Monday, December 20, 2010
For the first time in recent years, I missed opening day at Mt. Ellen due to a meeting in Montpelier. I knew it was going to be a good opening but I hadn't anticipated how great it turned out to be.
Fresh, soft snow on top of grooming made for some exquisite turns on Rim Run and Cruiser and the icing on the cake was the opportunity to get fresh tracks on Exterminator, Cliffs, FIS, Tumbler, Hammerhead and Black Diamond. By the time I got there Sunday morning, the knee-deep powder was gone. Trails like Bravo and Tumbler looked sketchy (they had been skied a lot by then) but the quality of the snow was superb. My favorite run of the day was on an empty Tumbler. Click here for Mt. Ellen Opening Day shots and other recent photos.
I spent the day at Lincoln Peak on Saturday and my best runs were down Spillsville and Upper Birdland. Birdland proves the point that looks can be deceiving. There were patches of grass showing as I looked down from the chair on the ride up, but this is a trail with few rocks and nice moss so even a thin cover of fresh snow can make for some fun runs. One of my first runs of the day was there, as was my last. Lower Organgrinder had some nice, soft moguls. The cruiser of the day, in my opinion, was Waterfall and Hot Shot. Our groomers did a particularly good job of winching the headwall of Waterfall the evening before.
We are now making snow on Upper Snowball, Spring Fling, Upper Birdland and Murphy's at Lincoln Peak and in the terrain park and on Inverness at Mt. Ellen. If the temperatures stay down, we are planning to move back to the Gate House side to make snow on Sleeper, Slowpoke, Easy Rider, then Birch and Sunrise. If the temperatures warm down low, we will move up to Ripcord. At Mt. Ellen, once we have Inverness well-covered and enough snow to have a good terrain park this weekend, we will move over to North Star and Lower Elbow so that we have good beginner terrain at Mt. Ellen as well as Lincoln Peak for the holidays.
Our SugarDirect sales were very strong right up to Sunday night's deadline. While this product is no longer available, season passes are still being sold and we are also offering online tickets at a discount to the window rate if purchased two days prior to use. (Note that our online tickets are non-refundable.)
The balance of December looks great for snowmaking. We will likely get some more "lake effect" snow this week and we have our fingers crossed for a Christmas storm.