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CASTLEROCK ‘N’ ROLL DAWN PATROL AT THE MOUNTAIN Plus: Beginner Lesson Breakthrough Local Wine Experts Amazing Desserts



BLUEBERRY LAKE SUMMER TENNIS HOLIDAY Plus: Beginner Lesson Breakthrough Local Wine Experts Amazing Desserts







A l pi n e Options

ye ar s

1995 – 2015

PhotograPher: Blake Jorgenson


Celebrating our 20th Anniversary of providing high quality equipment and expertise in the Mad River Valley.

802-583-WAXX (9299) Ski Rentals & Demos Ski/Board Tuning & Repair Custom Boot Fitting Children’s Seasonal Equipment Leasing Equipment & Accessories Conveniently located next to Rice Brook Residences in Sugarbush Village, Warren, VT.


27 The ’Rock Is a Hard Place Welcome to one of the most eccentric (but beloved) trail networks in the world of skiing and snowboarding. BY PETER OLIVER Plus: Lessons for advanced skiers and snowboarders.

33 The Mountain Wakes Up Skinning up and skiing down as the sun rises— and the mountain crew prepares for the day. BY CANDICE WHITE Plus: After the storm ...

41 Never Too Late

A skier gets back on the slopes after a two-decade break, and takes her first lesson ever. BY AMY STACKHOUSE Plus: Lessons for beginners.

45 (Blueberry) Lake of Dreams One man’s dream for his children becomes a reality for an entire community. BY PETER OLIVER

51 Courting Success

Sugarbush skier Alix Klein ripping it up on Castlerock’s Lift Line.

Two days of tennis instruction in one beautiful Valley equals redemption on the court. BY KATIE BACON Plus: Tennis in the Valley: Then and now.





Winthrop Smith Jr.


Candice White



ART DIRECTOR Audrey Huffman




14 Inside Lines 6 One on one with Win Smith, owner and president of Sugarbush Resort.



A plane, a ski lift, and a zip line were all part of the fun when Beth Pollock and Chauncey Griffith tied the knot at Sugarbush. Plus: Pre-nuptivities.

8 Style 38 Just desserts. Timeline 54 A quick history of Sugarbush. Sugar-Kids 56 Go mad with our Mad (River) Libs, a word search, a scrambler, and some awesome jokes.


61 Dining Directory

Training Ground 22 SHAPE UP!

Sugarbush Close-Up 68 Facts and figures about the

Profiles of six Sugarbushers.

Five personal training sessions at SHaRC get the author off the couch and into shape. Plus: Beyond the training gym.


John Bleh Chris Enman Laura Friedland Jack Garvin Peter Oliver Mary Simmons

John Atkinson

In the Valley, knowledge of wine runs deep. Plus: Wine recommendations from local experts.




Arts & Culture 8 FOR THE LOVE OF WINE

Everyone knows about the Valley’s main attractions. Here, we lift the curtain on some lesser-known favorites.

Calli Willette

65 Lodging Directory

mountain and the latest developments there.

72 Events Calendar 2015–16 73 Closing Shot Eugene Krylov Alexandra Morse Michael Riddell Hans Jonathan von Briesen Jeb Wallace-Brodeur


1840 Sugarbush Access Road Warren, VT 05674 800.53.SUGAR


WINTER: Sugarbush season passholder Darian Boyle in Slide Brook. Photographer: John Atkinson SUMMER: A summer day at Blueberry Lake. Photographer: John Atkinson





(802) 862-2714




1184 Williston Road, South Burlington, VT.

/AlpineShopVT 2015/16 5

At Sugarbush,



we have a motto we take very seriously: Be Better Here.

Each year, we work hard to improve what we do so that you, our guests, will have a better experience. Annually, we make visible and quantifiable investments—in new lifts, low-energy snowmaking equipment, new groomers, new rental equipment, and lodge construction and improvements—so that your experience gets better. Another way we strive to be better is to continually work to strengthen the bonds of our community. I truly believe that we have a special community here in the Mad River Valley— this is what attracted my family here years ago. Many things go into creating a vibrant and lasting community, but it is the shared values of a community that hold it together.

Win and Lili at the Big Kicker at American Flatbread’s Lareau Farm.

Some of the values I see that hold this community together include a strong sense of individualism; a commitment to exercise freedom of expression (just go watch the Warren Parade!); a willingness to help each other in times of need (I think most recently of Tropical Storm Irene); and a true appreciation for the natural environment. That natural environment provides so many recreational opportunities for us to pursue, from hiking and cycling to fishing and swimming to skiing and snowboarding. But as with many things in life, there are risks comingled with the rewards of pursuing our recreational passions. This year at the resort, we will be talking a lot about safety, and focusing on the role that each and every one of us plays in staying safe at work and at play. Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Up to this point, we have put a great deal of effort into making sure our employees perform their jobs safely. You might be impressed by how much thought our housekeeping staff puts into the cleaning supplies they use, or the training that every on-snow staff member goes through. We are equally concerned about the safety of our guests, and I am asking that all of you take part as we place more emphasis on this topic. We have resources to guide all levels of skiers and riders. We publish a Winter Trail Use Policy that includes the National Ski Areas Association’s Skier’s Responsibility Code, a list of seven points that every skier or rider should know and follow. Our policy also addresses skiing in control, skiing on closed terrain, uphill travel, and skiing in the woods. In addition to policy, we have staff who support us in recreating safely. We deploy a trained group of professional ski patrollers who are on the mountain to assess when to safely open and close trails, and to assist anyone who is injured. We have ambassadors stationed around the mountain to help guests decide on appropriate routes down; these ambassadors also run free “Meet the Mountain” tours for anyone unfamiliar with the terrain. We are also very fortunate to have a clinic staffed with orthopedic physicians from the University of Vermont Medical Center who have been serving Sugarbush for the past several decades. Safety resources are not meant to take the fun out of skiing or riding. To the contrary, they are there to help all of us enjoy ourselves. I look forward to another great, safe year at Sugarbush, with you, your friends, and family. Cheers,

Win Smith President, Sugarbush Resort Win awaiting the Mad Bus after a powder run in Slide Brook.


Route 100, Waitsfield, VT 802-496-3272 www.spor


For the Love of

WINE In the Valley, knowledge of wine runs deep.


A glass of pinot noir on the patio at Timbers, surrounded by mountains.


any know that the Mad River Valley is filled with food geeks and beer geeks—people who bring knowledge, curiosity, and high standards to what they create, eat, and drink. Fewer know that the Valley has its share of wine geeks, too. I mean passionate people without pretension who have been informing and impressing new wine aficionados and sophisticated consumers for years. Most of us are self-trained, introduced to the world of wine by a mentor or a singular wine experience, or just brought up in a way of life where wine on the table at meals is a part of the everyday fabric of living. But there are formally trained people in the Valley as well. My own love for wine began when I came to the Warren Store thirtyfive years ago. Bill Wadsworth was the proprietor of the wine shop at the time. When I started working I heard that he was in California rounding up hard-to-find reds and whites from Napa Valley and was actually icing down the whites daily in his car as he worked his way back to Vermont. What dedication! My real love of wine began, however, when Bill and I tried a bottle of La Mission Haut Brion 1974. As someone who grew up drinking Mateus and Lancers, I knew right then and there that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. The layers of flavor, complexity, and nuance from that wine converted me. I learned a great deal from Bill, and through numerous tastings and long conversations my palate developed and my curiosity grew. Soon I was traveling to California to visit many of the wineries we represented, and to this day my vacations revolve around wine regions in France, Italy, and the Pacific Northwest, where last summer I participated in the annual Oregon Pinot Camp—a sort of boot camp 8 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

for Pinot Noir lovers. My Oregon experience took me through every aspect of the wine-making process, from canopy management to pest control, chemistry, geology, blending, and tasting. For me, learning from the wine maker and touring the vineyards in some of the most beautiful areas on earth is the best education. You can truly understand wine when you see how much care is taken to ensure that it reflects the wine maker’s creativity and sense of place. Often wine makers will manipulate alcohol and sugar levels—and sometimes this is necessary, given the vagaries and challenges of each growing season—but the real masters tend to have a hands-off approach and let the wine speak for itself. I’m a firm believer that a wine should be more about finesse than power. (Power wines tend to be overly alcoholic fruit bombs, such as a very oaky Chardonnay, that overwhelm the flavors of the food. Finesse wines tend to have a good balance of fruit and acidity and alcohol levels around 11 or 12 percent.) I encourage my customers to get out of their comfort zone and “drink outside the box.” There’s so much good wine out there from lesser-known wine regions. My hands-on approach in choosing wines and educating my customers about them will often lead people to a Zweigelt from Austria, a Nero d’Avola from Sicily, or a Tannat from Uruguay. Each of these wines has a provincial rustic quality and lends itself well to food from the same region. I love talking about wine so much that I like to offer a “long” or “short” answer option. Some people let me go on and on, and others are pressed for time and just want to hear the scaled-down version. I’m happy either way.

