As many of our readers know, Mad River Glen has long been on my bucket list of places to ski, so for my 50th birthday, Phil said he’d do his best to make a trip possible.
As luck would have it, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and International Skiing History Association were having Snowsport History Week at Stowe, Vermont, a relative stone’s throw away. As the week’s events came closer, it seemed that the weather would not cooperate and that MRG would have to close before we would make it there. Alas, I thought I was going to miss my long-awaited journey to see if I could, indeed, ski it. But during our day with the SkiEssentials guys at Stowe, we heard that the storms that had hit (and were continuing to hit) the East Coast were making it possible for MRG to open for one last weekend!
As we pulled up to MRG I was not disappointed, nor was I surprised. It looked exactly like I thought it would: rustic, understated, and chill. Most of all, it was covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. After booting up, I made my way to the infamous single chair and took the most peaceful ride I’ve ever had. The trees along the lift line were covered with melting ice and snow that made them look like they were covered with sparkling Mardi Gras beads.
Phil came up behind me at the top and said, “Follow me,” so I did. My first turns at MRG were on Catamount Bowl, which was covered with 6 to 8 inches of heavy snow on top of refrozen East Coast bumps. This was the beginning of a warmup run that most certainly warmed me up. I continued to follow Phil on what I later found out was one of his favorite combinations at MRG: Catamount Bowl to Lynx to Beaver. Fortunately, Phil took me on a mellow run for my second run to cool down a bit and get geared back up for another Catamount-Lynx-Beaver lap to round out a fun adventure where we skied with a few MRG locals.
We finished skiing partly because the snow started to deteriorate and partly because the lift line was growing, and then savored the day with burgers and Bloody Marys on the deck while we watched the crowd and enjoyed the vibe.
Before we loaded the car and headed out, we stopped at the shop to get a souvenir to commemorate this 50th birthday/bucket list day. While looking at t-shirts, hats, and other such things, my eye was drawn to a set of rocks glasses, which I can happily say have already been put to good use.
I would like to thank MRG’s new general manager, Matt Linnard, for the professional courtesy. Matt and Phil go back to his days at Magic Mountain.