Tag Archives: sushi

Stowe, VT 17NOV2013

An image of Erica and Dylan during an ascent of the Lower North Slope trail at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont
Heading up part of Stowe’s white carpet today

Stick season can be a tough time to get out for exercise; there are often those cold, dreary days in the 30s or 40s F that don’t really inspire one to jump on the bike or into the kayak.  Instead of hitting the trail, it’s much easier to hunker down at home in the warmth.  Fortunately in Northern New England, when the weather reaches such a cold and dreary level, there’s often fresh snow falling in the mountains.  That wasn’t the case this weekend though, as the current storm affecting that area is fairly warm, and the precipitation isn’t expected to change over to snow until tomorrow night.  With the weather at hand, there wasn’t much calling us out onto the slopes.  However, since Stowe prepared some of their terrain and ran the Fourrunner Quad for season’s pass appreciation day yesterday, it meant that there would be some rather unutilized groomed snow out there today.  That realization hadn’t even occurred to me until late morning when I was thinking about what we might do to get in some outdoor activity today.  I brought up the idea to E and the boys, and once the house and homework were generally in order, we decided that we could spend a couple of hours getting in some turns.

“What I encountered was
an inch or two of dense
powder, it had seen some
contamination by manmade
snow, but that was enough
to keep me riding on a
smooth, supportive base.”

We headed out in the mid afternoon under cloudy skies and occasional spits of drizzle, finding temperatures in the mid 40s F in the mountain valleys.  We’ve only got a couple patches of snow left at the house, and in general there’s really nothing to speak of for snow up the Mountain Road until you get around the 900-1,000 foot elevation.  From there the snow builds until there’s decent cover at 1,200’ and above, but south-facing areas exposed to heavy sun are still partially melted out even up at those elevations.  We parked at 1,500’ near the Mansfield Base Lodge, where, we saw a few other vehicles and one skier just starting to skin up toward the quad on their ascent.  Temperatures were in the low 40s F and the snowpack looked quite respectable – there was a consistent covering of several inches or more, and the consolidated snow was only slightly softened by the above freezing temperatures.  In fact, we were thinking it would have been nicer if it was softened even more with regard to making turns.

An image of melting snow on the roof of Stowe Toys Demo Center at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont
A sign of today’s warmth
An image of Dylan at the beginning of and asecnt near the base of the Fourrunner Quad at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont
Dylan out on the snow today

We skinned up to the base of the Fourrunner Quad and continued past it toward the bottom of Lower North Slope, which with its prodigious manmade snow was the obvious route that every other skier we saw was taking.  There was really no skin track, nor was there need for one – the whole expanse of the slope was essentially a smooth mass of consolidated snow that you could walk through like a giant field of white.  We spread out and often walked side by side, enjoying what was definitely a leisurely pace.  We really didn’t have any goal for the ascent, we figured we’d just go as far as the quality of the snow and the availability of daylight suggested.  We stopped for a quick break at the intersection with Crossover (~1,850’) – we were just starting to enter the clouds at that point and combined with the late afternoon light, visibility was very low.  We continued on up Crossover to where it met Standard at around 2,000’ and decided to end the ascent there.

“I’ve been quite impressed
with their sushi so far, and
it was great again tonight.”

For the descent, we began our way down Crossover, finding the snow pretty much as we expected based on what we’d felt beneath our feet on the ascent and heard from the descents of other skiers.  It was soft enough to get a nice bite with the edges, but not as soft as you’d really like it to be for spring skiing.  Temperatures around 40 F just weren’t enough to get it to soften that far.  Crossover has some irregularities in the surface from snowcat, snowmobile, and skier traffic, so it also wasn’t as smooth as if it had been freshly groomed.  The snow had enough issues that it had me looking elsewhere, such as the natural snow on Lower Lord that I’d seen on my way up.  As Powderfreak mentioned with regard to yesterday’s opening at the resort, even some natural terrain trails were open, and there was clearly enough coverage even down below the 2,000’ level to make that a reality.  I decided to make a few turns down Lower Lord, just to check it out, and then I could shuffle back up to Crossover if the skiing was horrible.  Well, those first few turns had me sold.  What I encountered was an inch or two of dense powder, it had seen some contamination by manmade snow, but that was enough to keep me riding on a smooth, supportive base.  I told E and the boys to dive in and check it out, and if they didn’t like it we could head back up.  Everyone enjoyed the snow – the only thing was the after a few more turns, the extra density that had been imparted by the manmade snow disappeared.  The powder became much wetter and the base less supportive.  We made a few more turns before deciding to cut through the trees onto Lower North Slope because it was just going to be too difficult for the boys to be trying Telemark turns in that challenging snow.  Snow depths were certainly sufficient on the natural terrain; Dylan and I both checked the snow depths and found 7-10 inches in that 1,800-2,000’ elevation range.  It was a tough call switching over to the groomed snow though, I could have gone either way personally – it was a choice between slightly too firm manmade, or slightly too soft natural snow.  Lower North Slope ended up delivering some decent turns, and the boys got to make some Telemark turns on the more supportive surfaces.  There was still plenty of uneven terrain since the snow hadn’t seen a re-grooming, but it was smooth enough for some good flowing turns.

