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Mad River Glen -- Sunday, 3/5/06

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
It was a tough decision on Saturday evening. It was already 7 pm and I hadn't left for my last-minute excursion to Vermont. I could drive all the way to Jay Peak and get minimal sleep, but ski 28"+ of fluff in the woods. Or get a couple extra hours of rest and go for the (only) 14" or so at Mad River Glen, with the promise of hitting the nastiest tree runs MRG has to offer with Alfonse and his buddies.

After some deliberation, I chose the latter. Though I'm generally quite risk averse and don't seek out danger, it was too tempting to find out about the secret terrain buried deep in Mad River's woods, the stuff many people talk about but few actually see.

I got to the mountain early, but there was no sign of Alfonse and his blue Pocket Rockets, which was actually a good thing, because I needed a warm-up run or two before I ventured forth into the trees. Only at Mad River Glen, by the way, is your warm-up run a black diamond bump run like Catamount. Though most of the snow had blown into the woods, there were many soft bumps to be found, and I could have easily spent the whole day skiing trails like that and still had an amazing time. But this was not a day for just bouncing around in the moguls.

After a second run down Antelope's beautiful, winding trail, I found Alfonse waiting in the liftline, along with two other Epic members, Buckethead and Alpinista, and another friend Colin (non-Epic, I'm pretty sure, since he didn't know the waist measurement of his skis...An Epic member may not necessarily be a good skier, but he always knows everything about his skis). Although they were farther ahead in line, they were kind enough to wait for me at the top. This must have required unbelievable forbearance on their part, when it was obvious they were itching to get after the goods in the woods.

As an aside, I had to resist, while waiting in line, the urge to make what I figured would be a bad joke, probably heard many times before, by yelling out "SINGLE!"

The tree runs themselves definitely lived up to the hype. I don't recall the name of the first one we did, but as it was my first time ever skiing in the woods, it was definitely an eye-opener. The turns were tight and there were obstacles a-plenty. I've seen, over on TGR, some pictures of Jay's glades, and they look pretty open compared to the runs I was on.

The snow was good on the first run, but it was on the other side of the lift where most of the powder had been deposited by the high winds the day before. And that's where we did our next two runs.

The second run, Octopussy, was mind-bogglingly challenging. I basically side-slipped and snowplowed my way down the thing. It's impossible to describe how hard it was. All I can say is that at one point I was in the woods parallel to Paradise, which is known for being one of the most difficult trails anywhere, and it looked like a wide-open bunny slope compared to what I was dealing with.

I have to give credit to Alfonse and the others, though. They really attacked the trail. Alfonse is a great tree skier and was able to link numerous turns on even the most technical terrain. Alpinista was good, too, though I didn't see much of him, since he always seemed to take off first while I inevitably brought up the rear. Buckethead, who told me he only started skiing trees last year, also looked smooth and poised...with the one exception of the six-foot-or-so drop-off that he went over on his back, head first. I, on the other hand, probably set the record for Most Tentative Huck Ever, when, forced to jump off a frozen waterfall, opted to sidestep slowly off of it into the safety of the deep stuff at the bottom. Still, I felt a sense of accomplishment just making it down in one piece.

My last tree run, S**thouse, was slightly easier and my favorite of the day. I did, however, discover about halfway down that straddling a tree can, in times of need, be an effective means of stopping.

I ended the day with a couple of bump runs with Buckethead. He's doing the Vertical Challenge at MRG this Friday and definitely has the stamina for it. I was bitching and moaning the whole way down Chute about how tired I was, while he glided through the bumps with little effort. Many of you have probably read the thread wherein I describe my inability to ski all day so are not surprised about my flagging energy. But 8:30 to 3:15 isn't too shabby. (It helps, I discovered, to ski on weekends when there are actually liftlines, something I hadn't seen since the last time I skied on a weekend fifteen years ago).

As I left the mountain, I was thinking that I probably wouldn't try such difficult tree runs again. I'm not a daredevil, and I have no desire to cripple myself for the sake of making a few adrenaline-pumping turns in the woods. The next day, however, I was already plotting my return to the wilds of MRG. What can I say, the woods there are addictive. I think, with a tad more confidence, I'll be zipping through the trees just like Alfonse.

