Celebration and Closure
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Written by Win Smith
Photo credit: ©PAWSitivePantry/BarrieFisher
Last week was one for celebration and closure.
March, as you know, came in like a lion, as a week of warm temperatures and rain stole the marvelous conditions we had earlier in February. We then experienced two weekends of bitter cold, and I wondered if everyone would hang it up early.
March is historically one of the snowiest months, even though that has not been the case in the past few years. However, March did not disappoint. Beginning mid-month, we had some of the best conditions of the season. The night of March 31st, March went out with 17” of snow on the summits, giving us a great start to April. This time of year, we can see upslope storms that dump a lot more snow on the top of the mountains than at the base, which was the case last weekend. Early turns Saturday morning--with several inches of snow over a groomed Stein’s Run--were sweet. The overnight grooming on Saturday made for some truly buttery turns Sunday morning on trails like Upper Organgrinder. By day’s end, with the spring sun bearing down, the top of Mount Ellen skied beautifully. It was a weekend to celebrate and thank Mother Nature.
But Saturday brought some closure for our family and many in the Sugarbush Community, as my dog Rumble passed away peacefully. He had been a cancer survivor for three years, but a new, more lethal form of cancer reappeared several weeks ago. We knew he had limited time. He spent Friday in my office sleeping comfortably on the floor. However, by Saturday morning, he was noticeably weaker and only wanted to lie in the fresh snow at home to keep cool. By afternoon, he could not stand and his eyes told us the time had come. As the lifts closed for the day, so, too, did Rumble’s eyes for the last time. Lili, my son Cameron, and I held him as the last breath left him. Over the past nine years, he has been my constant companion, and he loved nothing better than jumping in my car each morning to come to the mountain with me. He loved the attention he received, especially from the many children who petted and climbed over him while he lay next to his dog house outside of Timbers. I am convinced that the love and affection he received from so many in the Sugarbush Community allowed him to survive his first battle with cancer. Later this month our family will ski and scatter his ashes on the slopes of Sugarbush.
Another form of closure occurred this weekend, as we wrapped up another season at Mount Ellen. It ended with a bluebird day of excellent skiing and riding, accompanied by live music on the back deck by The Detonators. It was nice to see such a large group for Mt. Ellen’s final aprés of the year.
Over the summer, we are installing a brand new motor in the North Ridge chair. Unfortunately, the engineering was not able to be completed in time to get up and running this season. We are also replacing the Sunny Double lift with a new fixed-grip quad, as well as putting in new snowmaking pipe on Which Way. We do plan to sell the Sunny-D chairs as many have asked to purchase one and details will be forthcoming shortly.
The action now turns to Lincoln Peak, and all Mount Ellen passholders are welcome to ski there until we close. We anticipate operating daily through Sunday, April 23rd and then reopening the final weekend with a grand finale on Monday, May 1st.
The other celebration over the weekend was for John Egan, who is being inducted into the Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 8th. Since many cannot attend that event, we wanted John’s fans and friends to have a chance to celebrate him and this well-deserved recognition. We are both lucky and grateful to have John as a member of our community, and it was terrific to see so many turn out to celebrate him.
After two great days over the weekend, Monday turned out to be an almost perfect spring day with temperatures in the 40’s, clear skies and soft snow. That was a good thing, because the rest of the week is not looking very good with ice, rain, and a wintry mix in the forecast. A few degrees difference could change things, as it did last week, so we are not giving up hope for this weekend. Originally scheduled for Saturday, we decided to move our annual Pond Skimming event, to Sunday, which is expected to be sunny and 50 degrees. Stay tuned to our daily conditions report. The only thing I know is that there will be plenty of snow left to enjoy.