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A question for all you Stowe old-timers

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

While the actual year remains lost to time, it was a February school  vacation when we went traveled due west from Maine to Vermont for a week at Stowe. I was around ten, which would make the year circa 1966. I have vivid memories of sliding down the National - all the way. And recollections of the lifties throwing huge, bulky army surplus coats on top of us to protect us from the frigid air. And I also remember a trail, but no so much a trail as a frozen stream bed that lay along a double fall line and connected one major trail to another. It was little wider than a pair of skis. One did not ski it so much as skim across the waves of frozen blue water all the while reciting whatever protestations to the Almighty came to a young, terrorized mind. It was called Panic Alley.

I have tried to find it on the current Stowe map, but it appears to have been lost to time as well. I have vetted this memory with my cousin who was with me. He and I remember this "alley" connected either the National to the Upper Lift Line, or the Upper Lift Line to Nose Dive.

If any of you old timers remembers Panic Alley and can shed light on this trail, that was the subject of childhood nightmares, I would be much obliged.

D1


Edited by deliberate1 - 4/25/14 at 7:50pm
post #2 of 15

I'm going from memory as well. I'm about your age, and grew up skiing Stowe about three weekends a year. Our home hill was Cannon, but my parents had a lot of friends in Stowe, and history there. So we made it the home hill away from the home hill. That, and the annual trip to Sugarloaf, which we began in 1959.

 

So, as I recall, "Panic Alley" was a narrow, steep, icy drop off of the Lord, which then put you onto Upper National, and then you made a right footer {turn to skiers left} onto narrow "Hay Chute", which connected to upper Liftline, if you didn't want to ski down National to where it crossed Liftline.  

 

The current trail map shows Hay Chute, but does not show what I recall as Panic Alley…..though I'd guess it's there. I'm sure that Hay Chute has been all opened up. Has to have been to show on a trail map. I recall my dad telling me that the name came from the locals laying hay on it to make it "skiable" with lean snow. The last time I skied Stowe, I was there to watch the UVM carnival, but we went up a day early, and skied all day Thursday with local friends. I bet we skied on about four trails that appear on the map…and the rest of the day we were in the woods, on many "trails" that haven't changed much in 40 years….fun day. I'm actually hoping to be back for at least a couple of long weekends this coming winter. 

 

The "capes", with the cutout for your head, that we wore up the lifts were classics…..made at Johnson Woolen Mills in nearby Johnson. They're still in business, and you can still buy the pants that were issued to the Stowe lifties there. I vividly remember when it was cold enough to wear a double blanket. 

 

think that I'm pretty close on the trail info, but if my memory is fuzzy, hopefully somebody else will chime in. 

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

All good. Thanks for sharing those recollections. 

D1

post #4 of 15

So... I wasn't born yet, but I think you may be referring to the old Goat trail which was much shorter then started where Goat starts now, but goes over to Nosedive ending just below the turns. It's still there, very narrow, hardly wide enough to sideslip, and if you don't get there first, you probably will have to sideslip it. Local name for it now is Growler.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Muleski,

Look what I found. 1967-68 map.

I see no Panic Alley or Hay Chute. But I agree They were there.

D1

post #6 of 15

I like how on that trail map the Front Four are marked with a "circle" class which today would designate the beginner trails. :eek  When did the rating system change to its current standard?

 

Haychute wasn't on the map either until recently; it was just a little un-named connector trail until Stowe decided that they really had 116 (or whatever...) instead of 48 trails.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

So... I wasn't born yet, but I think you may be referring to the old Goat trail which was much shorter then started where Goat starts now, but goes over to Nosedive ending just below the turns. It's still there, very narrow, hardly wide enough to sideslip, and if you don't get there first, you probably will have to sideslip it. Local name for it now is Growler.

