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MT. Snow Intel for 2/20

benski

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I am going to Mt. Snow for the first time Saturday. I am looking for advice on how to avoid crowds and what trails are best.


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njdiver85

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Get out in line at 8am for first chair. Ski main face until that gets crowded. Then move over to North Face, Sunbrook, or Carinthia.
 

Jcb890

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I'm no Mount Snow veteran like Dr. Jeff, but I'll share a bit of insight that I have...

Don't bother with the Main Base Lodge. The place is a mad-house and parking fills up fastest also. It is the main lodge, so of course most people want to go there. I like to setup shop over at the Sundance Base Lodge. You can get closer/easier parking, they have the ticket window and group sales right there and there's food inside also. Free bag check downstairs is really nice also.

As for avoiding crowds on the mountain - there will be less crowds on Sundance and the North Face. There isn't much open on Sundance unfortunately (I like riding that side a lot), so it will be a little more crowded than usual over there with only 1 real trail open on that side. On the North Face they have been opening up other trails, so it should stay less crowded over on that side. The North Face is all black diamonds though mostly, so it also depends on your skill level.

Long John will have the most crowds all day and the main Blue Bird bubble lift will have the longest lift lines throughout the day.

Do you have specific questions also?
 

billski

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As a somewhat jaded northern skier, I'll add my perspective. I have no idea where you are coming from, so you'll get just one POV which probably isn't worth 2 cents.
I have skied there four times over the past month, largely due to a ski club lodge nearby.
First, everyone wants to ride the Bluebird express with the bubble cover. Even the singles line has three lines merging into one. Effectively it is one very long line. Go for the triples or quads. the lines are vastly smaller, can get you to most of the terrain. Just don't whine about how slow they are. Fixed grips rule (I'm old school). It's not going to be very cold, so you really don't need the bubble lift.

Second, this season's crappy conditions have pretty much required they turned the place into a flatland, blue square groomer. Even the bump runs are pretty tame and seem to get bulldozed often. If you are a seasoned skier, you won't find the north face particularly challenging. Given the pitch, the loose snow readily slides off. The big benefit is zero lift lines and nobody skiing on your butt.

Third, the blue trails seem to be in the best shape but it's a two edged sword. They have a cane-sugar consistency; they do a pretty good job of grinding stuff up, and even the scratchy stuff is edge-able, though an intermediate might not think so. At most times during the day, turn around and you'll see 30-40 people coming at you.

Fourth, you have to pick your turns. It's not a no-stress, ski with abandon kind of year. You will find lots of FGR packed surfaces. Get out early. In a two hour stretch, from about noon until 2 we saw four body bags on litters on the move by ski patrol. We also saw another two unrelated incidents with litter transfers in progress. I went into the patrol office late in the day and saw two more crews headed out with litters. I don't mean to scare you, but it is what it is. This season I've taken three really bad falls that hurt like hell. I also twisted my knee. All of these were the result of catching an edge. None of this stopped me from skiing my brains out, but you have to be alert every second. None of those happened at Mt. Snow

Fifth, forget the woods. period.

Sixth, keep your eye on the winds. MS a deserved rep for wind holds, but there are lots of lower mountain options.

Seventh, if a sign says "thin cover", it is. There were a few trails with unmarked thin cover, they were mostly grass, with a few ski-aroundable true ice patches.

Eighth, if it looks like new fallen powder on the sides, it probably isn't.

Ninth, This time of year Mt. snow has direct sunlight on its trail almost until closing time. Almost no shadows or "flat light".

Kudos to ski patrol who went down and rescued the pole I dropped from the lift. Dope slap me.

Ditto the earlier remarks.
 
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benski

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I'm no Mount Snow veteran like Dr. Jeff, but I'll share a bit of insight that I have...

Don't bother with the Main Base Lodge. The place is a mad-house and parking fills up fastest also. It is the main lodge, so of course most people want to go there. I like to setup shop over at the Sundance Base Lodge. You can get closer/easier parking, they have the ticket window and group sales right there and there's food inside also. Free bag check downstairs is really nice also.

As for avoiding crowds on the mountain - there will be less crowds on Sundance and the North Face. There isn't much open on Sundance unfortunately (I like riding that side a lot), so it will be a little more crowded than usual over there with only 1 real trail open on that side. On the North Face they have been opening up other trails, so it should stay less crowded over on that side. The North Face is all black diamonds though mostly, so it also depends on your skill level.

Long John will have the most crowds all day and the main Blue Bird bubble lift will have the longest lift lines throughout the day.