Next time you're at MRG after a snowstorm, I definitely recommend getting Alfonse to show you the mountain's hidden gems. Just remember to wear your Depends.

Thanks Alfonse, Alpinista, and Buckethead for a great day!
post #2 of 26
Great report!

Let me start of by saying that was the kind of day that makes me love skiing. It was beautiful out, rime covered trees with bluebird skies. Views of Mansfield, Camels hump and Whiteface. Adventure and exploration, trees trees and more trees, and always a new line to try. Sport, how many turns can I link before my legs go! Finally Comradery, a bunch of friends all enjoying it togethor. Getting to the bottom and guffawing about what we had just skied. It was just a wonderful vibe. Now for your report

"After a second run down Antelope's beautiful, winding trail, I found Alfonse waiting in the liftline, along with two other Epic members, Buckethead and Alpinista, and another friend Colin (non-Epic, I'm pretty sure, since he didn't know the waist measurement of his skis...An Epic member may not necessarily be a good skier, but he always knows everything about his skis). Although they were farther ahead in line, they were kind enough to wait for me at the top. This must have required unbelievable forbearance on their part, when it was obvious they were itching to get after the goods in the woods."

It actually worked out that we waited. Alpinista went to make a phone call and he dropped his phone in the snow. I saw it and did not know whos it was so I gave it to the liftie. If I was not waiting his phone may have gone bye bye. Part of skiing with friends involves waiting and I think the payoff is much bigger than the small inconveniance.

"As an aside, I had to resist, while waiting in line, the urge to make what I figured would be a bad joke, probably heard many times before, by yelling out "SINGLE!":

I would have laughed. The funny thing in the line was when I cracked on your cream colored pants with a Don Johnson comment and you came back with, "Ya I dont wear any socks either" Then Bucket goes, "Really!?!?" That cracked me up good stuff

"The tree runs themselves definitely lived up to the hype. I don't recall the name of the first one we did, but as it was my first time ever skiing in the woods, it was definitely an eye-opener. The turns were tight and there were obstacles a-plenty. I've seen, over on TGR, some pictures of Jay's glades, and they look pretty open compared to the runs I was on."

Jays tree runs generally are more open, you can see the next few turns which makes things much easier. There are exceptions but most of their runs are on the map. Most of the stuff we skied was not on the map.

"The snow was good on the first run, but it was on the other side of the lift where most of the powder had been deposited by the high winds the day before. And that's where we did our next two runs."

I was suprised how bad the snow was on that side since all season its been better on that side but I guess as they say its all in the way the wind blows

"The second run, Octopussy, was mind-bogglingly challenging. I basically side-slipped and snowplowed my way down the thing. It's impossible to describe how hard it was. All I can say is that at one point I was in the woods parallel to Paradise, which is known for being one of the most difficult trails anywhere, and it looked like a wide-open bunny slope compared to what I was dealing with."

Thats serious terrain and you are a better man for having skied it. We rarely ski that and were shocked to see two other people in there. In terrain like that technique often goes out the window.

"I have to give credit to Alfonse and the others, though. They really attacked the trail. Alfonse is a great tree skier and was able to link numerous turns on even the most technical terrain. Alpinista was good, too, though I didn't see much of him, since he always seemed to take off first while I inevitably brought up the rear. Buckethead, who told me he only started skiing trees last year, also looked smooth and poised...with the one exception of the six-foot-or-so drop-off that he went over on his back, head first. I, on the other hand, probably set the record for Most Tentative Huck Ever, when, forced to jump off a frozen waterfall, opted to sidestep slowly off of it into the safety of the deep stuff at the bottom. Still, I felt a sense of accomplishment just making it down in one piece."

Your huck was fine. As for tree skiing more on this below.

"My last tree run, S**thouse, was slightly easier and my favorite of the day. I did, however, discover about halfway down that straddling a tree can, in times of need, be an effective means of stopping."