Chris Alberti, the chef/owner of Peasant and a grape grower himself, likewise came to his knowledge of wine through life experience rather than specific training. He grew up in a family that appreciated wine, and as a youth was allowed to drink wine at family meals on holidays and Sundays. Later, when he was working in finance on Wall Street, he started collecting wines in earnest. “I became a big fan of the Rhône from Bandol to Côte Rôtie and everything in between. The older I get the more Burgundy I want to drink, but the power of the Rhône wines will always be a love of mine.” The approach he takes to food and wine is a traditional one. For him, “farm to table” is not a new phenomenon but the way it’s always been, at least in Europe. And that’s what he aspires to in the kitchen: classic, rustic, Old World food paired with the classic varietals, paying homage to the areas he feels make the best examples of a given varietal type. “If I need a Sauvignon Blanc for a food pairing I’ll use a Sancerre. You go with the best.” (Sancerre is the region in France where some of the best Sauvignon Blanc is produced; in Europe, wine is identified by place of origin, whereas in this country it’s by varietal.) When Chris is not at Peasant he’s up at the vineyard he manages above the Valley corridor on East Warren Road in Warren, pruning, doing canopy management, and harvesting (he taps friends and family to help). Only a crazy man would throw himself into the stressful and never-ending challenges of running a vineyard and overseeing all aspects of a restaurant. The vineyard is dedicated to Frontenac Gris and Prairie Star—not household names but interesting grapes that can tolerate Vermont’s harsh winters and have the flavors and acidity to pair well with Chris’s wonderful cuisine. Vermont wines are slowly being appreciated for what they are and Up close on Chris Alberti’s what they can become. grapes. Others in the Valley have sought out more official credentials. Joan Wilson, owner of the Waitsfield Wine Shoppe, and Bruce Hyde, manager of Timbers Restaurant, are pursuing certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers in London, an international examining body that requires people to pass four leveled exams in order to become master sommeliers. Wilson recently passed level 2; Hyde is preparing to take the level 2 exam in the fall. Ari Sadri, the manager of the Pitcher Inn, has passed level 1, though most of his wine knowledge, he says, comes from tasting up to three dozen wines per week, and from “thirty years of falling asleep reading books on wine every night.” Level 1 requires knowledge of (and ability to identify wines by taste from) all the wine-growing regions in the world. The knowledge required for each level becomes more and more specific: master sommeliers must be able to identify specific wines from specific vineyards, and articulate what makes them different from their neighbors. (In forty years, only 227 people worldwide have passed level 4, which hints at the level of dedication—

and studying—required.) Wilson has also been certified through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) in London. In January 2015, she passed level 3, involving a two-hour exam on wine theory and a tasting exam for which she had to identify three whites and three reds down to their vintage, appellation, and village of origin. She’ll begin studying for level 4, a two-year process, in October. Wilson worked on Wall Street for thirty years before moving to the Valley in 2005; she opened the wine shop with her husband the following year. Her father worked for a wine importer when Wilson was young, so she used to try a range of wines and ask her father questions about them. Then, in the late 1970s, a customer sent her a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieux Télégraphe, which spurred Wilson’s love for French wines. These days, with 1,000 different kinds of wine (and 350 kinds of craft beer) at her store, Wilson has one of the largest selections in the state. She travels when she has time, and has visited vineyards over the past few years in Austria, Italy, Germany, California, and Washington. During a trip to Oregon (which she says is like “Vermont on steroids—pretty, green, and with huge trees”), she explored some of her favorite Pinot Noirs. “California’s are very fruitforward, and Oregon’s are a little more Burgundian in style; the fact that the wines are grown a little further north, with hot days but cool nights, means they’re lighter and earthier.” Lately Wilson has found herself drawn to “natural” wines, a new movement that harkens back to how wines used to be made. In natural wine making, nothing is added to the grapes—no sulfites, and no yeast (they use open tanks, so the yeast shows up naturally). She stocks a lot of those wines in her store, but she has many other kinds as well—to fit all of her customers’ preferences. “My philosophy is, drink what you really like. It shouldn’t be that difficult or complicated.” Timbers manager Bruce Hyde first started becoming knowledgeable about wine when he took an introduction to wine course at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration; since he was nineteen at the time, the course was the only legitimate way he could try wine. Every spring, they went on wine tours of the Finger Lakes region, where Hyde came to appreciate the fine Rieslings produced at the Hermann Wiemer vineyards and elsewhere. As his knowledge and training have evolved, Hyde has found himself gravitating, like Wilson, toward what he calls “honest wines—wines that have very little human manipulation and tend to reflect the natural state of the vineyards.” With these wines, the variation in taste comes not from what the wine makers do after the grapes are picked, but from where the grapes are grown—what the French call terroir. Hyde tries to bring this approach to the wine list at Timbers, where his overarching goal is to serve wines that have a sense of place. For research, Hyde travels to a range of wine regions. “It’s very difficult to understand wine from a region without seeing the vineyards and talking to the wine makers.” Last fall, Hyde went to Sicily, where he sought out wine makers who share Bruce Hyde of Timbers. 2015/16 9

his feeling about the importance of a sense of place. “The new guard of Sicilian wine makers—Arianna Occhipinti, Lamoresca, and Frank Cornelissen—are all making incredible wines with little manipulation in the winery. Call them natural wine makers or non-interventionists, but in essence they are growing grapes with great care and trying to put little human influence into the bottle. I identify with these guys and really enjoy the wines.” Sometimes the mystery that wine makers employ is just letting nature take care of its own destiny.

Ari Sadri’s interest in diving deep into all things wine

Chris Alberti, Joan Wilson, author Jack Garvin, and Ari Sadri on Timbers patio.

Wine Recommendations from Local Experts CHRIS ALBERTI A specialty at Peasant is our cassoulet (made with white beans, sausage, pork, and chicken). The Burgundy I love with it is the Frédéric Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur—it has a little oak and lots of earth, barnyard, and pure terroir. I also love a crisp acidic white with the cassoulet, like my Frontenac Gris from the vineyard, or the Trimbach Riesling. JACK GARVIN I’ve been matching Spinetta Il Rosé di Casanova with grilled salmon and capers. This Rosé is very pale, but packs a deceptive punch of Tuscan Sangiovese and Prugnolo Gentile. The current vintage is a fifty-fifty blend of these two grape varietals. They can certainly stand up to the richness of the salmon, and the wine offers a thirst-quenching acidity that cleanses the palate and leaves me looking for another quaff. BRUCE HYDE We have a Monday-night BBQ at Timbers in the summer, and my favorite summer pairing with it has to be Rosé. Seriously, in the summer, why drink anything else? The key to pairing wine with BBQ is matching the acidity and spiciness level in the sauce with your wine. For spicier sauces, you might look to wines with a bit of residual sugar to offset the spice. Really vinegary sauces call for higher acidity in wines. For our chef’s smoked chicken I’ve been loving the Donkey & Goat Claim Jumper Rosé. The searing acidity and touch of smokiness complement the dish perfectly. ARI SADRI One of my favorite pairings is a Couly-Dutheil Chinon Blanc with diver scallops and clementine brown butter. The ripe peach and nectarine notes of the Chinon bring out the natural sweetness in the flesh of the scallop that’s mirrored by the clementine. JOAN WILSON Right now I have two favorite pairings: one red, one white. Lately I’ve been grilling two-inch-thick lamb chops marinated with lemon, olive oil, and rosemary, cooked to medium rare. The lamb is wonderful with Syrah, specifically Côte-Rôtie from the northern Rhône. I’ve also started experimenting with the Viognier grape from various growing areas. I prefer Viognier from Condrieu, although other areas in the Rhône are also really good and a lot more reasonably priced. A dry, floral, full-bodied white wine like this pairs well with grilled lobster with a plain melted-butter sauce. It can also be paired with spicy Indian dishes because of its amazing apricot, peaches, and cream aroma and its balanced fruit and acidity. 10 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

happened under the wing of Andy Ayers, proprietor of the now-closed Riddle’s Penultimate Cafe & Wine Bar in St. Louis, which was the best wine restaurant in the city. Sadri recalls that each week Ayers would sit down with whatever staff was interested to talk about wine: What should you pair this particular wine with? What is that wine region known for? “It spoke to my inner nerd,” says Sadri. As he learned more, he realized that for him, too, a wine’s strong connection to the place where it was made was all-important. “Each wine is temporal, an expression of a grape grown in a specific place at a specific time under specific conditions,” he says. “This is compelling to me, as it means that each wine is unique, never again to be completely duplicated.” As an example, Sadri points to the 1989 Cabernet Sauvignon vintage from California. “It was relatively rainy at harvest, lots of people freaked out and picked early, and ended up either with green stemmy wines, or diluted, watery wines. Some producers, like Paul Draper at Ridge Vineyards, had seen this pattern before and knew they would get a normal harvest. Draper waited it out and made a stupendous 1989 Cabernet reflective of its location, area, and season. He knew not to panic, and made better wine than the others.” Through studying, tasting, and traveling to vineyards around the world, Sadri is on the hunt for wines to introduce to his customers at the Pitcher Inn. “Beautiful wines are made all over the planet these days. I’m always seeking them out; it doesn’t matter where they come from. But I am never looking for powerhouse wine; I want balanced, elegant wines that speak to me Ari Sadri tastes a wine. about place.”


ine takes us through many portals. We learn about farming, the impact of weather, wine as a commodity, wine in ritual and rites of passage. We learn about wine’s nuances and its interrelationship with food through its flavor profile and balance of fruit and acidity. For us, the learning never stops, and the enthusiasm never ends. Ask any of us about a bottle of wine, and we’ll tell you its story—the long or the short version. Jack Garvin is the manager of the Warren Store and has been there since 1980, when he “stopped in for a cup of coffee and never left.” Along with his other responsibilities, he chooses the wines and plans the store’s wine-tasting events. He lives in Waitsfield.

The Waitsfield Wine Shoppe offers one of the largest selections of quality wines in Vermont. With over 900 Wine facingS in all price ranges and over 300 Select craft beerS, it is your one stop shoppe for fine wines and beer.

h Established 2006 by Joan Wilson Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 3


WaitSfield Wine Shoppe 4330 Main Street • Waitsfield, Vermont 802-583-9463 (Wine)



A food and wine sampling event with educational seminars, followed by an evening dining experience featuring guest vintners and wine merchants. In collaboration with the Nantucket Wine Festival.

