Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Mad River Glen and Pico Mt., VT: 3/17 & 3/18/2017
A Friday school holiday (Superintendent's Day) plus discounted lift tickets (half price at MRG and pre-season, pre-buy tickets for Pico) provided the perfect opportunity for the kids to add a couple new stickers to their helmets. And a storm named Stella didn't hurt either.
We were supposed to do this exact trip 2 weeks ago for Daniel's birthday, but marginal conditions convinced us to wait for a later date. That gamble paid off with more than 3 feet of new snow. I couldn't have asked for a better day for the kids' first-ever visit to Mad River. The snow report Friday morning described conditions as a "fluffy powder paradise." Fluff: check. Powder: check. Paradise: check.
More than enough has been written about Mad River's legendary terrain, natural snow, minimal grooming, lack of snowmaking, iconic single chair, yada yada yada. No need to repeat it all here. I waited to bring the kids here until they were old enough to really appreciate the experience and it all paid off: plenty of powder, but still enough ice, stumps, bumps and rocks for true east coast guts, grit and glory to come shining through. That's what Mad River Glen is all about.
We probably could have squeezed in another run, but our legs were toast at 3:50 so we capped off the day with some Saint Patty's Day celebration on the deck. We'll definitely be skiing here more.
Saturday at Pico was the perfect complement to Mad River. Stellar packed powder conditions, great terrain and uncrowded, it's another mountain that we'll definitely be returning to. We loved the summit trails and especially the terrain off the Outpost chair, open for the first time in 2 years thanks to Stella.
Best of all was meeting up in the afternoon with friends who have been season passholders at Pico for several years. We loved the variety of terrain and the cool family/local vibe. We skied till well past last chair, and then hung out in the lodge for at least another hour before heading home. Add another mountain to the "home" list.
Despite Stella, there's no doubt we're in the final weeks of the 2016-17 ski season. It's been an up and down season for sure, but prime mid-winter conditions this weekend erased the disappointment of late February's melt-down and early March's re-freeze. What looked like an early end to the season just a week or so ago now looks like prime spring skiing into April.