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Sugarloaf 2/23-2/25/20

Zand

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A lot of times I chase powder, but this year after a couple failed attempts I was determined to get to Sugarloaf when I could actually see the mountain, the lifts were actually running, and cell towers weren't being blown in half by 145 mph winds. The forecast was looking beautiful and I decided this would be a fine few days to pull it off.

With the wife in tow I got a late start this morning, but I just wanted to be here in time for 2:30 cat skiing. Arrived at 1 to cars parked way down the access road and every lot full, but at that hour there were spots in the top lot available.

Had about 30 minutes once I booted up before I had to head to the log yard so I hit Broccoli Glade off Whiffletree. Plenty of ice and rocks to welcome me back to the east but it was actually decent as long as you were careful. Just couldn't bomb through like I grew used to doing last week.

Followed up that run with two runs down Haul Back off King Pine to kill another 15 minutes. Scary when Sugarloaf feels flat and small but holy hell did I get spoiled last week. Actually some nice soft snow skiers right and a fun run but it was weird skiing a run in 90 seconds again.

Headed off to the Log Yard down a well signed snowmobile trail which was nice and smooth for the most part but theres one crappy area near the end that I had to throw on the brakes for followed by an uphill area but made it in plenty of time.

After the roughly 10 minute cat ride up a steep and scenic road, I made my way down Androscoggin Glade. Started off wonderful with lightly tracked glade lines. Some,debris and fallen trees, not really unlike Brackett Basin but just a lot less skied and it was like silk. Toward the bottom it got crunchy. The long cat ride made it feel like you had a longer run than you did as it was a pretty quick run down.

2nd run I did Little Androscoggin which is quite a bit steeper and also had a lot more debris to deal with. Still really enjoyed my run. Not sure it's worth $45 to ski that terrain on a day like today but I'd do it again for sure on a powder day.

The run out put a real bad taste in my mouth. Ski Patrol said go back through the Log Yard, about a quarter mile down the same trail that you take in, then hang a left down a trail. I did all that and then ended up on a cross country trail which was very much in use. The run into the Log Yard has all kinds of signs but there are no signs whatsoever to get you back. The flat trail went on forever and I finally came out at some condos. I asked someone how close I was to Snubber and they said it was across the parking lot of the next condo building.

It was almost 3:45 at this point and I had no idea Sugarloaf closes lower mountain lifts at 3:45. I finally got to the other end of the condo parking lot and as I was skiing up to the lift the liftie comes out and puts the closed rope up. I told him I needed to get to the base and he said I had to ski down to the road and wait for the bus. What a dick. Guess they need to save money by not running the lift an extra 25 seconds so their lifts stop popping out of the ground.

The bus finally came by after 20 minutes and after a nice tour of the condos and sitting in traffic I finally got to the base at 4:25. Thanks lifty.

Of course I figured a nice Bag Burger would wash the taste out of my mouth and as usual the food was great. However a drunk couple sat right next to us at the bar and fought the ENTIRE time we were there. Correct me if I'm wrong but no other ski area in New England has even close to as much of a "drunk locals" problem as Sugarloaf. Every time I go to a restaurant or even just ride the bus here I always see them.

Looking forward to a great day of skiing tomorrow and hopefully no bus rides or drunk locals.
 

Zand

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I enjoyed this. Needs pics.


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Unfortunately my new phone won't upload to AZ for some reason so I have to wait till I get home,to put them up. But there will be pics.
 

skiMEbike

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Unfortunately your Cat skiing experience sounds all too familiar. I've only done it once (two years ago), the actual experience of riding the cat & skiing the glade is fun/unique, however "getting back" is a pain in the arse !! Skiing/riding beyond the log yard is long, flat, not well signed with walking required. There's a way to get out onto stubs trail and come out at the bottom of Wiffletree or Sawduster, but (as expected with not very good signs) you missed that turned. Hopefully that experience didn't ruin your entire trip...I heard the mountain was skiing great this weekend. Now you know: Don't bother with the Cat skiing...It's overrated.
 

Bumpsis

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The exit from the cat skiing glades is a PITA and it's really too bad that the mountain doesn't put up decent signs to get you out without having to go all the way to the XC trail. I think they do that so the condo owners won't complain about hordes of people walking by or some other nonsense like that.

There is a fairly decent way out, as skiMEbike mentioned, but it's really easy to miss. A short distance down from the Upper Log yard (cat meet up hut), keep to the left of the trail there is something called the Blacksmith glade. Just about always there is path/trail through it that gets you out onto the Lower Stub's trail. DON'T take it unless you want to get the Snowbrook condos and the lift, just cross it and walk through the condo road (short walk, really) and you'll end up on Lower Buckboard trail. Take that down to the bottom of Whiffletree lift.

I scouted all that on snowshoes a couple of years back. In my opinion, if you know how to get to the glades that are the Brackett Basin proper, from the top of King Pine (Sweeper glades, etc), you'll have almost just as much vertical as what the cat skiing gives you.