Three-day food and wine festival including opening chef’s reception and wine dinner, educational seminars, Artisan Taste, featured wine dinners around the Valley, “Late Night on the Mountain” after-hours party, charitable walk, and champagne brunch.

December 28, 2015 March 12, 2016

September 30 – October 2, 2016

800.53.SUGAR 2015/16 11


Secret Stashes

The Great Vermont Plein Air Paint-Out, part of August’s Festival of the Arts.


Everyone knows about the Valley’s main attractions. Here, we lift the curtain on some lesser-known favorites.


Vermont is known for its cozy New England accomodations and for producing some of the country’s best craft beer, like the Alchemist’s Heady Topper and Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine. Why not put the two together? Enjoy Vermont Bed & Brew Packages, which include two nights’ lodging, a private tour of four craft breweries, more than twelve beer tastings, and a hearty snack box with local Vermont treats. Tours available in the spring and fall. More info:

COOKING CLASSES The Kitchen at the Store is high entertainment. Choose from cooking classes on a wide variety of themes, including desserts, Spanish food, Italian food, poaching, and sauces. But don’t think it’s a spectator sport—you’ll be getting dirty with hands-on preparation of the dishes, under the watchful eye of Chef John Lumbra. More info:

MEATBALL TRUCK Local restaurant the Common Man has introduced a mobile kitchen in the form of the Common Kitchen Meatball Co. Serving hot and homemade meatball sandwiches in a variety of forms—beef, lamb, and vegetarian—the truck can be found at numerous Valley events, as well as parked outside the Common Man. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter (@feisty_meatball) to find their next stop. More info:

ROUND UP ON THE RIVER In a city there are block parties, but in the Mad River Valley there are round ups. Every Wednesday in the summer (July 1 through Labor Day), Bridge Street’s Round Up on the River hosts live music and culinary treats from nearby shops and local food trucks and vendors. Come to Historic Bridge Street alongside the Mad River to dance, eat, and drink from 4 p.m. on. More info:

ART The Valley is filled with an eclectic mix of artisans whose work can be seen (and purchased) in many different venues. During Festival of the Arts in August, enthusiasts will find a wide range of art on display in places like the Round Barn and the Big Picture Café & Theater. A Meet the Artists Reception is held in early August at Lareau Farm, which also hosts the Big Red Barn Art Show. August is also the month when many artists open their studios to visitors. Worthwhile stops open year-round include the Artisans’ Gallery, Mad River Glass Gallery, and the Collection in Waitsfield; and the Parade Gallery and Warren Store in Warren. More info: 12 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

SNOWSHOE TOURS Sugarbush offers guided snowshoe tours into Slide Brook Basin, home territory of black bears, moose, deer, coyotes, bobcats, fishers, ermine, owls, turkeys, and woodpeckers. Tours can be both physically warming and mentally stimulating, as trekkers learn to interpret tracks, the scars on trees, and other evidence of wildlife. Mad River Glen offers a similar program, including full-moon treks, and tours that explore local ecology and animal life. For a more upscale trek, try a Night Time Snowshoe Dinner Tour at the Inn at Round Barn Farm: tromp through the snowy woods to a rustic cabin lit by candles and a roaring fire for a delicious dinner. More info:;;

DESIGN-AND-BUILD CLASSES Get your learning on at Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield. The school offers over 100 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft. Classes range from one-day tutorials to multi-day lessons to semester-long programs. The school was founded by Yale architecture students more than thirty years ago and specializes in green building and treehouses. People come from all over the world to both teach and attend classes at Yestermorrow. More info:

FAMILY GAMES The recently renovated Mad River Barn is home to inspired food that goes beyond typical pub fare. The Barn serves dinner in the upstairs pub and the downstairs dining room. But while you enjoy the soaring (yet cozy) interior for cocktail hour, the kids can play games including air hockey, foosball, and shuffleboard (on a restored antique table). Or find your inner kid and join in on the fun. More info:

THEATER IN THE BARN Each summer the Skinner Barn prepares a series of live shows for the public. Led by Broadway veteran Peter Boynton, the group performs productions inside a beautifully restored historic dairy barn originally built in 1891. Past productions include The Fantasticks, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Pete ’n’ Keely. Plays typically run in July and August, and the theater hosts a kids’ theater camp in June. More info: For more live performances, check out the Phantom Theater at the Edgcomb Barn in Warren, featuring orginal performances and workshops in dance, theater, and music. Shows run in July and August; each performance is a completely original piece. More info:

Offering fun-filled winter vacations at discounted rates

2015/16 SKI THE PEAK TOURS SUGARBUSH – Weekend Bus Trips With over 20 years of experience, Ski The Peak Tours will organize your next ski and snowboard vacation to a highquality ski resort in Vermont or Utah with steeply discounted prices, allowing you to enjoy spending time with family and friends and meeting great people with the same passion. Discounts available for children at Sugarbush and Jay Peak. Discounted Sugarbush lift tickets available when ordered 5 days in advance.

ski The peak Tours 732-330-4774 652 Hillside Ave, Brick, NJ 08724 Tom Trout/Tour Operator

december 11–13, 2015, from $249. March 25–27, 2016, from $289. Includes bus from NJ, 2-day lift ticket & lodging.

UTAH – January 10–15, $1,560/person.

Trip includes air, bag fees, SUV car rental , five nights in house, 5-day lift ticket, Powder Mountain, Snowbasin & Snowbird, two snowcat runs, two dinners.

JAY PEAK – 5-day Trips

January 3–8, 2016 or January 31–February 5, 2016. $459/6 adults, $499/5 adults, $553/4 adults per condo. $100/child 14 & under. Includes slopeside condo and 6-day lift ticket.

JAY PEAK – Weekend Bus Trip

February 26–28, 2016, from $329. Includes 3-day lift ticket, condo, bus from NJ.





Bride Beth Pollock, accompanied by her parents on her way to the altar.

A plane, a ski lift, and a zip line were all part of the fun when Beth Pollock and Chauncey Griffith tied the knot at Sugarbush.



or Beth Pollock, who married Chauncey Griffith at the top of the Gate House lift in August 2014, the relaxed atmosphere of their wedding weekend at Sugarbush was epitomized by something that happened a few hours before the ceremony. Beth was getting ready in the bridal suite at Clay Brook. She was the last of her three sisters to get married, and there was no mother of the bride hovering over her; this was a low-stress event. In fact, when Beth happened to glance out the window, she saw her mother whiz by outside on a zip line. “The whole weekend was just fun like that; it was like going to camp with our family and friends,” says Beth. She and Chauncey met in 2009, when they worked next to each other at UBS financial services. A year and a half later, Chauncey left to follow his dream of becoming a professional pilot. He learned to fly at CLARISPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

The bridal party heading to Gate House lift. 14 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

sixteen, and these days is a captain for United. Part of the reason they picked Sugarbush as a wedding spot was because of the airfield nearby, where they hoped to land in Chauncey’s plane (as it turned out, the weather on the day they were flying in didn’t cooperate). Chauncey and Beth knew the mountain well; he had been on the ski team at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, and the couple had skied at Sugarbush over the years. The intimate, community feel of Sugarbush appealed to them both, and they made the wedding into a weekend-long event. On Friday, the groomsmen went swimming at Warren Falls before heading to the rehearsal dinner at Mad River Barn. Saturday brought golfing at the Sugarbush course, swimming at the Clay Brook pool, hiking Lincoln Peak, playing disc golf, and, of course, zip lining. For the afternoon ceremony, guests took the Gate House Express quad to the wedding spot, and watched Beth and Chauncey get married in front of a canopy made of birch logs, framing the Northfield Mountains and the cloud-dotted blue sky. The couple walked back down the aisle with their golden retriever, Murray, and eventually everyone headed to Gate House Lodge for cocktails on the terrace before a family-style dinner inside of cedar-planked salmon, barbecued chicken, a summer pasta salad, and whoopie pies made by Beth’s mother. (The food clearly made an impression. “As we make the rounds to our friends’ weddings now, everyone is still talking about how much fun they had, and raving about the food! No one ever talks about wedding food, especially ten months later,” says Chauncey.) Later on came an after party at Castlerock Pub, and s’mores by the fire pit outside. Throughout, Beth and Chauncey made sure to include some local Vermont products,



A wedding to remember in a setting you’ll never forget. Photography by 822 Weddings

For information, please contact our experienced wedding planner at or call 802.583.6370. 2015/16 15


PRE-NUPTIVITIES A wedding in the Mad River Valley is not just about the ceremony and reception. Over the years, couples have booked a range of activities for their guests.

YOGA Take a scenic chair lift ride up the mountain for a class held on the Allyn’s Lodge deck, or plan a class on the lawn next to the Clay Brook pool or at Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center (SHaRC).

GUIDED NATURE HIKES Walk with a local nature expert along one of the many Lincoln Peak trails, or grab a local hiking map and head to one of several trailheads on the Mad River Path ( or the Long Trail.

ROAD BIKING Explore the Valley’s gorgeous landscapes on Route 100 or off the beaten path (guided or selfguided with map).

GOLF Test your skill at Sugarbush Resort Golf Club, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. Special wedding packages are available for groups of twelve or more.

DISC GOLF Play one of two eighteen-hole courses: the lower course, hike-able from the Lincoln Peak base area; or the upper course, which starts at the top of the Super Bravo lift.