Whatever works haha. When we skied that later on we were following each others lines and I was leading and I went off the beaten path coming through some brush there was a huge hole below me. I fell in and Alpinista came right behind and basically landed on top of me:

"I ended the day with a couple of bump runs with Buckethead. He's doing the Vertical Challenge at MRG this Friday and definitely has the stamina for it. I was bitching and moaning the whole way down Chute about how tired I was, while he glided through the bumps with little effort. Many of you have probably read the thread wherein I describe my inability to ski all day so are not surprised about my flagging energy. But 8:30 to 3:15 isn't too shabby. (It helps, I discovered, to ski on weekends when there are actually liftlines, something I hadn't seen since the last time I skied on a weekend fifteen years ago)."

Bucket is a machine and spends more time driving to ski areas than most people spend skiing, then after that driving he skis till 4:45:

"As I left the mountain, I was thinking that I probably wouldn't try such difficult tree runs again. I'm not a daredevil, and I have no desire to cripple myself for the sake of making a few adrenaline-pumping turns in the woods. The next day, however, I was already plotting my return to the wilds of MRG. What can I say, the woods there are addictive. I think, with a tad more confidence, I'll be zipping through the trees just like Alfonse."

We really only started doing that stuff at the beginning of last year. We did $hithouse on our first day of last year and on my longer stiffer Rossi Bandit XX's I struggled and begged for mercy. But after doing it more and more I improved and most of it is in your head. I can tell you my technique has not changed much I have been skiing for a long time. You are right about confidence, its everything in the woods. You have the ability and after Octopussies I saw you linking plenty of turns because after such difficult terrain you felt more comfortable and confident in there. Those lines have been skied many times and you have to trust that and just keep turning. A shorter fatter ski would also help. Alpinistas skis are 168 and Bucket 165. I am on 175's but PR's ski short. The m777's would be perfect. You want to do it again because linking turns in there is a wonderful feeling and you know you can do it



Thanks Alfonse, Alpinista, and Buckethead for a great day![/quote]

No thank you!

For the record I have been at TGR lots recently and I mock epic sometimes but everyone I have skied with from here I have had lots of fun with
post #3 of 26
Sounds like you all had a blast!

Moguljunkie, keeping up with Alfonse et al. is quite the challenge and workout, isn't it? But too much fun to pass up, too! If he tells you that you're on your way to being a good tree skier, believe him! By the way, my first foray into trees with friends sounds similar to yours. But somehow, it didn't scare me off either. Good for you!

Believe it or not, I was sick as a dog this weekend and missed the entire show. I am so bummed. I really couldn't even drag myself farther than the couch.

I hope more powder days are coming soon!

Thatsagirl
post #4 of 26
I cannot wait to hit up MRG, hopefully St Pattys weekend. Last weekend I did relish the 28" at Jay and it was absolutley incredible. Thanks for the report, it may get me off my ass and out to MRG sooner rather than later.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Landers
Last weekend I did relish the 28" at Jay and it was absolutley incredible.
Looks like you couldn't go wrong at either place. I probably won't be able to get up to Jay till next year. I had worried about going up there and skiing trees alone. But I noticed once, while at MRG, some guy just popped into the trees along with our group, and I think most of us just thought he was with us. That's what I'll do next time if I'm by myself.
post #6 of 26
I like this report -- reminds me of the first time I skied MRG in the early 90s. I was totally in over my head, but it was awesome. I would love to get back there with shorter fatter skis and slightly more skill now. Helmet would be an improvement too.
post #7 of 26
They had like Demo tents out that day and the odd thing was they had a bunch of snowboards there. Colin kept going on about strapping one to his feet and wandering around on it to see peoples reactions

Alfonse
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfonse
They had like Demo tents out that day and the odd thing was they had a bunch of snowboards there. Colin kept going on about strapping one to his feet and wandering around on it to see peoples reactions

Alfonse


Where do you find your friends? They are all so hilarious!

