…Are all my new favorite things.
Northern Vermont got blasted with snow last week and over the weekend. Mad River Glen and Jay were both 100% open so we packed the car and headed north. MRG had been mostly closed during the week, so we figured we’d hit MRG on Saturday for some fresh tracks, and then migrate up to Jay on Sunday to take advantage of the overnight snowfall they were expecting.
I’d never been to MRG before, but I’d heard the stories: they have a single (chair lift), don’t do much in the way of snow-making or grooming, and they still don’t allow boarders. Additionally, from a brief chat with a patroller, Rob discovered that ropes and closed signs at MRG are kind of like stop signs in Italy: more of a friendly suggestion. This all made for some exceptional tree skiing: scratchy in places, but mostly knee deep powder with deeper drifts. The woods there are both tight and steep. We spun around 8 laps in the woods before we ran out of gas around 2 pm.
Jay got nearly a foot over Saturday night, and fortunately for us (but not so fortunately for every behind us) we managed to get the first chair up. We were among the first people to hit the woods to far skiers left (Beaver Pond and Andre’s). Again, there were a few bares spots, but mostly it was knee deep powder, with thigh deep drifts no uncommon. It snowed all day, and we continued to find fresh tracks until our last run of the day, just past 3. Behold:
Of course, in order to best enjoy these epic January conditions, a sweet pair of powder boards are necessary. Thanks to Quiver Killers, I was able to pull my Dukes off of my BD Havocs and plop them onto my Head Monsters with relative ease the night before. At 193 cm long and 95 mm under foot, the Monsters are, well just that: monsters. When I first pulled them out of the box like two years I began question my judgment in buying such a pair of skis on the East Coast. And then they sat in the corner of my room while I decided what to do with them. The excellent snow conditions over the weekend prompted me to pull ’em out and take ’em for a spin. It took me a run or two to figure out how to handle them in the woods, however due to a variety of factors, I found them to handle nearly as well as a significantly smaller ski. The Monsters are exceptionally light, even for their size (in fact they are the lightest of all of my skis). Coupled with the snub-nosed form factor of the Dukes, the whole setup keeps a very low moment of inertia. I found that this really lets me throw them around quickly. The Dukes are mounted well aft of center which allows me to pivot on my heels quickly and easily, and the added length up front lets you keep an aggressive forward stance. All in all, they could hardly have worked out better. I can’t wait to take these beasts out west…
|The Vermont sunset on the way home from Jay.|