Pacific Northwest Ski blog (and a few other places!)

Lots or reports from skiing around the Pacific Northwest, with some East Coast excursions thrown in for good measure

Killington and Sugarbush snowy goodness

Killington is a pretty decent ski hill any winter time. Add 4 inches of fresh, fluffy snow overnight, a stormy morning, and Friday ‘crowds’, and all the ingredients for a hellagood ski day were in place. The early dumpage was pretty wild, driven by a moderate winds delivering another 2+ inches of free refills. After a warmup on Superstar, with flying snowy roosters tails kicked up by the new snow, we headed to Bear Mountain for the morning. Wildfire was littered with small, soft bumps that made for fun, fast hoppy turns. Next we hit the groomed Outer Limits. It had a few firm patches, but on the whole held an edge just fine. The major danger was the other people crashing and burning all the way down. It was true carnage.

We gradually made our way, via some fast, wickedly fun blue groomers, back to the front side. Cascade was a snowy delight, loaded with wind-blown goodness. It really is a great run. Canyon was similar only ungroomed, and the Big Dipper trees hid big, well spaced bumps that demanded respect on its steep tree-strewn fall line. Unfortunately, 4pm came around far too quickly. Luckily, the weekend wasn’t over 😉

At 9am on Saturday morning at Sugarbush, the temperature was -8F at the base, and according to a ski patrol dude, -29F with wind chill. It was nearer -40F with wind chill up high. That’s around the temperature where the F’s and the C’s converge. I think this was the coldest we’ve ever skied in. It had its advantages though. There were zero lift lines, few people on the runs, and the fresh snow that fell overnight stayed cold and powdery. The only downside was the wind. It was strong and evil cold, stripping half the mountain of snow, and loading the other half with dreamy blower pow.

This created Jekyll and Hyde skiing conditions. If you found the Jekyll-y wind loaded areas, the skiing was quite wonderful. The left hand side of Organgrinder held 4-6 inches of chopped up goodness amongst the bumps, Paradise was steep and soft and bumpy, and a (unusually) groomed Castlerock was worth a mild dose of hypothermia to ski early. But if you ventured away from where the wind favored, the mountain’s My Hyde side revealed itself through remnants of New England’s glacial past. It kept us on our toes. And once or twice on our butts.

Bone chilling winds in the afternoon gradually closed all the upper mountain lifts. But there was still enormous scope for fun with piles of snow in the woods, making gentle runs like Eden, Sap Line  and Deeper Sleeper a hoot to rip down all afternoon. It was a frosty day, but a darn good one.

Sunday was almost tropical in comparison – a mere 1F at the base at 9am. Overnight the combination of the grooming crew and wind had transformed the mountain. The groomers now held an edge like Lindsay Lohan gripping a bottle of vodka at 3am. Glades like Gangsta Grotto and Lew’s Line had heaps of windblown pow to soften turns on the firm bumps below, and Paradise was so good I did it twice. We bailed at 1.45pm, having probably the best day of the weekend under our bases.

Sugarbush is very fine ski hill, and in these conditions, it’s terrain shines like a powdery diamond.

Killington 8800m, Sugarbush 9200m, 8000m vert

Season Totals 23 days, 170,500m vertical, 6 Powder days

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