SMUGGLING SOME POWDER
First off, let me introduce myself. Virginia is the name, and being adventurous is the game. I know Liz (elevated locals) from volunteering together with the Chill Foundation, which helps underprivileged kids learn life skills through board sports, like snowboarding. An awesome organization that everyone should check out.
I've been boarding since the ripe age of 7 and the majority of my riding career started in Smugglers' Notch, Vermont. A great family resort located in Jeffersonville, VT, Smuggs is my home away from home and will always hold a special place in my heart.
This year's trip up to Smuggs consisted of myself, my partner-in-crime (PIC) Kiersten, and her sister Lisa. Small crew but big laughs and great times were to follow. We departed from my house in Sparta, NJ and drove 264 miles up to Jefferson, VT.
The day before we headed up there they got dumped with over a foot and half of snow...... The week was prepping to be one of the best of the season. We were stoked to get up there and explore. Smuggs is one of the best places I have been for woods riding, I was excited to see that they were 100% open while we were heading up there.
- 2,610 - Amount of feet in vertical rise, among the biggest in the East.
- 78 - Number of trails that are scattered among the 3 mountains with over 27 miles of terrain.
- 26 - Average number of feet of white stuff that dumps at Smuggs annually
- 750 - Over that amount of acres of glades throughout the 3 mountains. Smuggs allows you to ski in and out of all of the wooded area as long as it is within the boundaries.
Once we got settled in we couldn't wait for Sunday morning to come around to start shredding and see what the mountain had in store for us this year. The first couple days were pretty cold, but we were prepared so instead I marveled at how quickly my "first-run" tears could freeze in the corner of my eye.
During the week one of the things I wanted to do was make every run a different adventure and experience, so PIC and I were always dropping in and out of the woods through every run. Needless to say, after the first day our legs were en fuego but it was so awesome to be able to shred any trail or glade at anytime. No ropes or tape, just open trails ready for the beating.
- Smuggs host the only Triple Black Diamond on the East Coast, appropriately named the Black Hole. It is a 1600 foot long trail with a pitch of 65 yo 70 percent for the first 600 feet. Unfortunately, I like to live to see the next snowfall, so I don't try to "push" my limits there.
- Smugglers' Notch is appropriately name for the smuggling activity that has passed through these mountains and interconnected caves. Back in the prohibition era, Smugglers' Notch was used to store and transport alcohol from Canada down to the New England territory. Luckily now you can sit back and enjoy some of the local breweries' recent drafts at one of the many watering holes located throughout the resort. Personally I'm a fan of the Switchback Ale and Harpoon Cider.
- Smuggler's Notch was named #1 Overall Resort in the East for 2014 by Ski Magazine. Pretty impressive reward considering the other contenders like Okemo, Killington, and Stowe.
- Speaking of Stowe mountain, it is directly on the opposite side of Smuggs and shares the mountain range of Mt. Mansfield. Ironically though, during the winter it will take you about an hour to get there from Smuggs, due to the road closing in between the resorts during the harsh winter months.
If you want to be adventurous and head over to Stowe for a day, you can get there on snow if you desire. On the top of Sterling Mountain at Smuggs, you cross over the Sterling Pond at the summit and hike over to Stowe. When I was younger I remember having an instructor take us over there and we were able to ski there with your Smuggs lift ticket but I believe now you are only allowed a ride back up the lift. Not sure about this though, open to discussion or future adventure.
MY FAVORITE THINGS:
- Favorite Trail: Bermuda - Awesome glades that has to be a couple thousand feet long, but an awesome cruiser through the woods. I heard someone recently call it a playground in the woods and that's exactly what it is. Awesome twists and turns, but you have to be careful on warm sunny days, as the snow gets sticky and slow through there. Awesome to hit up on powder days.
- Favorite Run: While I have many, one of my favorite runs has to be from the top of Sterling, taking Upper Rumrunner (yes, an awesome trail name) to Highlander glades to Poacher Woods and finish off with a cruise down Treasure Run. Upper Rumrunner will provide you with an awesome view of Stowe and Mt. Mansfield, while leading you to Highlander Glades. With a steep pitch in the first 200 feet, Highlander Glades level off at the bottom with some gnarly paths and gliders through the trees. Towards the bottom, be sure to stay to the right on the high pitch and cross over the Crossover Trail (seriously it's called that!) and drop into Poacher's Woods. With a wooden bridge at the end, Poacher's Woods will help add to your already burning legs. Finish it off with a sweet cruise down Treasure Run leading you down to the Madonna Base Lodge.
- Favorite Lift: Madonna 1 - Offers a wide variety of scenery and temperature changes. While heading up the lift you can really scope out many of the lines and trails throughout the mountain while also dipping in and out of valleys with a variety of cold and windy snaps. Be sure to bundle up. Once you get to the top you can absorb the gorgeous scenery around you (blue bird days only). You can capture a glimpse of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire and a panoramic view of Northern Vermont.