Pros: great terrain, old school skiing, no crowds
Cons: have to leave at some point
I can't say enough about Magic. I spend almost every weekend year round there. Skiing as much as humanly possible in the winter and volunteering my time and skills in the summer... It just feels like home. I've gotten to know the hill itself, the people and the skiing and let me tell you- the more you learn the more you want to be there. I am there most weekends skiing so if you're headed there you should certainly try to look me up so I can try to make sure you find what you're looking for.
Wow, where to start?
The Hill itself in the most basic terms can be divided into two sides- the East and West, with Redline (the liftline run) dividing the mountain in two. East side has classic curvy groomers like Lower Magic Carpet and cool short shots like Vertigo with lots of room to play but still has a few steep gems such as Goniff's Glade and Greenline. There are also a myriad of intermediate gladed and tree skiing options as well for the budding off piste skier or the advanced and expert skiers and riders that want to relax and just let go. The West side is the steep side. Trails like Black Magic, Magician and Sorcerer and more have been plastering smiles across the faces of adrenaline junkies for decades and they continue to impress. Not too many other places with 40 degree pitches around, y'know? Also it is home to such tree skiing areas as The Hallows. Wizard is the switchback that covers the whole west side, and it is groomed. To work on that bump form, feel some speed or just push yourself, the west side is where you want to go.
The snow at Magic is as natural as it can be. That is, it is intended to be a natural-snow base mountain that only uses snowmaking when it has to or to lay down a base to build on. The difference between natural and manmade snow is like night and day. Also it sees lower traffic than other area mountains so that helps to preserve the snowpack along with the direction it faces (northwest), which helps keep it's snow protected from the sun. To draw a comparison, it's kind of like a smaller version of Mad River Glen but with less snow and less people- lots of raw terrain that invites you to feel like you're exploring. Such a great place to push you abilities and get out of the crowds to actually feel like you're on a mountain in Vermont and not skiing in a crowd in a city with pitch.
The infrastructure is old but charming. The lifts are slow but now reliable again- the red chair has never gone on wind hold while I've been skiing there as it is nestled below the treetops (a storm day pow skiers dream!). There is no village just the cafeteria, and there's one ski store- Vermont Snow Wizards. Just awesome skiing, no frills. The Vibe at Magic? It's where high fives are born. The general good nature and high spirits of virtually everyone at Magic really gets into you and almost forces you to have a good time. There are so many people willing to help you out of your powder bombhole, show you around, buy you a beer and tell you something cool about the place really just makes people feel welcome and... well... Like they are at ease, with no pressure or attitudes to put up with. It's the best of what Vermont is and should be in my opinion- rugged and minimalist and yet inviting and fun. It's got soul like no other place I've ever been and is called "Cheers on skis" for good reason
Improvements in 2010/2011 included snowmaking repairs and grooming upgrades, the repair of the black chair and many other equipment and maintainance advancements. 2011/2012 will take that even further with a fully operational black chair for busy days, a skier-sponsored repainting of the red chair, even more snowmaking (now on the West side to ensure Wizard's usability) and continued improvement of infastructure everywhere. Magic truly is coming back into it's own and it is great to see it flourishing in its element without selling out.
Another noteworthy issue is the advancement of the co-op program. We are extremely close to selling the first 300 shares, which would be HUGE in terms of money available to improve things. Please check out savemagicvermont.com to watch mountain progress as it happens and be sure to plan to visit Magic this ski season!