 

Growler?  I always thought that line was Pipeline.

post #7 of 15

Great comment about the number of "trails", "trail sections", etc. Pretty much miss the old days when it comes to that stuff, and it goes on everywhere! Of course at Stowe, if you included the well named woods network, you could probably hit 200, and lead the league. I was just talking to my older brother, and his comment re: Hay Chute then, versus now, is that the modern day version is in pretty much the same general area as the original, but that it's much shorter in length, and much wider. Probably a good name that they had on the shelf. Typical connector/crosscut of today. And his recollection of Panic Alley is the same. Narrow woods drop off Lord. Now that my days as a race parent are part of the junkyard of my past, and with both of our kids in CO, we need to spend some more time back at Stowe! 

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post
 

Great comment about the number of "trails", "trail sections", etc. Pretty much miss the old days when it comes to that stuff, and it goes on everywhere!

 

They renamed everything because it looked really lame on the morning TV reports when you'd see Killington has 200 trails open, Jay 95, etc. and the Stowe 48. Everyone thought we were half closed. Also makes trail reports more accurate. If the top of Starr is closed and it's only one trail, is it open or closed? People would get pissed when they skied up to the top of Starr and saw a closed sign even though the trail repost says it's open.

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
 

Growler?  I always thought that line was Pipeline.

 

Pipeline starts right under the Octagon.

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post
 

And his recollection of Panic Alley is the same. Narrow woods drop off Lord. 

Thanks for investigating. 

It is good to keep alive what, in my humble opinion, is one of the most evocative and accurate names names ever assigned to a trail.

No one has to ask "So, what is Panic Alley like?"

D1

 

PS: So for you Stowe new timers, does PA still exist as a spur from Lord to Upper National, or has it been forgotten or consumed?

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post
 

 

PS: So for you Stowe new timers, does PA still exist as a spur from Lord to Upper National, or has it been forgotten or consumed?

 

Haychute goes from Lord to Upper National and continues to Liftline. I kind of wonder if they have always been one and the same. I think @Clark Griswald would know.

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
 

I like how on that trail map the Front Four are marked with a "circle" class which today would designate the beginner trails. :eek  When did the rating system change to its current standard?

 

I want to say early-mid '70s. It was a process that took a few years, as I recall.

 

Edit: Definitely in place by 1980: http://www.newenglandskihistory.com/maps/viewmap.php?id=376

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post
 

Thanks for investigating. 

It is good to keep alive what, in my humble opinion, is one of the most evocative and accurate names names ever assigned to a trail.

No one has to ask "So, what is Panic Alley like?"

D1

 

PS: So for you Stowe new timers, does PA still exist as a spur from Lord to Upper National, or has it been forgotten or consumed?

 

There is a hidden trail (although it's marked now) that goes from Lord to Upper National.  It used to be a semi-glade...  just sort-of drops you out onto the Haychute right in line with Upper National.

 

That might be some remnant of Panic Alley, although I thought that glade / hidden trail was the original entrance to National.

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
 

 

There is a hidden trail (although it's marked now) that goes from Lord to Upper National.  It used to be a semi-glade...  just sort-of drops you out onto the Haychute right in line with Upper National.

 

That might be some remnant of Panic Alley, although I thought that glade / hidden trail was the original entrance to National.

My recollection is entering the National from a common artery (Lord?) with the entrance to Star just beyond (just as depicted above).

Oh, this just came back (48 years later). I remember seeing the sign for Star at the trail head. And nothing more. Like I was peering off the edge of a flat earth. 

And, again, my my memory is that PA was a connector, some distance down whatever trail was its source to another terminus.

D1

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Further investigation revealed the following from the Mt. Mansfield Ski Patrol site:

 

One of the runs I remember well is the time we were headed down Lord "Panic Alley" a/k/a Upper Lord these days. I was skiing behind Phil, we were going by the Haychute in deep eastern powder, it was terrific, all of a sudden down went "The Grinch", I had a camera. The photo is classified.

 

Muleski, this would confirm your recollection. Well done.

D1

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