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Smuggler's Notch 04/05/2014

dlague

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Smuggs

Conditions - icy, MM dust on crust up top (all day) and softer towards the bottom

Trip Report

Smuggs was not our friend!

We were heading to Smuggs excited about skiing there in the spring (shorter lift lines) with the whole mountain still open the day before. This was going to be perfect!

Keep in mind, my wife hated our last outing at Smuggs, slow chairs, doubles only, it was super busy, lodges were crowded! So she was not optimistic! She also did not like how long it takes to get there (should have been 2 hours and 45)! She was also concerned that it rained all night and it was going to be near freezing at the base when we arrive!

I never bothered to read the snow report before leaving so my wife, about half way there, wanted to see what was open and low and hold it was reporting 15 trails (she was not pleased) - however it did say more trails would open up as temps increased. We are still going to be OK!

We followed the GPS and it took us up Route 108 only to find the road closed over to Smuggs. Our target time to Smuggs was 10 am and now that was not going to happen. Even though Smuggs was about 5-8 miles away we had to turn around and drive like 40 miles to get there (Add an hour). (my wife was not pleased). I was trying to keep the calm by saying we will get there when we get there!

At this point everyone needed to use the rest room adding more delay! (wife not any happier)

Finally get there and park on the Morse side. We carry our skis up and someone suggest taking the shuttle up rather than skiing the slow run - snow was sticky according to them. So we did and the driver takes us to the Sterling Yurt. Not where we wanted to be we asked to go to the Madonna Lodge. The bus driver proceeds to talk to every tailgate party up there and pissing my wife off more! The day is not starting off well AT ALL!

One of the ski instructors asked him if he would take him to the general store to pick up more beer for their tailgate. He was kind of funny (a little hammered) however heading down to Madonna Lodge he happens to mention that conditions suck and are dangerous! Wife's facial expression was priceless and I was thinking - F%^&! At this point the wife is livid! She storms off the bus and the ski instructor then says - if you stay on the groomed trails you will be fine! What! Could he have said that instead of - the trails suck - while my wife was still on the bus? Turns our he was talking about trails he poached!

While getting our gear on my wife was not saying a word and was in a bad mood at this point - I just wanted to get out on the lift! Going up, I explained what the guy on the bus said about groomers being fine and she was willing to give things a try! It turns out there were about three different runs down using a combination of - the Rumrunner trails, Treasure Run, parts of Black Snake, Exibition, Practice Slope, and Birch Run! We skied about 4-5 runs from the Sterling lift which was ski on ski off and then decide to eat at the Black Bear Tarvern. My wife orders a bloody mary and they ran out of bloody mary mix (I ducked). Actually the food was not bad and after a couple of drinks we skied for a couple more hours and our attitudes was "Ski what the mountain gives you!". We ended up having fun but did start getting bored with the same runs over and over. Talk about highlighting the chairs speed! It started to get colder and snow was lightly falling and it ended up never warming up! We poached a trail but it was bumpy glass ice and felt very sketchy. We also tried the woods which kind of seemed ok but now an then you would break through crust which got scary next to trees!

Needless to say "Smuggs was not our friend, again!". We made the most of it and we skied there on the cheap using the Fox 44 card for two, liftopia for one, and The Ride and Ski Card for another. Turns out that was a great deal $15 the lift ticket price which was already lowered to $38 for a child! We actually had a good time the runs there were long and it was about getting family turns in!

My wife really never wants to go back! I want to give it one more try.

Exibition and OK spot!
photo 1.jpg

Rare busy moment
photo 5.JPG

Crickets
photo 2.JPG

Looks nice it is dust on glass hard frozen rain soaked snow
photo 3.JPG
 

WWF-VT

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We followed the GPS and it took us up Route 108 only to find the road closed over to Smuggs. Our target time to Smuggs was 10 am and now that was not going to happen. Even though Smuggs was about 5-8 miles away we had to turn around and drive like 40 miles to get there (Add an hour). (my wife was not pleased). I was trying to keep the calm by saying we will get there when we get there!

I always get a kick out of people trusting their GPS and not knowing that 108 ( and many other VT roads) are closed in the winter.

Saturday wasn't good just about anywhere in most of VT with the rain and freeze. Hope you get another chance at a good day at Smuggs.
 

Savemeasammy

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Bummer. I opted out of heading to Smuggs on Saturday for this reason! I hope you can talk your wife into trying it again. It really is a great mountain!


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Kleetus

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Well misery loves company, and I too took part in the misery that was the conditions at Smuggs on Saturday (minus the anger of your wife of course). Ranked up in one the 10 worst days I have skied in my entire life. I always used the saying a bad day of skiing is better than a good day of sitting home. Saturday was it's borderline better to sit at home bad especially with the 3+ hour drive factored in. I unfortunately left so early they hadn't updated the report yet so didn't know about the closed trails until I got there.

Funny I used my Fox 44 card at Smuggs too on Saturday. Guess we both were psychic to go there and burn vouchers on Saturday.
 

