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Maine Trip 1/23-1/26/33

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,935
Points
83
Location
Spencer, MA
Resort or Ski Area
Saddleback
Date
Jan 23, 2023
Snow Conditions
  1. Powder
  2. Packed Powder
  3. Chopped or Crud
1/23: Sunday River

Drove up through the meat of todays storm, finally arriving at SR around 12:45. Wasn't intending to ski a full day anyway, but definitely had hoped for more than 3 hours.

Parked at White Cap and started my way across as I figured the snow would be better at the higher elevation of Jordan. First real run was Top Gun which had a lot of soft chowder with the occasional scratch underneath. Popped into a section of Hollywood which wasn't great until it flattened out. Still nice to be back in the woods after the month long thaw.

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Made my way up the Chondola and down Quantum Leap. It was fun, but definitely one of the bonier trails on the hill. Took Aurora over to Flying Monkey, which had some decent spots but also needs a good weed whacking.

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Took a few runs off the new Jordan 8, which is incredibly fast and was deserted today. Took a run down Excalibur into the woods that I can't think of the name of, which were in decent shape. Definitely the best woods I found during my few hours on the mountain.

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Also hit Ruby Palace, Oz's liftline which had a shit entry, but was a lot of fun otherwise. I love the quality and quantity of SR's liftline trails, but unfortunately only a couple are open right now.

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Next I hit Supernova back into the Aurora liftline (which was awkwardly half roped near the bottom). Found some good untracked areas in there, a bit frightening due to the low tide underneath but fun nonetheless.

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Grabbed the top section of Vortex which was quite slick before heading back toward White Cap. Took Spruce up hoping to hit Gnarnia as the report showed it open, but it was roped and looked bony anyway so just took Risky Business which had some fun chowdery areas down the right side. Took Barker to T2, the across to Lower Chutzpah which was a mistake with the terrible lower elevation coverage.

It was quittin' time after that and finished my drive to Rangeley. Excited for two days at Saddleback and a side excursion to Sugarloaf!
 

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,935
Points
83
Location
Spencer, MA
1/24: Saddleback

The pixie dust fairy visited overnight and gave the mountain an inch or two refresh. As usual, it was absolutely dead and things are in good shape.

Started off with a couple warmups off Rangeley on Royal Coachman and Peachy's Peril/Thrombosis. Groomers were pretty much pristine and the lower mountain woods were in much better shape than SR's. The untouched inch of snow made for a nice surface and definitely a lot more base snow up here.

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Headed up to Kennebago and started with Intimidator Glade which was fantastic. Lots of fresh lines on the sides and the majority of the area has great coverage and no low tide. Best run of the year so far for me.

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Kept the powder party going with a trip out to Casablanca. Was debating in my head how far out to go while I was traversing out, but that debate ended when I got to Chute #1 and saw 0 tracks going in so I decided to be the first. This was even better than Intimidator, loaded with fresh snow and once again very little low tide areas to hit. Pure bliss.

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Next on the glade tour was a turd in the punch bowl, Dark Wizard Glade. The wind really got at this one and there was a lot of scoured ice and a lot more rocks and thin spots than all the other glades. Definitely a one and done on this one.

Spent some time relapping the good woods until the windblown graupel that was falling started to annoy me so I went in for lunch. This would end up being a mistake, as once I went back out I got one run in before Kennebago went down for wind the rest of the day. Definitely a bummer...on one hand I was surprised it was running all morning as it was very gusty, but the wind actually seemed to lighten up in the afternoon just for them to rope it.

Spent an hour or so lapping Rangeley, hitting Thrombosis quite a bit as well as a couple runs down the slick lower mountain ungroomed runs. Also took an excursion over to Woolly Bugger which was a bit of a WTF moment. This glade is a single diamond off a green trail but I thought it was tougher than Thrombosis and can imagine it scares the shit out of little kids that wander in. It starts off super tight with a legit cliff section, then the trees open up a bit but it goes on forever with no bailouts and a couple steeper sections. Definitely didn't expect a glade like that next to a green run.

Skied by Kennebago around 2:30 and it was deserted, plus the annoying graupel was getting heavy again so called it a day early. Kind of a bummer to not get more laps up top, but I guess I can save the legs for the Loaf tomorrow and then what may be an epic powder day back at Saddleback on Thursday.
 

Edd

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Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
6,146
Points
113
Location
Newmarket, NH
Have you noticed what’s up with the new mid-mountain lodge at the top of the HSQ? Haven’t noticed anything on social media about it so guessing it’s not open yet?
 

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,935
Points
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Location
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I didn't even any any new building up there but I also never went right and past Grey Ghost off the chair so I could've missed it.
 

BodeMiller1

Active member
Joined
Mar 7, 2022
Messages
488
Points
28
Location
Bow N.H.
Never been there butt, it's cool they name some of the trails after fishing flies. There's way too many ski areas copying the names of other slopes. Unoriginal bastards...

:unsure:
 

Edd

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Messages
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Newmarket, NH
I didn't even any any new building up there but I also never went right and past Grey Ghost off the chair so I could've missed it.
Makes sense. It should be just beyond a patch of trees skiers left of Grey Ghost.
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2011
Messages
252
Points
16
Location
too close to NYC
Heading to Saddleback for the first time this weekend and loving your trip report!