Thatsagirl
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfonse
The m777's would be perfect.
I think you're right. I'll have to sell a few possessions, though, to raise the cash I'll need to buy them. I'll probably start with the Don Johnson ski pants. Apparently, the world isn't ready for my attempt to bring a Miami sensibility to the ski slopes.
post #10 of 26
MRG this morning looked more like April 8 than March 8... with lots of growing bare spots and other goodies. If this rain/thaw materializes, the Vertical Challenge is going to be, well, challenging.
post #11 of 26

late chiming in re: MRG 5march06

yes, nice post moguljunkie!
i actually wrote a long post/reply of my own late that tuesday nite, hit submit and -poof- it was gone! it's taken me a couple of weeks to try again...

many thanks for the kind words (and the encouragement as i prepared to do my first vertical challenge - alas, it wouldn't happen this year, but i intend to be readier yet next year), but it must be said that you ripped those bumps on chute and canyon, whether you were feeling tired or not...and without the benefit of having staked out your lines on those trails for the previous 3 weekends as i had. you looked more comfortable that you felt in the woods too, so i hope you join us again some time.

...it should also be said that after you, alphonse, alpinista and colin left, i started realizing just how tired i was - after the slow burn of hours skiing though the woods, followed by the exuberance of skiing a couple of fast runs outside the woods. i did stay out there till the requisite 4:25, but my last few runs were marked by sloppy+incomplete turns. i usually don't start so early...and there was no longer a pack to feed off of...

glad you joined us on what was one of my favorite days out of the season...

and yes alphonse, moguljunkie's quick comeback to your miami vice ski pants quip (mj : "...i'm not wearing socks either") was hilarious. i enjoy deadpanning people, but you got me. (bh: "...duh, really??")

moguljunkie: hope all's going well with the book in progress and the house reno...and hope you've gotten some nice days out in spite of the strange turns of the past weeks.

i did get in a nice springlike day at k-mart the weekend before last (just before this last batch of r*in...), spent the whole day on devil's fiddle under blue skies and wearing a single layer...

hopefully the weather bring more of that through april...
will give a holler if i zero in on some good days to be out.
post #12 of 26
Alfonse and I have been at MRG the same days for the past 4 days I have been there...we have never caught up to each other...maybe next year .
post #13 of 26
Great post...picked an awesome place as your introduction to tree skiing

Reminds me of a movie.......Platoon

Charlie Sheen is smoking his first joint and his seargant (William Defoe) looks at him and says "the worn has definitelty turned on you"
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Buckethead, definitely keep me posted on any Killington plans. I've got visions of springtime Superstar bumps dancing in my head. The kitchen renovation planning is nearly complete, so I'm sure I'll be able to get away on short notice.

I'll absolutely be back at Mad River next year. Even though the day I was there wasn't, I'm sure, epic by local standards, it was a blast, especially sharing it with great companions who helped me push my boundaries a lot, something every skier needs to do now and then.

I was sorry to hear the Vertical Challenge was cancelled. I know you were looking forward to it. Hard to believe the slope deteriorated so much in less than a week. I'm sure you'll do great next year, but it's got to be a tough event to practice for in the off-season. I suggest, once or twice a week, taking a large mallet and whacking your quads with it for a good six or seven hours straight. In addition to being a great ski workout, it also works well as a means of toughening up your legs if you're planning to have sex with a donkey. Not that I'd know that from personal experience or anything.


PS Thanks again for those 2-for-1 tix. I hope to use them this week.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by moguljunkie
Buckethead, definitely keep me posted on any Killington plans. I've got visions of springtime Superstar bumps dancing in my head. The kitchen renovation planning is nearly complete, so I'm sure I'll be able to get away on short notice.
I have the weekend of 4/8 penciled in for a trip to Kton, I will post in the meeting section once we get closer.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Glad to hear your ski season isn't officially over after all. It would be great to get a bunch of Bears out on the slopes for some spring skiing with soft bumps and cold beers. You should give your trip a formal name, like Phil's Springtime Bump Bash, to drum up a lot of interest. If the weather's good, it couid be a classic weekend.
post #17 of 26
Who knows maybe I will even come up to Kmart then: But looks like stowe for this weekend.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by moguljunkie
Glad to hear your ski season isn't officially over after all. It would be great to get a bunch of Bears out on the slopes for some spring skiing with soft bumps and cold beers. You should give your trip a formal name, like Phil's Springtime Bump Bash, to drum up a lot of interest. If the weather's good, it couid be a classic weekend.
Will do.. I will put it over in the "meeting" section and on the calender.


