Highly Regarded

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The official end of summer is still a month out, but venerable August is in the home stretch and school is a few days away from starting. You can feel change in the air. 

Relishing the last few warm swims at Blueberry Lake. 

We took our family summer vacation last week and visited our neighbors to the north in Quebec. The main part of the trip was to Vallee Bras Du Nord, a well-known mountain biking/hiking destination near Quebec City. We bookended the biking with stops in Montreal and Quebec City, which while magical, also reminded us of why we live in the country. ;)

Lit up and flashing. Montreal at night. 

Notre Dame in Montreal.

Quebec City with the famous Hotel Frontenac in the background.  

This busman's holiday was mostly for fun and relaxation, but it was also part research and inspiration. As we work to build a great trail network at Sugarbush and throughout the Mad River Valley, it is vital to see what other successful places are doing.

One of the cooler spots at Vallee Bras Du Nord. 

There were some great trails, even for shorter visitors. Buerre D'Erable (Maple Butter)

The timing for inspiration was nearly perfect, as the Mad River Riders started building the top section of the new Evolution II trail this week in Camel's Hump State Forest-Howe Block. The 2 mile trail will be a huge intermediate link in the Lincoln Peak to Waitsfield village network, completing a nearly five mile descent from above Tucker/Dana Hills to Flatbread, with the existing Evolution/Revolution trails. The rock features and cool terrain are sure to inspire hikers and bikers when it's completed. Stay tuned for work days and updates.    

Big beginnings. Looking back towards the Enchanted Forest/Evolution II intersection.  

Our "little" Mad River Valley network has some pretty nice spots too. Amenta's Way, Blueberry Lake. 

One of the things that travel has taught me is that we live in a very special place. The Mad River Valley sets a high bar for fun, food and folks, and it always feels good to come home. Time to squeeze summer for all it's worth and enjoy the warmth while it lasts. Our most colorfully cool season is close at hand.

John Atkinson
Chairman, Sugarbush Stoke Exchange  

p.s. For those who haven't heard, the Nooney family is moving to North Carolina. Gerry and Eileen were two of the first people I met in the Mad River Valley back in 1992. Gerry was one of my first bosses at Sugarbush, I worked for him at Egan's Big World Pub, he helped start (and nurture) the mountain biking scene in the MRV and I have had the pleasure of friendship and co-worker status with him for almost 30 years. It is difficult to see them leave, but we wish them all the best, hope they will remember us well and that they visit often. 

Gerry and Eileen Nooney. The Mad River Valley will miss you!