I just want to personally thank everyone that stayed home, off the slopes, this past weekend. Those of you who saw the warm, wet, gloomy forecast and decided to forego skiing - heeding the weathermen's warning of the possibility in the four letter word that rhymes with pain - you missed an amazing spring ski weekend in January.
We were dubious ourselves during our Friday drive to Sugarloaf. But turning Oh My Gosh corner, the fog lifted and there was Sugarloaf in her snowy white wonder. A great dinner at The Rack, and a chat with proprietor and snowboard star Seth Wescott sitting at his bar, reinforced we were in the right place at the right time.
Saturday we were dressed and ready for anything at first chair, along with a cluster of core Loafers gathered at the Super Quad at 8:15am. We skied between cloud layers, finding soft spring like snow as we scouted out sweet spots and pockets of clear sky from Skyline to Timberline and King Pine. Even Whiffletree offered up soft snow on fun trails like Buckboard and Springboard. A hearty lunch at The Bag sustained us for more exploring in the afternoon. Our last run was an adventure into Brackett Basin where the snow was pliable, as we danced our way down through the quiet trees all the way to the Burnt Mountain Trail back to our condo at Snowbrook on the lower mountain. The only other skiers we encountered were on Nordic skis, then we knew we were near our base.
Sunday was the big bonus, a beautiful sunrise over the Bigelows led to a sunny day with more spring skiing conditions on Sugarloaf's slopes. We skied everything from natural snow and soft bumps on Bubblecuffer and Gondi line to perfect cord on Scoot, then patrol opened the upper pitch of White Nitro and Powder Keg - and we were on top of that - boom! Our last run, before heading home for the Pats game, was a top to bottom Narrow Gauge (which can be slippery in mid-winter to say the least). The Gauge on Sunday was grip-able sweet sugar snow. See our Alpine Replay record of both days, we skied it all, and it was extra special to ski with our daughter - home on college break.
We all remarked that we can't recall seeing The Loaf with more snow or better conditions in mid January. Sugarloaf recorded 59 inches of snow in December, the snowiest since 1995, and it shows on the trails, in the woods and on the snowfields.
We hit the January jackpot, as every skier at Sugarloaf this weekend knows. It's a rare treat to ski in 35-degree sunshine and sunglasses in January. To top it off, we arrived home in time for the big game and the Pats big win over the Texans.
It's the same old skier's lesson, you never know till you go. And if you don't, you could miss out while others hit it. See you on the slopes.
Sugarloaf Photos by Greg Burke
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.