic Snowball/Spring Fling combination brought back many memories, and there were plenty of bumps for the taking. Even though my legs were totally cooked by the bottom part of the run and it seemed like I wouldn’t be able to make another round of Telemark turns to save my life, I asked the boys if they wanted to go for another run. It was getting close to 5:00 P.M., so it would be our last run of the day, but if they were game I was certainly game as well.
Ultimately they decided that food was more enticing, so we stopped in at Timbers to get some après ski snacks. We had the Timbers Nachos, which have this amazing venison chili; even though the boys could only do some much in helping me finish the huge platter, we brought the extra home to Mom because it was just so good we didn’t want her to miss out. Our bartender (I think it was John) was so helpful and made some awesome “black and tan” style chocolate milks for the boys, which kept them busy stirring and watching the colors for a while. We got to eat in the same little lounge area that we’d sat in on our previous visit, allowing the boys to roam around a bit as they are oft to do.
There could be some snow in the forecast tonight, so for tomorrow it may be back to some powder skiing.