BTW, this thread will be moved over to "trip reports".
post #19 of 26
Jeez, Phil's taking over already, moving threads around. Power trip! Power trip!

Thatsagirl
post #20 of 26
Jeez, that's my thought too. Power trip... At least he's not letting Lola's injury slow him down. That's our Phil...Lola has to be a saint.
post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
There's a trip reports thread? That's the problem with just using the "new posts" feature; you don't notice when they spruce up the joint with new features. Unless it's not new, and I'm just stupid, which is not beyond the realm of possibility.
post #22 of 26
Oh, look how fast he moved this thread! Phil, you are so on the ball...of your feet...that's why you ski so darn well...

Thatsagirl
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by moguljunkie
There's a trip reports thread? That's the problem with just using the "new posts" feature; you don't notice when they spruce up the joint with new features. Unless it's not new, and I'm just stupid, which is not beyond the realm of possibility.
LOL, don't feel bad, niether did I until one of my threads was moved there.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese
LOL, don't feel bad, niether did I until one of my threads was moved there.
Did you move your own thread there or was that one of the other power-hungry mods? And to think I always thought you were POWDER hungry. Silly me!

Thatsagirl
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatsagirl
Did you move your own thread there or was that one of the other power-hungry mods? And to think I always thought you were POWDER hungry. Silly me!

Thatsagirl
It was one of THOSE power hungry Mods.
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Buckethead, definitely keep me posted on any Killington plans. I've got visions of springtime Superstar bumps dancing in my head. The kitchen renovation planning is nearly complete, so I'm sure I'll be able to get away on short notice.
definitely! as you read in alfonse's post:
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=39555
we played in some silly-soft bumps at stowe. i'm hoping for a good long spring for us all - as we graciously put up with such a perplexing winter! glad things are getting squared away on the homefront...i'll give a shout as i'm closing in on perfect days:

Quote:
I'll absolutely be back at Mad River next year. Even though the day I was there wasn't, I'm sure, epic by local standards, it was a blast, especially sharing it with great companions who helped me push my boundaries a lot, something every skier needs to do now and then.
Glad to hear it. If it wasn't epic, it was certainly close. To have that much snow on such a sunny+comfortable day is hard to beat. Yea, it was a great bunch all around. I likewise pushed my envelope in those woods

Quote:
I was sorry to hear the Vertical Challenge was cancelled. I know you were looking forward to it. Hard to believe the slope deteriorated so much in less than a week. I'm sure you'll do great next year, but it's got to be a tough event to practice for in the off-season. I suggest, once or twice a week, taking a large mallet and whacking your quads with it for a good six or seven hours straight. In addition to being a great ski workout, it also works well as a means of toughening up your legs if you're planning to have sex with a donkey. Not that I'd know that from personal experience or anything.
Jeez, i was thinking about running, plyometrics, hill work on the bike...but i'm intrigued about the whole mallet + donkey thing. please, go on

Quote:
PS Thanks again for those 2-for-1 tix. I hope to use them this week.
Glad to share 'em. I actually never made it up to whiteface to use mine...so the remainder will go unused

Well, i skiied MAD on sunday. the bumps never softened, but i'd gotten nicely warmed up at stowe on saturday, and found the adjustment surprisingly easy.. though it required constant "grunt work" to hold the line, and i could feel energy drain from my legs at every turn. it was a blast, though i did decide to save some for the drive home and called it a day at 3:30!

there was one line of soft bumps rockefellers (bottom of the hill...)
just above them on beaver, ski patrol had left some shovels, and a sign reading "IF YOU WANT MAD RIVER TO STAY OPEN FEEL FREE TO LEND A HAND/SHOVEL" ..and as you would expect, there were many of us out in force doing just that. much as folks who live on unplowed roads throw snow into the road to be flattened by passing cars, some would shovel, and others would sidestep to try to pin the stuff down so it could set up with the evening's freeze. it was touching, and in a place where most skiers must ride up alone, it was a good opportunity for folks to chat and share in the sense of community makes the place so wonderful+unique.

With any luck, the lower mountain cover will hold and I'll be back there this thursday for some soft spring bumps+woods up top...and a little trail maintenance duty below.
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