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Pico - Feb 9 2018

bdfreetuna

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Went to Pico with the old man today. 64 years old and he does alright. Even one upped me today.

Was about 3 degrees when we arrived. Almost nobody there, parked a couple rows away from the lodge. Obviously lots of snow up there right now. My primary mission was to ski "Busted", which I haven't before. Photos of that below.

Tweaked my back pretty bad on the first run of the day but took Aleve and tried to ignore it. Skied lots of woods which helped due to the hip rotation stretching it out a bit.

Haven't been able to ski a lot this year, mostly due to newborn daughter (who is delightful most of the time!) , but each time I've gone it's been raising my game. IDK if it's because I lost 20 lbs since last season, or new ski boots and getting used to the new skis from last season... or just finally being consistent with the fundamentals ... but the TunaSpeed is strong and the TunaSteez is just like flowing through Upper KA Woods > Lower KA Woods > Birch Woods without stops.

Anyway not trying to toot my horn, but express gladness that it seems my best skiing days are still ahead of me. The snow today certainly made it easier, and I have been picking my days this season pretty carefully as I can ski any day of the week (floating work schedule) and have deals worked out at most VT resorts.

The last run of the day was Busted and that ish is pretty rediculous. I will describe it if anyone wants to know but with the caveat that the first half is pretty gnar and borderline unskiable in a few places. I expect it will be the most challenging run I take all year, even with the perfect conditions. I will probably never ski it again unless I have Ski Blades. Not meant for 185cm skis at all. I had to remove my skis in a couple places as I could not make a safe turn or any turn at all. Even before that part there are switchbacks that will have you hugging trees with one arm on the turn. One of those runs that reminds you, yep, there's some higher level skiers than you out there... if anyone can ski that and ski it *well*, you certainly have my respect. Anyway, eventually it dumps out into some sweet low angle woods that end up in Poma Woods. There had only been 3 people who skied/rode this (2 skiers, 1 boarder) since the recent storm. Massive untracked score.

Nice day, good adventure, especially for my old man who is not as strong a skier -- but as I said he did one up me -- he managed to keep his skis on the whole time down Busted. 64 years old I give him credit.

Pico-2-9_01.jpgPico-2-9_03.jpg
 

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bdfreetuna

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My Dad has a good picture of me wiped out on Busted that I intended to include (and add some much needed humility to this report).. so I'll try to add that later tonight ;)
 

JimG.

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Is Busted that narrow line skier's left of Giant Killer? Looked like an old lift line.

Kudos to your Dad. I'm 60 and I know there's no way I would take my skis off either.
 

bdfreetuna

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Thats Poma Line you're referring to. Busted is further left than that, a lot narrower and probably not visible. Starts at about the same spot by the microwave towers on the summit.

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skimagic

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Was Busted a maintained ski run at one time served by the poma or a hikingtrail that was widened a bit.
 

urungus

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Great report and photos! I was wondering what the narrow line was next to Giant Killer, thanks for the info. Can’t even see Busted on the satellite photo, and from your description it is way out of my league. How tricky is the old Poma line?

By coincidence, I was also at Pico on Friday representing Western Mass. Wanted to check it out this year while I could still use my Max Pass, and before the r**n this weekend. Conditions were the best I have skied this year. Had a great time and will definitely be back when there is more fresh snow. I guess like many people I was guilty of overlooking Pico because of the shadow cast by its enormous neighbor. But it skiied much bigger than I expected, and I much prefer the small mountain feel of the base area compared to the sprawl of Killington.

Warmed up with a few laps of the Intermediate cruisers off the Golden Express Quad and enjoyed the soft snow. Then I headed over to the Outpost area to try a few of the back diamond trails over there, and experienced my only disappointment of the day. Although Pico was advertising itself as 100% open, it turned out that they were not running the two chair lifts over there (Outpost Double & Knomes Knoll Triple). So unless you were willing to “earn your turns” by hiking, it wasn’t possible to explore that area. Kind of misleading IMO to claim it is open if it is not being served by any lift. So be sure to check the lift status beforehand, to avoid my fate ... I wasted some time wandering around trying to find a way up the hill and wound up in the Bonanza beginners area before I found a small double lift that allowed me to return to the base.

Decided to head to the peak next, by taking the Golden Express Quad to Intermediate cruiser Fools Gold to the Sumitt Express Quad. Longest lift line I encountered all day was 3 or 4 groups ahead of me, and I usually had the entire chair to myself. The runs off the peak were fantastic. Sunset 71 and KA are my favorite kind of run, narrow and twisting. Black diamond rated KA was groomed and was fun to cruise down and IMO was much easier than the ungroomed blue Sunset 71. There was a sign warning of thin cover on a Sunset, but other than a few strands of grass poking out here and there, I didn’t encounter any hazards, and didn’t see another soul as I slowly made my way down the soft, forgiving bumps. Would have been above my pay grade if it was icy.

Next time I am at Pico I am hoping to try the Summit Glades, Birch Glades, and Upper Giant Killer and would love to hear peoples thoughts on how they compare in difficulty to the other runs off the Summit. Looking at the satellite, both glades look pretty wide open, which would be good for me.

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Heading down Fools Gold to the Summit Chair:
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urungus

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Half of the run under the Summit chair left ungroomed:
0BE94290-2907-4735-B4C7-D2E81AF12722.jpg

Looking down Sunset 71:
C6BEBCD6-2AB9-4522-940D-F7A0FEC126CD.jpg

Looking back up Sunset 71:
ACDE01D7-F928-4A76-946D-B66F11FAC75B.jpg

Start of KA:
1EFEFB46-83EF-4D82-A196-D760619BC02E.jpg
 
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bdfreetuna

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Some nice pics Urungus.