Most people who venture into the Brackett from top of King Pine hardly ever go beyond Cant Dog Glades, so the lines further out, beyond Cant Dogs are usually less skied off. Granted, it's not the same as snow cat accessed terrain but much less hassle and still good fun, providing that the snow cover is decent.
 

Zand

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2/24

Beautiful day out there today, temps in the 40s and not a cloud in the sky. Decent amount of people out there with it being NH vacation week and the weather being nice but never waited more than 10 chairs for anything.

Got started with SuperQuad/Timberline up to Gondi Line from the top. Death cookies at the top before the cross cut but turned into some beautiful packed powder for the 2nd half. Really silly that this is a double diamond.

Next I slayed a demon from last year, Kick Back. This glade almost ended my season last year so I wanted to give it its due. The top needs work...tons of brush everywhere and trees down. Then it opens up into a fun glade. A little thin in spots but enjoyed the run.

Hit Dropline Glade from Skyline which had soft but packed snow which made it very fast. Coverage was no problem that high up and pretty fun to romp through as it's pretty mellow.

Off Timberline I hit Winters Way from the top. Very top had some ice but quickly become soft and powdery. The extra traffic beyond the catwalk led to icy troughs and some rocks poking through but felt like a run down Castlerock...steepish and narrow.

Next run over to Timberline I took Binder which I thought was going to be a nice groomer but quickly narrowed down into a bumpy chute. I was hauling into it so the chute got the blood pumping a bit.

Off Timberline I tried getting to the top of Bubblecuffer but it was closed for some reason so I had to survive my way down Nitro which was a total sheet of ice. At the catwalk I cut through the woods to get to the open part of Bubblecuffer. Very similar trail to Winters Way...maybe a little more soft snow here for some reason but another Castlerock-esque run.

Another Skyline/Timberline combo brought me back,to Nitro. I wanted to ski Ignitor but I slid right past the first gate onto Powder Keg which gets you over there. Made it to the 2nd Powder Keg gate and it was pretty fun from there. Lots of soft snow and soft bumps. Continued into Misery Whip which was ugly. Bad bump lines with 15 feet of porcelain between each one. Got a little better towards the bottom, but not fun.

Headed into Brackett next. Wanted to traverse out a bit but the entrance above Can't Dog is the ugliest thing I've ever seen. It's impossible to hold the top traverse without trashing your skis, just rocks and stumps everywhere. I had to drop down off the traverse a little bit then started traversing but didn't make it too far. Not sure if I ended up at Birler or just the outer reaches of Cant Dog as there's no signs. But wherever I was was pretty good. Lots of fun lines and a couple crappy areas but easy to avoid. As long as you start traversing back when the station for King Pine comes into earshot you're good.

Hit Wedge next which was groomed...a little slick but not too bad. Took Skyline up for a 2000 vert blast down Spillway to Boardwalk. Spillway was decent and down low on Boardwalk was full on spring.

After a quick lunch I headed up the Super Quad and took Sheer Boom. Enough skiable snow to make it fun, but tons of icy troughs too.

Timberlined it up to check out more front snowfields. Unfortunately flat light had set in and holy elephant balls was Nitro bad. I was dead set on hitting that first gate into Ignitor so I slowly made my way down the left side where it was a bit more skiable. When I was 20 feet uphill I started to cross towards the gate, but thanks to the sheet ice I very quickly slid sideways as well, gained a ton of speed but by some miracle my left ski ended up inside the gate by an inch and I didn't take a gate to the crotch. Was defying death worth it to get over there? No. The top part of Powder Keg was also a sheet of ice. I could see the line where the powder started about 150 feet downhill but as soon as I started skiing my feet came out from under me. Landed on my hand really hard and quickly slid down into a powder explosion. Once I got to that I was finally able to cross to Ignitor which had a couple fun areas but most of the time was spent picking through brush. Moral of the story...dont bother with the snowfields.

Continued down Ripsaw which was another ungroomed run with nice snow in spots but some icy spots and one real shit part just before the bottom. Rather deal with rocks and dirt here than ski the icefields again though.

Off King Pine I did a quick cruise down Haul Back which was probably the best groomer of the day. Even Stratton wouldn't call this a black diamond but it's a fun little run. Cruised down Ramdown next into Broccoli Garden. Very springy down there. Packed snow was potatoes, untracked was sticky, and down low had some bare spots.

Took Whiffletree to Skyline and had time for one more so hit Double Bitter. More narrow partially soft snow/partially icy bump line goodness. Halfway down I went into the woods and found a nice steep chute through the trees. Popped out of that after some dicey turns on fast snow and headed to the bottom.

One more day tomorrow, looks cloudy but still warm.
 

Bumpsis

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Sound like the mountain could really use some snow. It's coming, 10 - 12 inches on Thursday. I hope that Friday's ski traffic will be on the easy side so there maybe some leftovers for the weekend. I have a week of skiing out there starting on Sat. Thanks for the detailed report.
 

Zand

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2/25

Kind of a quick hitter today as it was overcast and in the low 30s so everything hardened up unfortunately. Pretty much a groomers only day.

Started off with some fresh cord on Comp Hill off the Super Quad and it was like those late March mornings of frozen fast snow, but fun when it's freshly groomed. Kept the fresh cord frenzy going with Tote Road off Skyline.