Rain was starting to pick up as we returned to the car, and we quickly put the skis on the rack and tossed the rest of the gear in the back to get out of the rain and on our way.  With the temperature around 40 F, it was certainly a raw rain as well.  This outing was decent, but we’re certainly watching the forecast for the potential to get back into the powder by next weekend.  The computer models suggest that the possibility of snow is out there, but they’re definitely not all in agreement yet so we’ll have to wait a few more cycles to see where things settle out.  More cold air is definitely on the horizon though.

An image of the logo for the Sushi Yoshi Asian restaurant in Stowe, VermontWe stopped off to grab some take-out from Sushi Yoshi on the Mountain Road, they’ve only been there a few months, and this will be their first ski season.  While ordering, I was talking to the hostess about the anticipation of the business during the ski season, and she said that they’re actually planning on running their own shuttle bus to allow people to go to and from the restaurant without having to worry about driving.  It will be interesting to see how people like that feature, but in any event, I expect business will be picking up greatly in the next few weeks as visitors start to hit the resort.  I’ve been quite impressed with their sushi so far, and it was great again tonight.  We also got some of their hot dishes tonight as well, and they were fine, although they didn’t seem to stand out the way the sushi has.  They also have hibachi-style dining options as well, so one of these days we’ll have to bring the boys and try that out.  I’ll definitely be getting more sushi though whenever I go, from what I’ve experienced I think they’ll be getting plenty of patronage from sushi lovers this ski season.

Stowe, VT 31MAR2013

An image of Jay skiing on the Bruce trail near Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont
Out enjoying the great snow on the Bruce again today

With the Easter holiday, we didn’t have BJAMS ski program today, but we decided to head to Stowe anyway for a bit of lift-served skiing and another run down the Bruce Trail.  E wasn’t able to join us for the Bruce run with the kids last week because she was coaching her younger, intermediate-level students, but she had no such obligations today.  Coverage on the Bruce was excellent last week, and this week has seen fairly typical spring weather for the Northern Greens, with some snowfall and some warmer days, so it didn’t look like there would be any major changes in that department.  Not surprisingly, the snowpack at the Mt. Mansfield Stake is still sitting right around that 80-inch mark, so there were clearly no issues with loss of snow in the higher elevations.  However, the lower mountain valleys certainly lost snow this week, brining into question the lower elevation snowpack.  And, the Bruce Trail has a good deal of southern exposure, so that means that those areas are going to lose snow more quickly than other aspects at similar elevations.  In fact, I was more concerned about snow coverage on those higher-elevation, south-facing pitches in the 2,000 to 3,600’ elevation range than even the lowest elevations down near 1,000’; the snow in lowest elevations of the route is well protected by the forest and well packed, so I suspect it persists quite well in the spring.

“…I’d say the Bruce
will probably still
be good to go next
weekend as well…”

Today we planned to flip our Bruce Trail tour setup from what we’ve done in the past; we’d park the car down at The Matterhorn, ride the Mountain Road Shuttle up to Mt. Mansfield, ski the mountain for a while, and then finish off with a run down the Bruce and a meal at The Matterhorn.  We timed things pretty well with knowledge of the Mountain Road Shuttle schedule, and arrived at The Matterhorn in the early afternoon with time to get into our gear and head across the street to the shuttle stop.  The plan was for everyone to Telemark since the boys could get in some lift-served practice runs and it’s generally a good fit for a trip down the Bruce, although Ty opted for alpine gear at the last minute because that’s what he felt like skiing.