WoodCore

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Your wife is right, Smuggs sucks, no need to return! :popcorn:
 

Savemeasammy

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Well misery loves company, and I too took part in the misery that was the conditions at Smuggs on Saturday (minus the anger of your wife of course). Ranked up in one the 10 worst days I have skied in my entire life. I always used the saying a bad day of skiing is better than a good day of sitting home. Saturday was it's borderline better to sit at home bad especially with the 3+ hour drive factored in. I unfortunately left so early they hadn't updated the report yet so didn't know about the closed trails until I got there.

Funny I used my Fox 44 card at Smuggs too on Saturday. Guess we both were psychic to go there and burn vouchers on Saturday.

Well you certainly can't close out your season like that! Luckily there will be plenty of spring turns left when you get back!


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Tin

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Any plans to reopen Madonna this year? Thinking about it Sunday but with no Madonna and not too much on Sterling I might hit Bush.
 

dlague

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They originally planned on keeping Madonna open until this coming weekend but a call ahead might be in order! With the warmer temps the trails will soften and that might work for them! They could save face by opening Madonna!


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4aprice

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Oh man, I can imagine that car ride and my sympathies to you. I met up with similar conditions at K and after trying to convince my wife to go was actually glad she was not there. My wife has the same feelings about Whiteface NY in that she will never go again.

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ
 

dlague

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Oh man, I can imagine that car ride and my sympathies to you. I met up with similar conditions at K and after trying to convince my wife to go was actually glad she was not there. My wife has the same feelings about Whiteface NY in that she will never go again.

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ

Well, in her defense, sometimes my desire to make turns out weighs the need to be informed and make the right decision. So she has been there and done that - however, I have to hand it to her she will hang in there even on the worst days and make a go of it as she did this time. Our first three trips to Jay Peak were white out, super windy, freezing rain messes and she did not really want to go back - it is one of her favorites now!

The next year's trip will have to be better planned for Smuggs!
 

BackLoafRiver

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I, too, was part of the misery fest that was Smuggs on Saturday. I didn't post any pics or a report. Your report was spot on about conditions.

Your day sounded much, much more tiresome than mine. Sorry you had such a bad experience. I love the notch and just chalked it up to crap timing. Be sure to give her another chance.


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ScottySkis

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Smuggs has great family learning area sorry you were theri on bad day. when it good it great like skiing all over hopfully your wife will go again.
 

dlague

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Smuggs has great family learning area sorry you were theri on bad day. when it good it great like skiing all over hopfully your wife will go again.

Ya we do not ski the family learning area part of Smuggs! I was hoping to ski some of the glades at Smuggs though!



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Savemeasammy

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Perhaps a "couples day" at Smuggs next season is in order. I'd love to bring my wife, but the best of what Smuggs has to offer is beyond her!


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xwhaler

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Smuggs is one of my wife's favorite mtns in the East----give it another shot and I don't think you will be disappointed.
Feel like Mid/Late March is prime time to hit Smuggs---everything is open and normal crowds on the doubles wont be quite so bad.
We actually tried Morse this yr for a couple runs---the chairs are even slower than Sterling/M1/M2 so we couldn't take it after a couple runs but there are some cool low angle glades and the upper headwall at top of Morse liftline looks decent.
 

dlague

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Perhaps a "couples day" at Smuggs next season is in order. I'd love to bring my wife, but the best of what Smuggs has to offer is beyond her!


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Savemeasammy, you have a good idea there and we might be able to make that work! All the talk of ski offs and stuff, there is never any discussion relative to this concept! Xwhaler and his wife skied with my wife and I which was fun!

Smuggs is one of my wife's favorite mtns in the East----give it another shot and I don't think you will be disappointed.
Feel like Mid/Late March is prime time to hit Smuggs---everything is open and normal crowds on the doubles wont be quite so bad.
We actually tried Morse this yr for a couple runs---the chairs are even slower than Sterling/M1/M2 so we couldn't take it after a couple runs but there are some cool low angle glades and the upper headwall at top of Morse liftline looks decent.

We have been there twice, the first time we looked at the trail map and decided to stick to Madonna and Sterling! The second time (this trip) well there was one trail open so we did not bother! I am surprised that they do not shut down Morse sooner since the number of beginners probably is really low by the end of March.

BTW I did talk to my wife and we plan on a Stowe/Smuggs weekend next year and stay over night locally. So we wil have to poke around the Morse side a bit.
 

Savemeasammy

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Don't get me wrong, Dlague... We could squeeze in a ski off as well ;) !! (We are having fun beating this into the ground!)

Kidding aside, there are probably a number of couples who might be into this - and it could be at any # of different hills. We will have to pick this topic up again next year - my wife has hung up the skis for the season!


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dlague

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Definitely a topic for next season!

My wife on the otherhand is in it til the end! We are headed for MRG on Saturday! Cannon and Jay Peak the following weekend and she wants to ski Jay Peak on Mothers Day too. We also want to hit up Sugarbush for their free/last weekend! And last but not least a trip or two to Kmart!


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