KAYAKING/CANOEING Paddle along the Mad River or explore Blueberry Lake. Tours and rentals available at Clearwater Sports in Waitsfield. (Clearwater can also arrange picnics or barbecues for wedding groups.)

TUBING Float down the Mad River, through Clearwater Sports; or the Tweed River, through Tweed River Tubing in Stockbridge. Both businesses offer drop-off and pickup after two hours on the river.

MOUNTAIN BIKING Test out the downhill trails on the mountain, or the mellower cross-country trails around Blueberry Lake (see Rentals and safety equipment available at the Farmhouse Rental Shop (for downhill) or Stark Mountain Bike Works or Infinite Sports (for cross-country).

Beth, Chauncey, and Murray. including Heady Topper at the rehearsal dinner and Switchback Ale at the wedding. Groomsmen received WhistlePig whiskey, and the goody bags included maple sugar candies and VerMints. The next day the bride and groom flew

HORSEBACK RIDING Try out the smooth gait of an Icelandic horse on a guided trail ride at the Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm.

SPINNING CLASSES & ROCK CLIMBING Organize a group class in the spin studio or on the climbing wall at SHaRC to get circulation flowing before the main event.

BUNGEE TRAMPOLINE/ZIP LINE Get the pre-nup jitters out with belayed trampoline jumping or an exhilarating zip line ride at Lincoln Peak. 16 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

The memorable homemade whoopie pies.

with Murray in their four-seat Mooney airplane up to Prince Edward’s Island, where Chauncey’s family has a cabin. But first, family and friends wandered into Timbers for a low-key brunch before seeing the couple off. It was a fitting end to the wedding weekend. “We loved the ease of being at Sugarbush, everything felt very comfortable, and we loved how everything was right there,” says Beth. Like camp—except with delicious food, beautiful dresses, and some happily-everafter thrown into the mix. Katie Bacon, a writer and editor based in Boston, is the managing editor of Sugarbush Magazine. She is a former editor at the Atlantic and her work has appeared in the Boston Globe and the New York Times, among other publications.

Brewed with 100% positive vibrations and single-hopped with Citra hops.

802-888-6978 •


8/20/15 9:56 AM

Bring the Outdoors Indoors

With magnificent views of the mountains and the Valley, Hogan’s Pub serves up a variety of salads, sandwiches, and burgers for lunch, and cold beer and cocktails for après. Open May through October. Located at Sugarbush Resort Golf Club




Visit our Website for Upcoming Shows and Online Ordering 2015/16 17



in the life AT SUGARBUSH


Profiles of six Sugarbushers.


El la Switzer, 10

Thomas Sullivan, 14

Ella Switzer is a five-year Blazers veteran to the core and can hit the Mall (a black diamond trail with wall-to-wall moguls) top to bottom as her last run of the day. While the boys are busy dipping their Cheetos in hot chocolate, Ella is plotting her next run through the stashes-not-to-be-named off Heaven’s Gate. Ella always sports a mountaineering backpack filled with the typical necessities (a CamelBak with water and protein snacks)— but what else is inside may surprise you. Ella has type 1 diabetes, and her backpack houses a monitor that continuously tracks her glucose level and transmits the data to her parents wherever they are across the mountain (thanks to the Switzers’ innovation of using a mitten and a disposable hand warmer to protect the monitor in cold weather). She has competed in the Junior Castlerock Extreme event for three years, placing in the top three of her age category each time

Thomas Sullivan loves skiing more than anything else. He’s been known to catch first chair on powder days (think the Valentine’s Day storm of 2014) and enjoys getting inverted with the Sugarbush Diamond Dogs Freestyle Team on weekends. Thomas is one of four children and has grown up on the unadulterated terrain of Castlerock and the challenges of skinning up Lincoln Peak with his father, Mark. His habit of loading the car with the family’s gear every morning (that’s six sets of skis) is a testament to Thomas’s kindhearted and diligent spirit. If you want to catch Thomas après ski at his ski home in Warren, you’d better watch your head on the way in. He’s been known to build big kickers over the driveway.

B l az e rs Program

Diamond Dogs Freestyle Team

6:00 AM: Rise and shine to freshly w axed skis and gear laid out the night before. Get dressed, eat a bagel w ith cream cheese, and load the car for a special skin up L incoln Peak w ith Dad. Endure a w ay-too-long tenminute commute to L incoln Peak. Feel the adrenaline rush from seeing an entire mountain covered in fresh snow w ith only tw o cars in the parking lot. Skin up Racer's Edge to L ow er Snowball just in time to catch the sunrise at the top of the Mall. Pow er through a serving of untouched powder on the w ay down. Hop in line for first chair up Super Bravo. 8:45 AM: Take the Mad Bus to Mt. Ellen and meet the Diamond Dogs at the yurt. Ride GMX to the top for a “w arm-up” on the steeps of FIS. Lap Sugarbush Parks until coach says it’s time for lunch. 12:00 PM: Stop at the base lodge to hunt for macaroni and cheese. A ssemble lunch transportation method (tin foil) for traverse to yurt to eat w ith the team. 1:00 PM: Hit the biggest jumps of the day once everyone’s legs are w armed up. Ski Sugarbush Parks until close. 4:00 PM: On the Mad Bus ride home, brainstorm ideas for the new backyard jump setup. Launch over the road via kicker jump for the first time and show Dad.


Joe Foster, 26 For20 s Pa sshol der

Joe Foster, by a stroke of serendipity, was gifted a plot of land in Warren, where he and two friends built the “Sugarden,” a secret oasis featuring a sizable tipi warmed by a Vermont woodstove. Prayer flags, tiki torches, and a sled track requiring the use of a helmet adorn the site, along with two propane tanks powering a hanging lantern and a Coleman dual burner that can cook meals for twenty people. Many For20s passholders often think they are living the dream—but Joe might really be living it at the Sugarden.

1:00 AM: Arrive at Sugarden parking spot and unload beer, food, and necessities onto sled. Skin fifteen minutes to the tipi with thirty pounds of supplies in tow. Cry the official “OoOoop” call to announce arrival, and hear an “OoOoop” in return, signifying that friends have already arrived. Crack a beer while catching up with Rosie and Andy, who are already nestled in their sleeping bags. 6:00 AM: Awake to light snowflakes falling and step up to make breakfast. Dubbed “Champion Badass of the Day.” Forgot water, but Andy’s brought enough for everyone. (#TipiProvides.) Cook the usual two pounds of bacon, and make coffee. Collectively devour “the mess”-peppers, onions, eggs, cheese, and crumbled bacon. Skin to the car, pop one boot off, and drive to Sugarbush. 8:30 AM: Ski straight to the goods off of Heaven’s Gate. Rip a few runs on Castlerock and adventure into the woods. 12:00 PM: Pull out a smashed PB&J from backpack and eat lunch on the lift. Send work emails between runs. 3:30 PM: Catch North Lynx in time for a final Slide Brook run, then take the Mad Bus back to the base. Go to the Wünderbar for drinks until late-night music starts at Castlerock Pub.

Liz Harris, 38 Mt. Ellen Passholder

Twenty-nine Sugarbush season passes (twenty for Mt. Ellen only), sixteen years of motherhood, and five energetic children: if you were to quantify Liz Harris’s life experiences, these stats would just scratch the surface. Nesting locally in Moretown as a family of seven—including Liz’s husband, Dan, and kids, Isabella (16), Mary (15), Eloise (11), Hazel (9), and Peter (7)—this family calls Mt. Ellen their true home. Also known as “North,” Mt. Ellen is the Harrises’ playground, where the kids roam free, the lifties know them all by name, and the snow is, well … better, according to Liz. When she’s not chasing her own family, Liz chases the powder as a coach with the Green Mountain Valley School ski team, along with her other career, painting colorfully creative animal portraits (

6:30 AM: Wake up first. Pack the youngest kids’ ski bags. Prepare five egg burritos for the kids and wrap them up to go. Walk Georgia (the pup), wake up the kids, and sort out who’s coming to the mountain. 7:40 AM: Yell, “I’M LEAVING AT 8! IF YOU’RE NOT IN T HE CAR, DAD WILL TAKE YOU LAT ER!” 8:30 AM: Drop the kids and skis off at the Mt. Ellen base lodge loop. Park the car, and run back up the hill to meet GMVS team. 12:00 PM: Remind team that “there’s still fresh powder somewhere and we gotta find it.” 1:00 PM: Meet oldest daughter, Izzy (who also coaches for GMVS), after classes wrap up and drive home for lunch. Work on latest chicken portrait painting until kids return. 4:00 PM: Remind the kids to wear an extra jacket as they run in and out the door to build jumps; kids refuse because they’re playing too hard to be cold.

Robert Forenza, 60

Richard Jones, 79

Robert Forenza captures the heart and soul of Sugarbush, knows (and probably first discovered) the best secret stashes, cliffs, and woods lines on the mountain, and believes in the power of powder to bring a diverse group of people together. He first set foot at Sugarbush in 1958 when he was three years old and grew up skiing it with the likes of Stein Eriksen, the Murphy family, and John Egan. Since then, Robert and his friends have adjusted the phrase “No friends on a powder day” to “No Forenzas on a powder day” and christened the large face near Castlerock “The Church.”

Chances are, seventy-nine-year-old Richard Jones skis more days a season than almost anyone else on the mountain, capping the 2014–15 season with 146 days on snow. When he’s not conquering his favorite trail under the Castlerock Double, he’s testing out the terrain on Push Over for his beginner-level ski class. In his forty-five years at Sugarbush, Richard has worked as an events ambassador, a media guide, and, for the past nine years, a ski instructor. Richard is one of the famous few responsible for making Slide Brook accessible through the trails he helped cut.