“On piste coverage
at Stowe remains
excellent, with
100% of trails
open today…”

We started off the afternoon as planned with some lift-served runs, and found some marginally sticky conditions in places.  None of the surfaces were too bad in that regard, but there was definitely some snow that has not transitioned all the way to corn with the rounds of snowfall earlier this week.  Temperatures were a bit warmer than yesterday, sitting in the upper 40s F down in the lower elevations, and somewhere in the 30s F at the summit elevations.  On piste coverage at Stowe remains excellent, with 100% of trails open today – it’s much more typical this season, and nothing like last season when that huge March heat wave really sapped the snowpack.  Dylan worked on his Telemark turns and was making strides on his bad side turn, and Ty on his alpines was throwing himself off all the airs he encountered.

An image of Erica Telemark skiing on the Bruce Trail near Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont
E working those Telemark turns on the Bruce today

Around mid afternoon we decided to head down the Bruce for our final run, and the snow was nice and soft right from the top.  The only notable coverage issues were in the usual spots – those steeper pitches with southern exposure.  Those areas had opened up a bit since last week, but the differences in the skiing are fairly marginal; you’ve just got to navigate those areas cautiously.  As expected, the lowest elevations in the Nordic areas in the 1,500’ – 1,000’ range had perfect coverage.  The only potential break in the snow cover down there is the last hundred yards or so where you use the road the leads to the Bruce House.  The road has been plowed, but you can ski on the snow banks along the edge of the road and they’ll take you right out to Route 108 as usual.  The whole trip down the Bruce was extremely quiet today – we didn’t see a single soul on the Bruce itself, and we only saw one family touring on the trails of the Stowe Mountain Resort Cross Country Ski Center.  Perhaps the holiday kept the numbers of visitors down relative to a typical Sunday, but the resort looked pretty busy overall.  I didn’t track today’s travels by GPS, but for a representative GPS/Google Earth map or elevation profile plot of the general route of the Bruce Trail, refer to my Bruce Trail trip report from January 21st.

An image of Jay, Ty, and Dylan giving each other a "high five" near the Matterhorn in Stowe, Vermont after finishing off a run of the Bruce backcountry ski trail
Dad, Ty, and Dylan celebrate finishing off another fun trip down the Bruce.

It was fun to get E’s impressions of the trail since this was her first trip down the Bruce.  She found, and I entirely agree, that on today’s outing the combination of the relatively narrow nature of the trail, the areas where the formation of moguls tended to dictate specific locations for turns, and the concave sculpting of the snow due to skier traffic, all come together to create quite a challenging ascent on Telemark gear.  I noticed those aspects as well, and indeed in this case what is really pretty standard intermediate or advanced fare on alpine equipment, is much more technically demanding on Teles… or at least it is if you’re trying to make Telemark turns.  Trying to navigate those concave edges while snaking down a narrow line (and even feeling narrower in a Telemark stance) among moguls on terrain with decent pitch will certainly push your skills.  Fortunately one can use alpine turns as a fall back, and those are certainly a lot of fun too, but of course trying to be strict with those Tele turns keeps the bar up.  Even with the great spring snow, E favored alpine turns heavily in the steep, upper sections of the trail, but there were plenty of areas where her Telemark turns would flow.  I threw in good doses of alpine turns myself in spots, because sometimes it’s just too hard to plot a solution with Tele turns through certain areas.  But, every run gets more turns under your belt.  Dylan threw in a few Telemark turns here and there, but he already knew going in that he was going to mostly alpine and just enjoy the ride in that fashion.

TAn image of the sign on the side of the Matterhorn bar and restaurant in Stowe, Vermonthe final part of today’s outing was an early dinner at The Matterhorn.  I’ve actually never eaten at The Matterhorn, since I’ve thought of it generally as an après ski bar.  As it turns out though, they’re a restaurant as well, and to my amazement, they’re pretty well known for their sushi.  I tried for a visit to get some sushi back on Bruce Trail trip on January 21st, but the sushi bar is closed on Mondays, so I decided to wait until my next visit.  Well, today was that day, and I’ve got to say that indeed the sushi was quite good.  I went with a Salmon Maki Roll and one of their specialty rolls, the Crab Rangoon Roll, and both were great.  E and the boys didn’t get sushi, but everything we had was good.  Sitting out back by the river is also a nice perk – there was a feel of early spring watching the water roll by amidst the snow.

An image from a table along the Ranch Brook at the Matterhorn Restaurant in Stowe, Vermont
Riverside at the Matterhorn this afternoon

Based on forecast for the coming week, I’d say the Bruce will probably still be good to go next weekend as well, so keep it in mind if you’re looking for something to do as we move on to April skiing in the Northern Greens.