Originally Posted by MarcusBrody
I have two days at Saddleback coming up soon. I've never been there (nor in Maine actually), so I was hoping that someone here who's skied it could tell me a little bit about the place. There were a few helpful posts that I found through the search, but the most helpful (from this year) essentially said that the place had changed dramatically recently so I'm not sure how much of the old stuff holds.
So, does anyone know:
1. What are some of the can't miss runs?
2. How challenging are the black/double black runs (possibly in comparison to some of the Vermont resorts as I'm familiar with them)? For some reason my brother, who's going with me, is dubious as to their difficulty.
3. Any tips for getting the most out of my time at the mountain?
Thanks a lot!
I ski Saddleback frequently. My favorite Maine area, by far. Barring warm / wet weather, you are in for a treat, because they've been getting dumped on the last five or six days. I was up there yesterday and it was pretty fabulous - by far the best conditions of the year. Don't get discouraged as you drive up; the snow is pretty much all above 2,000 feet, which means it doesn't look like much until you get up to the base.
Sugaree was on the money re: tactics. If you are there on a weekend, ride the Rangeley double before 10:00, from 12:00 - 12:30, and after 2:30. (Sugaree, I thought they were replacing this with a fixed grip, not a detachable.)
Can't miss runs:
Blue Devil - Swooping blue groomer, narrow and turny enough to have an old-fashioned surprise-around-every-corner feel, but wide enough to arc 'em up and let 'em run.
Parmachenee Belle - Bump run that's a blast and an ego booster because it's not too steep. Increasingly a rarity. (Most areas only tolerate bumps on steep terrain these days, or on the margin of what otherwise is a groomer. Not the same feel.) Like most of the best runs, this requires good natural snow. The photo below might be of this trail, not looking very bumpy yet because of all the new snow. If it's not Pamachenee, it could be.
Supervisor - Steeper version of Blue Devil
Golden Smelt - As a skier, you can't go to your grave having passed up an opportunity to ski a trail called Golden Smelt.
Casablana - This is their new expansive glade off the top. Fantastic. Recommend starting with entrance #3 and then easing toward the right as you descend. There is a LOT of tree skiing at Saddleback, not limited to this glade. Virtually all of it is in very tight spruce woods. The embedded clip below shows some of the least
steep / least tight trees, just to give you an idea. I count five trees in seven turns, even in this relatively open pitch. Remove your pole straps, go slowly, ski with a buddy, and keep 'em pointed downhill.
After the lovely terrain, the thing that distinguishes Saddleback is its old school atmosphere and lack of congestion on the trail. If you grew up skiing in the 60s and 70s, like MRG and Burke, and find areas like Killington and Sunday River too much like Manhattan, you will love Saddleback. On the other hand, if you need high speed lifts and a superpipe, you will be disappointed.Edited by qcanoe - 3/1/10 at 8:09pm