Mad River Glen: Skied It Because Could
This is the last one of these for a while probably.
Mad River Glen kind of takes Smuggler’s Notch’s approach of “mostly locals” and pushes it a little further into something akin to “locals only”. It’s a little odd showing up at a ski resort where everyone else seems to know each other because they’re all part of the collective and you’re not. I spent most of the day feeling like I was doing it wrong. Whatever it was.
They only have four lifts, two of which seem mostly superfluous. The lift going up the big mountain is a single chair (see first photo above). They take significant pride in that anachronism. The resort also keeps the mountain “natural”, which was interesting. Good-interesting. Very little grooming or snow-making, the runs seem to fit the mountain (whatever the means), a couple of creeks running down the hill, and a waterfall adjoining one of the routes down. The natural situation also results in some more challenging terrain than you usually see. A lot of black diamonds, none of which get cat-tracked. At least a couple of the green circle trails had significant mogul fields on them.
All-in-all, it’s a compelling place. Not a lot of people and a very different attitude. I got the impression that the customers there sometimes take turns running the lifts. (It is, seriously, owned and operated by a collective.) I’d like to go back some time if only to see what it’s like when the conditions are better (the night before it had rained for several hours, then froze, then early in the morning it got a couple inches of new snow, then it warmed up into the 30s during the day resulting in a rough mixture of ice and slush with occasional puddles). There was a lot of good-looking terrain here that just needed some snow.
And I only paid $30 for the lift ticket (via Liftopia). So there was that.
(Their tag line is “Ski It If You Can”, which is a pretty good tag line I think although it’s not like they don’t have any beginner or intermediate terrain.)