Yeah I was a little upset about Outpost not being open, contrary to advertised. Skied over there and wasted a run too. Good trees in that pod, oh well.

I've never skied Poma Line (see first photo in my 2nd post... looking down from the top, but I went past that to Busted and just took a photo). Normally I like that kind of thing but from what I know there is an old pipe going vertically down the middle of the steepest section and I really don't feel like skiing metal on a 45-55 degree slope.

From what I've heard KustyTheKlown and a few others here have skied it, maybe they can chime in if my intel is wrong on that metal pipe thing.

Also, Pico needs to trim their trails. A-Slope the most obvious example. I'm okay leaving some bushes in the trail but come on, send a guy up there to trim the pricker bushes. I shouldn't be getting caught up in brambles when they just got 3 feet in a week.
 
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bdfreetuna

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Also... Summit Glades are not glades. It's a bump run that splits and recombines in various parts. Not very steep but you'll find great bumps here.

Upper Giant Killer is the best run there IMO, even though A-Slope (last photo) is slightly steeper, Giant Killer is a nice long bump run and the view from the top is classic. (see my 1st photo). Both of them I would recommend to any confident intermediate.

Sunset Woods is one of my favorites there and not very steep.

Usually the hardest run off the summit of Pico is the blue square because it gets skied off fast.
 
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medfordmike

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Next time I am at Pico I am hoping to try the Summit Glades, Birch Glades, and Upper Giant Killer and would love to hear peoples thoughts on how they compare in difficulty to the other runs off the Summit. Looking at the satellite, both glades look pretty wide open, which would be good for me.

Was there Friday too (Pico is my home mountain). Glad you had a good experience. Summit is a great run but really not a glade in the traditional sense. A bump run with clumps of trees and a lot of fun. It is about as steep as 49er the blue trail to skiers left of it although it drops down all the way to C slope so longer. It is narrower and only natural snow. Upper Giant Killer is also a bump run but about the same pitch as KA or Upper Pike. Generally wider than Summit Glades. Also a lot of fun but strictly dependent on natural snow. It was great on Friday. Birch Glades is a lot like Mid KA glades. Not steep but a lot fun and generally cleaned out of too much debris. There is a Birch Glades ungroomed trail where a lift was long ago. The true glades is between Mid Pike and the Birch Glades "run". Gentle pitch but a lot fun. You can see the pitch in your one photo with Mid KA glades on left and Bitch Glades on Right of "half of the run....." photo.
 

deadheadskier

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Summit Glade is one of the truly unique ski runs in New England. I'm not sure I can think of another run quite like it.

I really need to get back to Pico. Not sure why more people don't go there instead of dealing with the masses nextdoor. Probably the lack of snowmaking. I'm sure the regulars don't mind that reality at all

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gnardawg

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First time at Pico Friday also and boy was I surprised how good it was - always heard it was terrible over there. Was on the 4th or 5th chair:

Hit Summit Glade (reminded me of Beaver at MRG) but made the mistake of going all the way back to the Golden Express Chair, then skied the whole top mountain. In the afternoon I skied over and 4 runs off the top of outpost. Repeated outlaw 2x, Doozie and SideWinder. Then repeated Summit Glades and Giant Killer again.

I really couldn't believe I'd never been before after skiing Killington so many times over the years. To bad the Max Pass is done it's a great spot.
 

bdfreetuna

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Video of Busted off youtube, pretty nuts up top, a bobsled track.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOVlT9h893M

That video is the exact reason I decided to ski it. (I was searching for Poma Line videos and that came up)

I was telling my old man though, and honestly -- the video doesn't make it look as tough as it is. I'm almost certain those kids edited out at least 2 sections of the run -- after the switchbacks but before the wide open birch glade -- probably because these sections are borderline unskiable, and in fact if you did pick up any speed at all extremely dangerous in my opinion.

Great reward but at an unusually high cost. I think if I was 12 years old on shorter skis I would have absolutely loved every second of it though.

EDIT: rewatching it, I guess they didnt' edit anything out. They side slipped the 2 toughest sections.

Problem in my case, I would have side slipped but there was stump and rock sticking out, I'm not going to wreck my new Atomic Vantage 90 CTIs like that. And with 185s I didn't have enough room to make jump turns, you can see it's barely as wide as these kids' 165s and they had a better base.

My Dad is on 170s, and though being a worse skier, managed to mostly side slip.
 
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bdfreetuna

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Not sure why more people don't go there instead of dealing with the masses nextdoor.AlpineZone mobile app

Both these mountains I usually make it to several times a season. Killington usually add one or two due to longer season.

Pico, I love, but I could get bored with quickly. I don't love all the trails off the top. I know which trails and trees I do love and can ski them in a day easily.

Killington I find myself just taking epicly long runs going whichever direction I feel like on a whim and enjoying myself immensely. Work my way through different pods at different times of day. And they do have a lot more woods overall. They have 10x as many steep trails probably. I have yet to get tired of Killington, especially as it expands throughout the season giving you access to more and more terrain.

And then in the spring it's really a party over there, and Pico is already closed or has 5 trails.

For me, Killington is "ole reliable". The default option. Rarely lets me down (but I don't go on crowded days).

Pico is more of an avoid the crowds, I already know the plan in advance, type of mountain.
 

JimG.

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Reminds me of this at Stowe:
stow1.jpg
Unmarked trees off of the Cliff Trail. Wormhole for the top 200 yards, then opens up to a glade of nicely pitched and spaced trees.
 
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