Do you have specific questions also?

No just just the best way to ski the mountain. I am taking a bus so no worries about parking. I am an expert and can ski anything at sugarbush. My only worries relate to actually skiing and food.


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billski

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No just just the best way to ski the mountain. I am taking a bus so no worries about parking. I am an expert and can ski anything at sugarbush. My only worries relate to actually skiing and food.
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The only thing I can say about the food is that the lines move slow if you want any of the served food.
 

ss20

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Also not as experienced as Dr Jeff, but I ski Mount Snow 5-10 days each season through day trips and weekend trips. I've done the daytrip route plenty of times and know how to get the most out of the mountain in a single day.

Lot's of people say to start at Sundance... be wary. That's the bus lot lodge... arrive past 9:30am and there'll be no place left for your bags. And you have to ride out of the basin to get to the Main Base lifts, which can be a pain if you start your day there, eat lunch there, or need to go back for gloves or to shed layers. Takes ~ten minutes to ride up and ski to the Main Base, you decide if it's worth it or not. Plus your lunch options and services are much more limited than the Main Base.

As for the mountain... If you can start at 8am ride the Bluebird for a few main face laps and then get out of there...fast. Sunbrook is nice but the lift is too slow for the quality of terrain it services...imo. Very mellow intermediate terrain in that bowl. It's fun in March when there's plenty of snow and sun, but that won't be the case Saturday.

The North Face is a lot of fun with natural snow... hopefully Friday night into Saturday morning will bring you some freshies! Looker's right of the Challenger lift is mellow black terrain, looker's left is where the legitimate terrain is. Plummet and Freefall should be in play no matter what the rain does today.

I like to end my day (2:30-4pm) lapping the Canyon Quad and either summit lift, skiing whatever looks good on the Main Face.



Watch the weather. 3 inches of snow will give you dust on crust, 6 inches will give you a nice powder day, and 8 inches or more might be able to open up the naturals...we'll have to see with today's rain. This plan isn't the best plan, but it's what I do when the mountain is completely open. If it's snowmaking trails only try to rough it on the Main face from 8am-10am, and again from 2pm-4pm, exploring the limited man-made options on Sunbrook and the North Face in between.
 

ScottySkis

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Good food in deli in summit Hotel it kind of hidden and mostly people staying at hotel eat their. Deli food is delicious and prices sales as their crappy base lodge food. Nice and sread out. Definitely eat their

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drjeff

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Get out in line at 8am for first chair. Ski main face until that gets crowded. Then move over to North Face, Sunbrook, or Carinthia.

The 8AM part is correct, but then Northface to Sunbrook to Carinthia is what most of the masses do IMHO. Going Main face to Carinthia to Northface helps avoid that, and if its a sunny day let's you get the Northface in better light
 

ScottySkis

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Good food in deli in summit Hotel it kind of hidden and mostly people staying at hotel eat their. Deli food is delicious and prices sales as their crappy base lodge food. Nice and sread out. Definitely eat their

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I never waited more then 5 minutes in that deli. It 5 minute walk from main lodge .. Walk by ski sports shop their and deli in come up I. Few feet.

pen Daily: 8:00am - CLOSE
I guess they moved the deli to lodge now.

Your favorite stop on your way out of Vermont is now in the Main Base Lodge at Mount Snow! Indulge in our famous baked cheddar macaroni and cheese or grab and go burritos plus other delectable surprises. Warm up before or after the slopes with a gourmet espresso or hot chocolate. Open weekends and holidays during the winter. Come say hello!
http://www.mountsnow.com/the-mountain/dining/vermont-country-deli/
 
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drjeff

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After today's rain and the forecast of colder air through Friday, what naturals were open this weekend (and ski patrol was very liberal in opening them IMHO) won't be available until at least 6" of snow falls. They're just going to be bulletproof with just a few inches of snow attempting to cover up all the water bars, rocks, etc. The woods are a no go!!! One of my favorite bartenders at the mountain while snowboarding through some trees yesterday AM got her board caught on some barely hidden debris and sustained 2 puncture wounds to her left knee!!!

Mount Snow has a decent enough base on the vast majority of their snowmaking terrain now, that even if they don't turn the guns on the next few days to resurface, their grooming crew will be able to get a decent machine groomed loose granular surface by the weekend without any issue.

Lift wise, the Bluebird usually has 5 to 10+ minute lines by 9ish (there's a big weekly kids program that hits the Bluebird line about 8:45 and another about 9:15) - if its cold and windy, I don't mind the wait, most of the time the quads out of the base, the grand summit and Canyon express) rarely have lines more than 3 to 5 minutes unless it's a BUSY day.