Sad to hear about the wind issues. Does this happen a lot at Saddleback (like at say Sugarloaf and Jay Peak) or just the usual frequency you'd find at many other NE areas?
 

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,935
Points
83
Location
Spencer, MA
1/25: Sugarloaf

Arrived to full on sunshine but colder temps, making this morning the only few hours of the trip to actually feel like January. Good news after yesterday is that the winds were dead calm. Started up with Skidder and Sluice to get the blood pumping, noting that the groomers were quite a bit more hardpackish than Saddlebacks yesterday. Some soft snow down the sides for better turns.

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Hopped over to Dropline Glade and Barber Chair Glade off Timberline, both of which were packed powder and fun. I always enjoy both of these. Nothing real technical or buttpuckering, just nice mellow fun glades and usually great snow.

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I continued into (I believe) Raker Tooth glade which had absolutely 0 tracks going into it and that made me nervous but I went in anyway. Every turn I was expecting to find some kind of shitty spot but turns out it was just full of fresh untracked snow and for some reason was just totally missed by everyone else. Had too much fun to take pics, but definitely the most surprisingly good run of the day.

Hit Kick Back glade next, which also had a lot of good snow and some untracked areas. Needs to be cleaned up a little as there are a lot of downed trees blocking good lines, but if you sneak in behind one you can get fresh lines for a few turns.

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Headed over to Brackett after that which was a waste of time. The snow was garbage, lots of skied off areas and ice. The traverse blows with all the stumps and rocks so really didn't want to take it further out. Maybe the next storm will make it good, but by far the worst woods I skied today.

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Took Misery Whip next which was a mix of porcelain and powder bumps. Not great. Continued into Broccoli Garden which was almost somewhat crusty but kind of fun to romp through.

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The best part of the day was lunch, because Bag Burger. And Cheeseburger Soup. I don't usually work in food pics into my TRs but this is the exception I'm willing to make.

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Spent the couple hours I had left after lunch hitting more woods off Skyline. Everything kind of blends together at this point, but everything I hit was a mix of fresh powder, packed powder, hardpack, and occasional ice. This will all ski great with the new snow tomorrow as the coverage is already very good. Wish the glades between Winters Way, Bubblecuffer, and Gondy Line were longer as the trails themselves were slick and not all that fun.

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Overall a fun day at the Loaf. One more day left on the trip, a 10"+ day at Saddleback which will hopefully be as insane as I'm expecting!
 

BodeMiller1

Active member
Joined
Mar 7, 2022
Messages
488
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Location
Bow N.H.
That is a nice looking Cheeseburger. Living well is the best revenge. Could you see Sunday River? That's when you know you have a clear day up there.

Merci
 

Zand

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Joined
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Messages
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Location
Spencer, MA
1/26: Saddleback

I ended the last two reports with "can't wait for the epic powder day Thursday!"

SIKE!

After reading the reports and looking out the window, didn't even bother going up until almost 11 and I got to park nice and close because people had already left. I could hear the scraping of the frozen over groomers at the bottom, so I headed for the warmer Kennebago lift hoping for at least something skiable.

Everything skiers right of the chair was closed. First couple runs were spent breaking through crust on Intimidator, Thrombosis, Family Secret, etc. Unless an area really got tracked out, really not fun at all.

After a few runs I followed a group of people (hoping to at least ski in something tracked out) and followed them to Nightmare Glade which for some reason I never knew existed. I have no idea how I've missed them in 4 days of skiing there. But these were a lot more tracked out and, though a short run, were fun to lap a few times.

Stopped for some chowder and went back out around 1:00. The temp started to drop by that point, making untracked crust even crustier and making Nightmare more slick where it was tracked. Adding insult to injury, after 1 run Kennebago went on wind hold. Just called it a day at that point.

Glad I got a few fun runs on Nightmare but overall just sucks that what was supposed to be an awesome powder day suddenly turned into one of the worst condition days in a few years for me. You win some, you lose some I guess.

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Was planning on going to Pico on Monday but I'll wait to see how things turn out there with the crust. Not gonna make the drive if the woods are sketchy.
 

BodeMiller1

Active member
Joined
Mar 7, 2022
Messages
488
Points
28
Location
Bow N.H.
Heading to Saddleback for the first time this weekend and loving your trip report!

Sad to hear about the wind issues. Does this happen a lot at Saddleback (like at say Sugarloaf and Jay Peak) or just the usual frequency you'd find at many other NE areas?
If Saddleback is sheltered from the wrap around winds all other ski mountains get around here, not only would I go there butt, I would retire there. I also like to poach fish. 👊

Saddleback is the new "Magic Mountain" as Canterbury is the new Bow.

Checking out the "demand" pricing at SB on their website. I wonder if a human wrote the Algorithm or it's a marketing human? At any rate Sat 120ish Mon 70ish.

:unsure:
 

Zand

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Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,935
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Location
Spencer, MA
Yeah I'd say Saddleback is middle of the road as far as winds go. Definitely not in the same category as Jay, Cannon, or Sugarloaf. But it's not exactly Bretton Woods either, as Kennebago still gets pretty exposed near the top and you're on a 4000' ridge.
 
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