Thanks to treacherous roads and unplanned lane closures, it all took 10 hours round-trip, my car getting paralyzed on the mountain access road, a good 45 minutes to dig out at the end of the day, and quite possibly the need for a new transmission.
All worth it.
There were moments during what turned out to be yesterday's blockbuster powder day at Magic Mountain when it was easy to survey the surroundings and honestly ask what otherworldly environment you had somehow managed to enter. Pillows of snow piled high at the Londonderry, Vt. ski area, where skiers and boarders delighted in the two-feet-plus that fell atop the summit, un-groomed and deeper than many East Coast skiers can recall having enjoyed in quite some time. Waist-deep in some untracked areas, the snow was consistently up to your knees most everywhere else, with the continually-falling snow adding an inch or two more each hour.
Those who were there (oh, let's go high and say, there were 50) won't soon forget it. Online chatter already has folks chalking it up as one of the top ten days ever, and the best some have ever skied on the East Coast. It's difficult to argue.
This wasn't powder like the famed Valentine's Day storm dumped on New England three years ago. There was a tinge of moisture which made the drifts a bit heavy, so if you entered some untracked on a traverse, odds were you screeched to a pretty quick halt. My goggles were rendered useless around the fifth run, preferring to squint rather than being forced to wipe the moisture off one more time.
On my first run of the day, down Black Magic, I was instantly humbled, acutely unfamiliar with how to deal with that much snow. On a day made for Gotamas, I was forced to adjust to the depth with my AC3's, building up speed with the possible occurrence of one my skis getting stuck in the snow, throttling me to the surface. But as the day progresses, you learn to ski in a different, all-too-foreign fashion for New Englanders.
By the time I hit Goniff Glade for my last two runs of the day, my legs were shaking with every leaping turn. This was easily the deepest snow I had ever experienced in the East, and to think this may have been just the beginning, with snow - and alas, rain - in the forecast for Vermont over the next few days.
Magic's financial concerns have been well-documented. However, one patron in the lot afterward was fairly critical of the mountain for not making more effort to become a destination resort, thus creating jobs and money for Londonderry. "This is what this town needs," he said. "They don't even make any snow."
On a day like yesterday, they obviously didn't have to. It was also a day when they catered to their most ardent crowd. A place perfect for a powder day, thanks to some sweet terrain and small crowds, Magic was inhabited by the hardiest skiers, not one of them complaining that there was "too much snow," that all-too-familiar complaint that other resort personnel are forced to hear from time-to-time after a big snowstorm.
Now, back in the real world, anyone know anything about transmissions?
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.