Sunbrook Quad, off the backside of the mountain services some nice, all be it limited this year, terrain, but the lift ride can be rough on a cold day with the winds blowing out of the Northwest.

If and when the lines in the base area get big at the high-speed lifts, look to the fixed grips triples such as Ego Alley and Sundance to get you some main face runs without more than a few chair wait
 

drjeff

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I never waited more then 5 minutes in that deli. It 5 minute walk from main lodge .. Walk by ski sports shop their and deli in come up I. Few feet.

pen Daily: 8:00am - CLOSE
I guess they moved the deli to lodge now.

Your favorite stop on your way out of Vermont is now in the Main Base Lodge at Mount Snow! Indulge in our famous baked cheddar macaroni and cheese or grab and go burritos plus other delectable surprises. Warm up before or after the slopes with a gourmet espresso or hot chocolate. Open weekends and holidays during the winter. Come say hello!
http://www.mountsnow.com/the-mountain/dining/vermont-country-deli/

It's still in the Grandsummit as well, just a satellite location now in the main base lodge.

Also they have a new BBQ place this season, Rueben's, that is walk up service on Cuzzin's Deck, very good!! I'm partial to the pulled pork sandwich with the Carolina sauce and cheesy grits as my side!
 

benski

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how was it?

It went great. I did not wait for more than 5 minuets anywhere. Conditions were good except one natural snow trail on the North Face which was a mixture of straight up ice and soft snow, I have never seen anything like it. You guy's advice was defiantly helpful.

Can't believe how long the lines for the Bluebird were. At like 930 they were really long and it was warm and sunny. BTW it seemed like the carpet loader on the Grand Summit was causing a lot of people to have trouble load the lift. Don't know why anyone thought that was a good idea. I think I got like 16 runs in between 9 and 3:30.
 

Glenn

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That belt has been on the Grand Summit for years. When we skied there, I liked it. Gate opened, it brought you to the loading area. However, most people fight it and end up trying to slow down; just screws things up.
 

drjeff

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My "favorite" part with any lift that has loading gates on it (not even a conveyor belt, but just loading gates that open and close when its time to head out to the load line for the lift) is watching some people who think that they need to put their poles, not behind the gate where you can simply use them to push right through once the gate opens, but think that they need to maneuver them up and over the gate, then to find out that just as the gate opens it "traps" one of their poles behind the gate! :lol: :rolleyes:

Conveyors and loading gates work great, IF YOU DO WHAT THEY TELL YOU TO DO, which is if it's a loading gate with a conveyor, just lean on the gate, as it tell you to, and then just stand still and let the conveyor do the work for you! If it's just a loading gate, just stand with all of your gear less your ski tips or tip of your board behind the gate, and then just push through it when it opens.

Realistically the problem for most is that they get a bit of the "deer in the headlights" thing going one when they come to a gate/conveyor and just freeze up for a few seconds, and when the chairs are loading at anywhere between a 6 to 10 second interval for most lifts, that deer in the headlights pause is what creates "panic" which leads to issues.....
 

benski

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That belt has been on the Grand Summit for years. When we skied there, I liked it. Gate opened, it brought you to the loading area. However, most people fight it and end up trying to slow down; just screws things up.

I don't see the point of it since it does not allow the lift to load faster and increase stops. I don't see the advantage to it. They do seem to work great on fixed grips and sugarbush and Greek peak


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drjeff

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I don't see the point of it since it does not allow the lift to load faster and increase stops. I don't see the advantage to it. They do seem to work great on fixed grips and sugarbush and Greek peak


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It was installed, before the Bluebird was put in, as a way especially for the ski school, to get groups of 4, to the load line at the same time. Not always an easy task when you have 6 seconds (that's the spacing between the chairs on the Grand Summit) to get multiple young kids, often with limited skills, to the exact same point to get on the chair. In this respect, it did what it was hoped it would do. They chose not to install one on the Bluebird, because the chair spacing there is 9 seconds, and that extra time typically allows an instructor with 1 younger child on each arm to get where all 3 of them need to be on time.

When I was out in Park City about a month ago, Vail Resorts chose to install a loading carpet on the new this season upgrade of the King Con High speed quad to a high speed 6 pack. That carpet worked quite well, to the point where my wife and I remarked "how come folks back East can't seem to use a loading carpet as proficiently as folks out West?" ;-)
 
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