Headed up Timberline and hit its namesake trail. Honestly one of the best green circle trails in the east, too bad theres no way for beginners to get to it. Did jump into Barber Chair glade hoping maybe the snow up high wasn't as frozen but it wasn't meant to be. The snow was slightly edgeable and it's pretty flat in there so it was actually a fun romp through the trees but I wouldn't want to ski a steep glade with that kind of snow.

Back up top, they had just dropped the rope on White Nitro after giving it a good grooming last night and it needed it. Enjoyable run down the frozen cord on probably the steepest trail on the mountain.

Took Gondi Line off Skyline next and....ouch. Ungroomed last night after being groomed and then skied off yesterday...makes absolutely no sense. Basically skidded down half of it then it got better as it flattened out.

Another ride up Skyline led me back over to a wonderful Timberline and Scoot to the bottom. Fun bending groomers to rip wide turns down.

Checked out of the room and had a small lunch then headed up for two top to bottom runs down Narrow Gauge from the summit. Pretty fun 4 minute laps down a roughly 2400 vert run. Nicely groomed the whole way.

Hit Hayburner which was like the other trails in that area...steepish and fast. Headed up Skyline and took Binder which WAS groomed??? The cover was already thin but it was bumped up yesterday so all they did was kick up a bunch of rocks and debris. Meanwhile they had multiple cruisers that were sheets of ice that they left ungroomed. Don't get it.

Took Nitro off the top which was a little more slick at that point but still good. Down to Haul Back which they didn't groom overnight but was in decent shape as it wasn't heavily skied yesterday. Finished up with Ramdown to Boardwalk and called it a day.

Somehow more sore after 3 days at Sugarloaf than 6 days at Jackson but the east will do that to you I guess. They should be in fine shape again after the storm Thursday. I'll be out somewhere next Monday. Likely Killington, Loon, or Sunday River.

Pictures tomorrow.
 

Zand

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Picture time!

1. Heading up in the Burnt Mountain cat
2. Top of Androscoggin Glade
3. More Androscoggin Glade
4. Little Androscoggin Glade
5. Don't see the mountain from this angle very often
 

Zand

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loaf6jpeg.jpgloaf7jpeg.jpgloaf8jpeg.jpgloaf9jpeg.jpgloaf10jpeg.jpg

1. More from Little Androscoggin Glade
2. Bluebird Monday morning atop Gondi Line
3. Winters Way
4. Bufflecuffer
5. Misery Whip was misery Monday...you can see how scraped clean it is.
 

Zand

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loaf12jpeg.jpgloaf11jpeg.jpgloaf13jpeg.jpgloaf14jpeg.jpgloaf15jpeg.jpg

1. Brackett Basin
2. More from Brackett Basin
3. Lower part of Ignitor, not worth the death slide to get to it
4. Ripsaw...above the part that was all dirt
5. Barber Chair Glade on Tuesday
 

chuckstah

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Nice report and pictures Zand!

Couple thoughts.
First, Androscoggin glades look way overcut, in the pictures any way. And second, I've given up on pre planned trips to the Loaf. I've been burned too many times. But, spring or powder days are fantastic. These days I wait til the last minute and choose elsewhere if the temps, wind, or conditions are at all questionable.

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deadheadskier

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They definitely got too chainsaw happy in places on Burnt. Also agree it's a last minute decision type of place. I've probably skied Sugarloaf 50 days in my life. I'd venture to say 30 of those have had wind holds, maybe higher if including Timberline. I basically expect Timberline to be closed every visit. Not a big deal, but if King Pine, Skyline or Superquad are down, it really screws your day.

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The Sneak

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Double runner to the t bar, in that case. Make the best of it!


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Bumpsis

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They definitely got too chainsaw happy in places on Burnt. Also agree it's a last minute decision type of place. I've probably skied Sugarloaf 50 days in my life. I'd venture to say 30 of those have had wind holds, maybe higher if including Timberline. I basically expect Timberline to be closed every visit. Not a big deal, but if King Pine, Skyline or Superquad are down, it really screws your day.

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Agreed!

I've been coming to Sugarloaf every year for a week's vacation for the last 20 some years and it's rare not have some of the major lifts on wind holds during the spce of 8-9 days when I'm there. Yeah, Timberline, I don't care all that much unless the snow fields are in play. As to the tree spacing on Burnt and Brackett, I like it. Not too fond of tight trees.

I think that we out here in the east got sort used to is the idea that what passes for glades at some resorts is just skiing in a forest. Like Kinsman glade at Cannon. When that kind of terrain gets skied out, it's just bumps with trees and stuff sticking out of the snow. Not my cup of tea.
 

Bumpsis

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Oh, nice pictures, by the way. On that note, a question: How does one post pictures so they come out not sideways? I know that when posted from the phone app it comes out OK. Any other way?
 

Zand

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Oh, nice pictures, by the way. On that note, a question: How does one post pictures so they come out not sideways? I know that when posted from the phone app it comes out OK. Any other way?

I had to resize them myself before uploading them. Mine were coming out sideways also at first.
 
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