6:00 AM: Wake up with a full pot of coffee and thoughts of powder.

6:00 AM: Wake up with an egg, English muffin, and cup of coffee. Sit down for morning stretches in the living room. Drive to the mountain via Rolston Road (arguably the most treacherous road in the Mad River Valley).

All Mountain 7 Passholder

7:30 AM: Congregate with eight friends in Gate House Lodge before setting out for Super Bravo. Ski Heaven’s Gate to Paradise and woods stashes. 11:00 AM: Break for water in Gate House for ten minutes, then bundle up for more runs. 1:00 PM: Dig into pockets for a lunch on the go of dried fruit and granola. Stop inside Gate House for a water break; some stragglers stay behind. 3:45 PM: Run into original eight at the top of Snowball and finish the day with a run in Race Course Woods. 4:00 PM: Ski straight to Castlerock Pub for après beers. Meet friends in town for a hearty homemade dinner and share stories of the day.

Ski & Ride School Instructor

8:00 AM: Catch the Gate House chair. Ski down Push Over and make a note to warn students about rough section on the right.

9:45 AM: Greet two beginner women at lesson lineup and ease them onto Push Over for the first run of the day. Ensure that the group is comfortable before taking on the challenge of Sleeper for the first time. 12:00 PM: Order a salad in Valley House for lunch. Return to the Gate House lift for afternoon lineup.

3:45 PM: Drive home and take a hot shower. Cook a special fish recipe from Martha’s Vineyard for dinner with wife, Kate.

Laura Friedland is a recent graduate of the University of Vermont who served as Sugarbush’s social media guru before moving west. 20 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

LIVE YOUR PASSION PHOTO by Peter Cirilli ‘16, Graphic Design & Digital Media major and freelance photographer LOCATION Champlain College’s Quad, Burlington, V T EVENT Annual Campus Rail Jam Competition When you love what you do, success comes naturally—even right out of college. We encourage our students to discover their passions, and then we give them the tools to pursue them. In fact, within six months of graduation, 91% of the class of 2014 are employed or continuing their education. Learn more about our Undergraduate, Graduate and Online & Continuing Education programs at:

2014/15 15


SHAPE Up! John Bleh and fiancée Rachel working with their trainer, Roarke Sharlow.

Five personal training sessions at SHaRC get the author off the couch and into shape. BY JOHN BLEH


s a tri-sport athlete in high school who also exercised consistently in college, I never thought I would be out of shape. I was wrong.

While I still skied over fifty days last year and occasionally hiked, skinned, or ran, the effort exhausted me. I was in the worst shape of my life. Walking up the Mt. Ellen parking lot, I was huffing and puffing—tired before I even started skiing. And I’m only twenty-six. You see, my problem with working out is that it’s really boring. And the hardest part about getting back into shape is sticking it out during those first few weeks. I would often quit partway through because I was bored—and tired. My fiancée, Rachel, has the same problem, and thus we found ourselves trapped in a cycle of sampling, and quickly discarding, various workouts. And then there was the laziness factor: I can’t count the number of times we would be sitting on the couch planning to exercise, but instead would begin watching a cooking show marathon on the Food Network for the rest of the afternoon. So when a colleague at Sugarbush suggested that I be the one to try out personal training at Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center (SHaRC), I was enthusiastic—and a little amused. Was I chosen because I always talk about needing to get back in shape? Probably. So I signed us up for five weeks of personal training sessions. Enter Roarke Sharlow, a SHaRC instructor and Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified trainer. Roarke is also a former art teacher and fine art photographer, and the skill sets behind both are evident in his teaching style: open to questions, detailed, and good at presenting something from new angles, like when he explained a new (and safer) way to stretch the groin muscles. He loves teaching fitness and worries about the lack of fitness knowledge in the world today, which can lead to injuries while drilling a hole in your wallet. The first thing we did was sit down with him to review our medical histories, goals, hopes, and fears. I’ll admit that Rachel and I were hesitant, but I liked what I heard: that fitness should be about having fun, and that variation is the key to success.


The next week, Rachel and I met Roarke for our first training session: cardio. Now, it isn’t as if we didn’t know how to work out. Many of us have learned how to use gym equipment, but exercises, stretches, and tips have changed significantly over the years, and knowing the new techniques can make a significant difference. There’s a reason nobody does those 1980s highlighter-spandex exercise dances anymore, even if watching them is entertaining. I used to go to the gym (not in spandex) and run on a treadmill for thirty minutes, and then maybe do some random exercises on a few weight machines for my abs, biceps, and triceps and leave. Roarke gave us proper training techniques and multiple variations on cardio. We focused on interval training as a way to break up the monotony of doing cardio at the same speed. This was actually fun, and it helped boost my average running speed. He also stressed the importance of warming up, cooling down, and stretching—three things most people (including me) ignore. Our first session was more than we expected. We were both tired after running intervals for an hour and stretching, but it felt good. I would never have had the motivation to push myself like that. Rachel wasn’t sure she’d make it the whole way through the program. But that’s why we were in it together. We left with exercise ideas, stretching diagrams (turns out I’d been mixing up a deltoid stretch with a bicep stretch for the last ten years), and a goal to do cardio twice a week, though in the weeks since then I’ve found myself doing more. The next session was focused on upper-body strength—something Rachel and I both lack—and here our personal goals really came into play. Neither of us wanted to build significant muscle size, but we did want some muscle endurance and tone. Also, knowing our lazy habits, we wanted workouts we could do at home. Roarke created an upperbody regimen with weights we already owned that would help us reach our goals without getting the bulging muscles that would land us on the cover of a fitness magazine. We now have a list of exercises that can be done with dumbbells—including bicep curls, standing rows, and side lifts. And the warm-up upper-body exercise? Rachel’s archnemesis: push-

BEYOND THE TRAINING GYM It’s not just personal training at SHaRC. Activities for both adults and kids are available year round. FITNESS AND YOGA CLASSES Classes available for all ages and abilities including Zumba, barre, and spinning. MASSAGE Offered daily by appointment. Available as deep tissue, Swedish, relaxation, reiki, hot stone, and sports recovery. TENNIS Hosted by New England Tennis Holidays and offering tennis camps as well as clinics and round robins. Courts available by reservation. (See article on page 51.) SWIMMING SHaRC has indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs—along with saunas and a steam room. Lessons and aqua-aerobics classes available. The 25-yard outdoor pool is open Memorial Day to Labor Day.

stay fit

VALLEY ROCK GYM Rock gym with equipment and instruction available, as well as private rental.

Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center (SHaRC) is a fully-appointed year-round fitness and racquet club. Whether you seek group classes, personal training, tennis, swim instruction, family entertainment, or relaxation, a visit to SHaRC will enhance your Sugarbush experience. Open to members and non-members.

SQUASH & RACQUETBALL Courts available by reservation. Equipment rental available. ADVENTURE ZONE Activities include a bounce house, bungee trampoline, swing set (Thanksgiving through April 30), ping-pong, basketball court, and gaga ball. Birthday party private rentals also available. ups. Roarke suggested a modified push-up exercise for Rachel that was more mellow. Next came lower-body strength. Exercises revolved around the use of ankle weights or dumbbells, incorporating them into classics like lunges and squats. Here Roarke was able to allow for our past injuries (my knees, and Rachel’s knees and hips). He showed us modifications to protect our problem areas. Our fourth session focused totally on the core, and was the hardest session we had. Our cores were in need of serious help, which may be attributed to Vermont craft beers and wine drinking coupled with that cursed couch. Roarke showed us a series of exercises for our abs, lower back, and obliques, with additional exercises to work toward as we got in better shape. We learned how to do proper crunches and planks, and the speed at which to do them—not like that guy you see in the gym who’s violently shaking up and down. The most helpful session was our final one, which came several weeks after our previous session. It was mostly a review of

what we had learned. Roarke quizzed us on the exercises, which we mostly remembered (thanks to Rachel). He also showed us variations to increase the difficulty, since we were increasing our fitness level. These have helped keep our boredom at bay. A personal trainer can seem intimidating, and I would not have sought one out on my own. But I have changed my tune. Don’t wait until you’re huffing and puffing on the way to the mountain. Roarke and the other trainers at SHaRC want to help you and enjoy doing it. It’s not very expensive (a five-session package for groups of three or more costs $85 per person; five individual sessions cost $285, or $57 each), and you’ll come away with a personalized plan developed around your needs, preferences, and habits.


So turn off the Food Network, get off the couch, stop reading this article, and get back into shape. John Bleh has worked for various ski resorts throughout Vermont over the last ten years. He now works in communications for Sugarbush.

For more information, call 802.583.6700 or visit 2015/16 23


#SBCOMMUNITY #SB Over the course of last winter, members of the Sugarbush community posted nearly 3,000 photos on social media with the hashtag #sbcommunity. Prizes donated by local businesses were awarded to the winners in numerous categories. Herewith, the winners . . .
















2014/15 19


Welcome to one of the most eccentric (but beloved) trail networks in the world of skiing and snowboarding. BY PETER OLIVER


ust when you thought you had the basics of turning a ski figured out, you encounter the riddle that is Castlerock, where the four main trails that form its soul and substance—Castlerock Run, Lift Line, Rumble, and Middle Earth—are so

technically complex that virtually every turn is like its own unique dance step. The pressuring of the ski is different, the edge angle is different, the radius, body position, pole plant, and so on. Cue the music: imagine linking the bossa nova with break dancing and jitterbugging and crip walking in rapid-fire succession. You can throw in a bit of ballet, too, as the rhythmic variation imposed by pockets of powder, rocky protuberances, and crusty moguls requires a surefooted nimbleness. And with the ’Rock’s slightly eastern exposure, the snow texture—the dance floor—is constantly being

Photo: Eleven-year-old George Madison competing in the 2015 Junior Castlerock Extreme.

reinvented by the effects of morning sun and afternoon shadow. What worked on your first run might fail miserably later in the day, and vice versa.


Sugarbush Chief Recreation Officer John Egan on Castlerock’s Lift Line. Skiers who manage to maintain elegance and fluidity on Castlerock

the rest of the ridgeline—a muscular bit of mountain landscape raising

terrain, guys like Sugarbush’s own John Egan, are so light on their feet

its middle finger, geologically, toward any attempt to be tamed with ski

as to seem to barely touch the ground. But even Egan would concede

trails. It seemed to be saying, Don’t mess with me.

that you never really master Castlerock skiing. You can love it like you love a favorite dance partner, but when you dance with the ’Rock, you are always the follower. It is forever exerting its authority, insisting on taking the lead.

After finally taking on the challenge, the developers found that they had to play a trail-building game according to the ’Rock’s rules. The usual trail-clearing method of sawing down trees, bulldozing over rough lumps, and cutting a trail more or less down the fall line simply

Castlerock skiing first came into being at the end of the 1950s,

wouldn’t work. The terrain idiosyncrasies—the rock in the ’Rock, the

almost as an afterthought, after the development of the main body of

jumble of oblique pitches, the irregular rolls, the sudden, steep dropoffs—conspired as a curmudgeonly force of natural resistance every

You can love it like you love

step of the way.

a favorite dance partner,

When the development mission was finally accomplished, the result

but when you dance

was one of the most eccentric and unconventional trail networks in the

with the ’Rock, you are always the follower.

world of skiing. If you want the rare sensation of skiing through a tunnel of trees, there is sliver-thin Rumble, with the tree canopy gathering together overhead from both sides of the trail and at times blotting out the sky.

Sugarbush terrain from the Lincoln Peak summit. Castlerock was a

Skiing the serpentine spillway of moguls that is Middle Earth renders a

high saddle flanked by granite buttresses that stood out defiantly from

feeling of being trapped in a sort of revolving door. Around each bend,



Join a small, personalized group lesson with a four-person maximum. Max 4 Workshops are geared toward black diamond skiers and riders looking for the intimacy of individualized instruction in a small-group setting. Terrain includes black diamond trails and wooded areas. $70–$75/half day; $125–$135/full day. (Lower prices reflect non-holiday, weekday, and advanced-reservation rates.)




More than just a Warren Miller film star, John Egan is a gifted coach and an exceptional mountain guide. John Egan’s Bush Pilots, an expert ski/tele program, meets every Saturday from mid-December to mid-March. $1,415. Private lessons with John are also available; $250–$300 for two hours/$599–$659 per day. (Lower prices reflect non-holiday, weekday, and advanced-reservation rates.)


A season-long program for advanced skiers and snowboarders (ages 18+) who want to expand their ability on expert trails and in the woods. Meets every Saturday (10 a.m.–3 p.m.) from mid-December to mid-March. $1,290.


The Black Diamond Club, a four-lesson series, is for dedicated skiers and riders (ages 18+) who already spend their time on black diamond trails and want to fine-tune their skills and tactics. Coached by an all-star group of instructors, the Black Diamond Club meets on Saturdays (10 a.m.–3 p.m.) for four consecutive weeks. $370.


Sugarbush’s Mountaineering Blazers are youth skiers and split snowboarders (ages 10–17) interested in blending smart decisionmaking, route finding, group dynamics, leadership, snow and terrain evaluation, shelter building, backcountry rescue, selfsufficiency, and constant preparedness to become true skiing and riding gurus. The Mountaineering Blazers meet every Saturday from mid-December to mid-March. $2,175. Details at For reservations and more information, please call the Sugarbush Ski & Ride School at 888.651.4827.

John Egan giving some tips on Castlerock.

you might expect and hope for the trail to ease off, with your quad

catastrophic injury. It is on Castlerock where he developed the technical

muscles reduced to gelatin by the trail’s incessant bumpiness. Instead,

skill and confidence to take on anything any mountain anywhere could

another cluster of tightly packed, peculiarly dysmorphic moguls lies ahead, and the door takes another turn. The trail just goes on and on.

John Egan has skied some of the

Even the lift ride up sometimes offers surprises, including the illusion

most extreme terrain in the world.

of a possible head-on collision as you come face-to-face with a

It is on Castlerock where he developed

human projectile—Egan, perhaps—flying toward you over Lift Line’s rocky headwall at Tower 11. A crash landing on your lap might seem possible, and even sensible, given that the alternative of landing on the slope below—an amalgam of rock, evergreen debris, ice, corrugated muck, and other surfaces of undetermined composition—appears to

the technical skill and confidence to take on anything any mountain anywhere could throw at him.

invite disaster.

throw at him. “I had encountered it all at Castlerock,” he says. “You

John Egan has skied some of the most extreme terrain in the world,

need at least 300 turns in your repertoire.”

where the slightest false move or flutter of nerves can mean death or

It has been said that the ’Rock is emblematic of traditional eastern 2015/16 29



skiing, a throwback to the first man-made trails of the 1930s. Unlike more modern trails—straight and wide, like Ripcord, or Stein’s Run, or Spring Fling—those old trails were narrow, winding, and often offcamber. The men who cut the trails by hand more or less followed paths of least resistance, according to the contours of the mountainside. And to a degree, so it is with Castlerock, but calling the ’Rock an anachronism is only partly true; it has a touch of haute moderne in its character, too, as a natural terrain park of manifold freeskiing possibilities. Rummaging in the trees, going airborne, executing all sorts of trickery—this large and singular patch of mountain turf triggers nouveau creativity and imagination. Castlerock is simultaneously old school and new school and enigmatically one of a kind, with at least a thousand different options on its dance card. Castlerock chair.


Peter Oliver is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in many national and Canadian publications. He lives in Warren.





CHAM 2.0 “ CHAM 2.OH MY...”


photo: John Atkinson


Stop in and try the next generation of all mountain skis from Dynastar.


The Mountain Wakes Up Skinning up and skiing down as the sun rises— and the mountain crew prepares for the day. BY CANDICE WHITE


pull into the parking lot at Lincoln Peak just before 6 a.m. on a late March morning. The sun has not yet risen, but the glow from the east onto the mountain signals its imminent arrival. The Clay Brook hotel presides, like a sleeping giant, at the base of the mountain—

no discernible movement other than a steady cloud of steam rising from the exhaust pipes of the roof, and a solitary white truck slowly pulling away after its morning delivery. I scan the lot, a little unnerved by the amount of open space in a lot that’s usually jammed. Rows The author heading up the mountain before sunrise at Lincoln Peak.

and rows of parking, empty, but for a handful of cars. The reserved spaces, too, are vacant— those for the handicapped, for 80+ skiers, for ten-minute parking, and for permitted employees.

As much as I love the communal spirit of skiing with friends and family, our earlymorning ski down Snowball and Spring Fling is of another caliber entirely. Making slow, rounded tele turns on freshly groomed snow in the morning light, practically alone, is a meditative and spiritual experience.

The author skiing down Spring Fling. The resort unveiled a new hiking and skinning policy going into the 2014–2015 season, and I was here before sunrise to take advantage of that. The prior policy prohibited skinning and hiking except on a specified trail during the mountain’s operating hours; the new policy— updated in response to customer requests—allows hikers access to more of the mountain, as long as they adhere to certain parameters. For instance, they are directed to use designated trails within certain hours before the mountain opens and after it closes for the day, and they are asked to park in places that don’t interfere with the morning plows. (Sugarbush’s new skinning policy can be found at sugarbush. com/discover/winter-trail-use-policy.) Seeing as it has not snowed in several days, and it is a late-season, midweek day, I park right in front of Clay Brook. I open the trunk and maneuver my telemark boots on, lacing and buckling. I grab my skis, whose bottoms are already covered with orange felt skins that transform downhill skis into uphill climbing tools. I hoist my backpack and walk up Gate House Lane toward the mountain. There is something magical about seeing a place that can hold as many as 10,000 skiers on a busy day absolutely empty. Not one person interrupts my vista of the base area—ski racks standing empty, dim lights glowing from inside the base lodge, the courtyard cleared of snow, everything expectantly awaiting guests. (Had it snowed last night, plow drivers would have been here by 5 a.m. to clear the courtyard and the main parking lots.) It’s like a stage before the curtain opens. I step into my bindings next to the stone statue of Allyn, a Sugarbush skier who died young, immortalized by the lodge that bears her name at the top of Gadd Peak. I wear a headlamp, though it’s not really necessary; the sky is brightening by the minute. As I slide past Valley House Lodge, I meet up with my friend John, an experienced back-country skier and longtime coach. He can’t resist giving me a few pointers. “Raise your chin and look up the mountain where you want to go. Keep your poles behind you on the steeps and push your hips forward,” he encourages. We ascend, and I anxiously glance over my shoulder to see when the sun will rise, not wanting to miss it. We pass by just before the lift maintenance crew heads out to the mountain’s various lift terminals, where they begin their systematic checks. They first conduct a visual inspection, checking every safety switch and chair position around the terminal. Each lift terminal has between twenty and thirty switches in a safety circuit, allowing the crew 34 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

to test items like stop gates, stop buttons, and stopping distances. If all is clear, the lift is powered up and a new round of tests begins—stop the lift, slow the lift, take it from full speed to normal speed, take it from full speed to a full stop, and measure the time and distance of each variation. It is a formulaic method that requires documentation at each step. Every lift must operate within its own specific set of parameters. During the winter, for example, Super Bravo comes to a complete stop in eight seconds and twenty-one feet, and it should operate within those same guidelines every day the chair is in operation (give or take a small percentage). This data is logged and stored in the lift shack, ready for a state inspector—who may show up unannounced—to review at a moment’s notice. When I think of a lift maintenance mechanic, I imagine someone who is excited and challenged by machines and the manifold parts that fit together to make them run. Earlier in the week I had talked with Scott Tuttle, who ran the lift maintenance crew last year. He mentioned “stops and switches” and “tripping and clearing,” all of which relate to the detailed checklist each crew member follows to start a lift each morning. He patiently answered my questions, explaining things like how often the crew runs a lift on its auxiliary motor (once a month) and how long they allow a lift to be stopped before calling for an emergency evacuation by ski patrol (fifteen minutes). I don’t think of a lift mechanic as someone who’s inspired by nature. But that is my mistake. One of the lasting details Scott shared was this: “We see the best sunrises.”


s the lift maintenance team deploys across the mountain, John and I crest the top of Snowball, just past the entrance to Eden Woods, and see the light change in front of us. I turn around to see a giant red-orange ball rising and brightening the eastern sky. We continue our ascent and see the lines of corduroy in the snow ahead of us now illuminated, accentuating the work of last night’s grooming team. (The groomers work the Spring Fling side of Lincoln Peak at night, the Gate House side in the morning; at Mt. Ellen, they groom Inverness, North Star, and Cruiser first, and the upper mountain in the morning. These schedules dictate which trails are designated for uphill travel, so as to avoid human-machine confrontation.) The lines are perfect other than a series of figure eights that extend down the trail—a fireside dinner at Allyn’s Lodge the night before had ended with a guided moonlit ski down Snowball and Spring Fling.

John and I end our skin at the Valley House terminal at the top of the Mall. We remove our skis, and then our skins, and roll and pack them into our bags. I zip up my jacket, change my gloves, and drink some water. Snapping back into my bindings, I linger on the view of the Valley House Double and recognize that soon the old lift, built in 1960, will be a fading memory. As much as I love the communal spirit of skiing with friends and family, our early-morning ski down Snowball and Spring Fling is of another caliber entirely. Making slow, rounded tele turns on freshly groomed snow in the morning light, practically alone, is a meditative and spiritual experience. I am reminded of Scott’s comment about the sunrise. And it is not just seeing the sunrise, but seeing it from atop a mountain almost alone, that makes me feel as if this experience were uniquely mine.


s lift maintenance clears each lift, the dispatcher is notified and the lift operations team steps in to take the reins. Lift operators arrive at around 6:45 a.m. for an 8 a.m. mountain opening, 7:45 for a 9 a.m. opening. The team that works the fixed-grip lifts—Valley House, Heaven’s Gate, Castlerock, and Village Double at Lincoln Peak, and Summit, Inverness, and Sunny Double at Mt. Ellen— tends to rotate between lifts throughout the week. Teams working on the detachable express quads—Super Bravo and Gate House at Lincoln Peak, Slide Brook, Green Mountain Express, and North Ridge at Mt. Ellen—stay with one lift throughout the season. I meet Roger, a lift operator with noticeably blue eyes, outside the Gate House lift shack. He invites me inside, taking me through the complex control panel of lights and buttons that allows lift operators to observe, slow down, speed up, or stop a lift at any time throughout the day. We go back outside, cross over the lift ramp, and head to the motor room, crawling up a straight metal ladder until we reach the top of the lift terminal. I feel like a bird, perched inside the control room, observing the brain of a complex machine that can carry as many as 2,400 people 3,868 feet to the midpoint of North Lynx Peak in an hour. I feel naive. In my more than forty years of skiing, I have never given much thought to the massive machines housed inside the terminals that take us safely up the mountain. The lift maintenance team, on the other hand, spends their entire day paying meticulous attention to them—twice a day they crawl up the ladders and observe, using infrared guns to check the temperatures of gear boxes, motors, and oil—looking for baseline information that would alert them to any changes in the machines. Back on the ground, ski patrol readies to head out for morning trail checks—skiing or riding every open trail and marking with bamboo any areas they deem hazardous. Arriving at their locker room about an hour before the first lifts open to guests, patrol members boot up while sitting on wooden benches, and assemble their packs, which include a mélange of the following: radios, lunch, water, extra layers, trauma shears for cutting items like jackets and gauze, Leathermen for binding adjustments, Band-Aids, abdominal pads, CPR masks, and goggle shammies. This morning, the guys are yakking about the end-of-the-year dinner at the Common Man on Saturday night—and about babies (the assistant patrol director has just had his first). Colin Cascadden, a red-haired veteran patrol member who has served as patrol director since 2008, saunters to the front of the room and stops in front of a large whiteboard calendar. He talks the group through

A groomer making his final morning passes. their assignments for the day, spanning a wide range of trail work and supply delivery, which they will work on after trail checks and in between calls to assist skiers and riders. “Patrick, Jared, and Kehoe, you’re on the ’Rock today. You’re going to need to grab some water to bring to the shack, and do some tree trimming on Rumble. I also want you to check the snow surface on the catwalk [the area leading to the lift] and if necessary, do some shoveling.” It is late in the season, and patrol is working hard to keep Castlerock open as long as possible, which today means moving snow from a more plentiful area to a bare spot.


ifts are spinning, patrol is dispersed on the mountain, and the groomers are resting quietly outside the lift maintenance garage. Since 6:45, the morning facilities crew has been shoveling, salting, and sanding all entries and exits, and opening up base-area buildings. (Their evening counterparts worked until 2 a.m. cleaning the building interiors and removing trash.) The food and beverage teams are in motion, making coffee and preparing breakfast and lunch items. The smells of brewing Mountain Grove coffee and frying bacon waft through the air in Gate House Lodge, reminding me that I am overdue for breakfast. I follow the scents up the stairs, take a tray, and make my way to the small stack of foil-wrapped breakfast sandwiches. I take one with sausage, pour a black coffee, and head to an empty table lit by the sun streaming in through the windows. I look around and see some familiar faces—skiers who log over 100 days a year; groomers, snowmakers, and mountain operations guys who have already put in several hours of work this morning. Though I’m a little weary, I feel invigorated by the memory of my morning. I hear a ping from my phone and see that John has sent me some photos. I slowly review them, as well as the few I took—the faint orange glow in the eastern sky streaming through trees, the rising sun just cresting a mountain, and the bright pinkish tint on the ski trail. I peel open the foil on my breakfast sandwich and take a bite. The tastes of sausage, egg, cheese, and English muffin mingle together. I want to hold on to that taste, just like I want to hold on to the morning, which somehow feels like it was all my own. Candice White has written for publications that include Vermont Life, Mothering online, and Seven Days Vermont. She has worked at Sugarbush since 2008.

2015/16 35

After the storm ...

A frosty morning at Heaven’s Gate.


ugarbush’s lift maintenance crew—about a dozen men,

freezes, it cannot turn. If the cable travels through a frozen

working full-time year round—start their day at the

sheave, it can saw right through the entire sheave, or the cable

mountain by 6:30 a.m. Shortly after arriving, they mount

itself. To prevent this from happening, crew members must climb

snowmobiles and embark on solo journeys to lift terminals at the

the lift towers to hammer the ice away from the sheaves. This

base and summit of each mountain. Depending on the time of

is a high-stakes process that can take half the day to complete.

year, these rides may be in heavy snow or slick ice, amid sub-zero

Conveyor lifts, like the Schoolhouse Lift and the Welcome Mat,

temperatures, and in the dark.

are driven by a drum motor. Ice buildup on the drum can cause

If the weather pattern has included rain followed by colder

it to freeze, thus blocking the conveyor’s movement. In this case,

temperatures, the crew may need to deal with ice and the myriad

lift maintenance crew members must thaw the drum by locking

problems it causes. In the terminals, team members conduct a

out the power supply, dropping down into a basement-like pit (the

visual check first, and then move on to check each safety switch.

size of a commercial refrigerator) located directly below each

Wet snow or frozen water will cause switches to freeze, requiring

terminal, manually scraping the ice off the part of the drum they

a crew member to take the switch apart by hand (gloves don’t

can reach, climbing back out of the pit, and turning the power

work for this), thaw and dry it (again, with bare hands), and then

back on. They repeat this process, shutting the power on and off,

rebuild it piece by piece (switches can have up to six parts).

dropping down into and climbing out of the pit, until the drum is

Crew members also check for warning lights, indicating a

completely deiced.

problem outside the terminal relating to the chairs, the towers, or

If the weather pattern includes heavy snowfall (which often

the cable. Chairs on a detachable quad come off the haul rope as

motivates skiers to start their day early), the lift maintenance

they enter the terminal and reattach to the haul rope as they leave.

team’s world becomes more complicated. It can be difficult for

(This allows the chairs to slow down for loading and unloading.)

the team to navigate their snowmobiles through the heavy snow

Each chair is fastened to the haul rope by a grip, on top of which

to reach the terminals. Once they have arrived, they need to shovel

sits a traction plate that moves the chair around the terminal.

out the area beneath the chair to allow safe passage. Then, every

These traction plates may freeze, preventing chairs from traveling

chair needs to be swept clear of snow before guests can load.

through the terminal at the correct speed. In a freeze, the team

For conveyor lifts, the pits located below each terminal must be

(which doubles from two to four) must manually remove the ice

shoveled out each morning of operation, and with a snowfall, the

from each traction plate by pounding it off as the chairs enter the

amount of snow needing to be removed increases.

terminals. This process requires repeated stopping and starting

The next time you find yourself (impatiently?) waiting for

of the lift until each traction plate on every chair is cleared. A

a lift to open, think of a lift maintenance crew member high

freeze also changes the spacing on a lift, requiring re-spacing to

up on a lift tower, holding on with one hand and smacking a

ensure that chairs are a proper distance from each other.

hammer on the sheave with the other. He’s been up there for

A frozen sheave is yet another complication that can affect both detachable and fixed-grip lifts. When a sheave (or tower wheel) 36 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

some time, diligently working as safely and quickly as he can to get the lift spinning. —C.W.



HOW VERMONT RIDES. FOR FARE, SCHEDULE AND ROUTE INFO, PLEASE VISIT GMTARIDE.ORG Copyright © 2015 Chittenden County Transportation Authority

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r e v Ne

e t a L o To k, and

brea ecade d o w er a t es aft


son st les her fir



slo on the k c a b r gets A skie OUSE ACKH T S Y BY AM


t’s 1986, and I’m standing halfway down the big middle trail at the Camden Snow Bowl, on the coast of Maine. I’m twenty, and it’s my first time skiing. My boyfriend is coaching me down the

hill—never the best idea, even on the best of days and in the best of relationships. It’s freezing cold, the snow is icy, and it’s pouring down rain. I’m wearing jeans. While there are beginner trails around the edges of the mountain, the main way down to the bottom is over intermediate terrain. To me as a beginner on a rainy day, the intermediate Windjammer looks like a double black diamond. I make it down, but it isn’t graceful, it isn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t fun. I slide much of the way, fighting the mountain. I find the mountain’s fall line by falling down it. By the end, I’m soaking wet. As an introduction to the sport of skiing, it’s less than ideal. I ski two

more days between then and 1992, and then I give it up.

The author, working on her turns.

Fast-forward to January 2015. I’ve been to Sugarbush numerous times over the past few years—but never during the winter. This time, I’ll be at the mountain while the Snowlogic guns are spraying snow, Super Bravo’s spinning, the pub’s hopping, and the grounds are filled with skiers. It’s time for me to get back on the slopes. After fueling myself with a crepe at Skinny Pancake in the Farmhouse, I head upstairs to check in at the Ski & Ride School and rent equipment. First major difference from skiing in 1992: my skis look like baby versions of the ones I remember. The guy at the desk tells me not to panic—they may look really short, but they’ll help me turn more easily, and learn more quickly. Tamping down my worry, I throw on my goggles and a helmet (another change since the last time I skied) and head out to the blue flag outside the Farmhouse to meet my instructor and my group. My group, it turns out, on this quiet weekday, is just me. I tell my

M.A. giving some on-snow turning advice to the author. instructor, long-time Sugarbusher M.A. Raymond, my history—no skiing in more than two decades, no lessons ever—and she takes me through the basics. This is the tip of the ski; this is the tail. These are the edges; this is the bottom. So far, so good.

The author with award-winning instructor M.A. Raymond on the Village Double.

LESSONS FOR BEGINNERS FIRST TIMER TO LIFE TIMER PROGRAM A three-day beginner lesson series with a free All Mountain Season Pass (a $2,244 value) upon completion. Program includes three days of beginner-specific ski or snowboard equipment rentals and beginner lessons that focus on gaining comfort with the equipment, sliding on snow for the first time, making first turns, and using lifts. Ages 13+. $255 (first-time skiers and riders only). NEXT TIMER PROGRAM A three-day lesson package designed to help skiers and riders continue their progress, gain confidence, and discover more of the mountain. Program includes lift tickets and rental equipment. Ages 13+. $340 for First Timer to Life Timer graduates; $360 for everyone else. MICRO, MINI, AND SUGAR BEARS Micro Bear programs (age 3) introduce young children to skiing. Programs include time on- and off-snow, depending on the child’s stamina. Mini Bear (ages 4–6) and Sugar Bear (ages 7–12) programs teach both skiing and snowboarding. All programs place children in groups based on ability. $95–$130/half day; $130–$160/ full day. (Lower prices reflect non-holiday, weekday, and advancedreservation rates.) Details at For reservations and more information, call the Sugarbush Ski & Ride School at 888.651.4827. 42 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

We ride the Welcome Mat to the top and look down the soft slope of First Time. M.A. talks about how to turn. She wants me to cross the mountain with my skis as parallel as possible, using very little wedge as I bring my skis around. She wants me to keep my hips balanced above my skis. She talks about using turns to take speed away from the descent, and after she demonstrates I follow her down the mountain, turn after turn after turn, gaining confidence and losing fear. When we go up next, she talks about skiing back and forth across the line of the mountain, about working with the mountain, not against it. About gathering strength by feeling grounded to the snow and the frozen earth below the skis, while still trying to float lightly above. I’m concentrating hard as I make my way down, and she has to remind me to breathe. But it feels fantastic when I relax and get it right. And then I graduate to the Village Double lift, and we go up to Easy Rider. A colorful pack of Mini Bears—the four- to six-year-old ski students—tumble off a cart being hauled by a snowmobile in front of us, and suddenly I have another set of teachers. They’re light on their skis, their small bodies balanced naturally above their boots. They’re grounded to the snow but still floating above. And they’re not worried—so I’m not worried either, anymore. M.A. and I follow the Mini Bears down, and we’re all working with the mountain, turning gently across the line. Had I taken a lesson like this back in 1986, I’d have been skiing ever since. But it’s never too late to start. And this time, I can’t wait to get back up on the mountain again. Amy Stackhouse is an editor living in Maine. She has worked for the American Prospect, the Atlantic, and the Washington Monthly, and is the production editor of Sugarbush Magazine.

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One man’s dream for his children becomes a reality for an entire community. BY PETER OLIVER

bout six years ago, Reid and Laurie Greenberg moved with their three young children to the threshold of paradise, to take up residence on a patch of idyllic turf. They could walk out their front door to see layers of mist drifting over lake waters, illuminated by the sun rising above the low mountains to the east. Waxwings, woodpeckers, osprey, and bald eagles would be going about their daily chores, and migrating ducks and geese would circle overhead. Laurie would head out for a morning run “and just suck in the majesty of the view,” according to Reid. In the lake’s waters, trout as large as twenty inches long flourished. Beavers could be seen collecting material to use in various construction projects. In the evening, Reid and Laurie might head out for a short paddle to a tiny island to enjoy the alpenglow of the setting sun followed by the darkening of the skies and the gradual emergence of a starry firmament. It was all “pretty magical,” says Reid.

That paradisiacal place was Blueberry Lake, at the foot of the Roxbury range in the southeastern corner of the Mad River Valley. The Greenbergs have since moved on to live elsewhere in the Valley, but the lake remains for them and for hundreds of other Valley residents and visitors an exceptional—and magically beautiful— recreational asset. As natural phenomena go, however, Blueberry Lake is almost literally a babe in the woods. It is barely thirty-five years old, the brainchild of Lenord Robinson, now eighty-five, whose family has lived near the lake site for several decades. For more than twenty years, Robinson had been thinking of creating a lake on a tract of marshy land that lay cradled in a high basin beneath the Roxbury ridge. Although he had abstract (and never realized) ideas for revenuegenerating development, his primary motivation was to provide a space for his nine children to fish and swim. But he was also driven by a primal, deeply imbedded urge simply to build something cool. “I think I always had water on the brain,” says Robinson. “And I like to build things.” Robinson partnered with the out-of-state investor Jack Keir in the late 1970s in the purchase of hundreds of acres, including the proposed lake site, at which point the creation of a forty-five-acre lake might have seemed fairly straightforward. Get the state and federal permits, build a dam in the right location, let the lake fill in. But as often happens with land transactions and development, it was a complicated legal and financial process, one that did not go Robinson’s way. When he partnered with Keir, says Robinson, “it seemed like a perfect match. I had the [earth-moving] equipment, he had the money.” But Robinson and Keir were almost literally on different pages. Not surprisingly, Keir required that lawyers draw up paperwork, while Robinson wanted to do things in the old-fashioned manner—“I had always done business this way,” he says, extending an arm as if for a handshake. But eventually an agreement on paper was reached, and the new partners proceeded. When a test hole dug at the original dam site envisioned by geologists and engineers produced what Robinson calls a “gusher,” the site of the dam was relocated nearly 1,500 feet away, to where it is today, on the lake’s northwestern edge. Peat as deep as twenty-five feet was moved from the dam site, and tree stumps were bulldozed to build a base layer, to be covered with peat and sand, for the island that would later become the Greenbergs’ sunset spot. The lake, says Robinson, filled up in surprisingly rapid order after the dam was completed, in the winter of 1981. Filled by numerous springs, the lake was fully formed in just a matter of months. “It was the cleanest lake in the country as far as I was concerned,” says Robinson proudly. “It was all spring fed.” But if the lake itself was finished business, determining who owned it was not. After various legal negotiations and an encounter in court, Keir ended up with full ownership of the land. That outcome, says Robinson, was “a bitter pill to swallow,” although he was able to hold on to land just down the road, where he had laid out the trail network of the Blueberry Lake Cross Country Center. < August is blueberry season at the lake.

A Women’s Wednesday Night Ride, organized by the Mad River Riders. Hannah Flynn leads the way along the Tootsie Roll trail at Blueberry Lake. Eventually, in 2001, Keir’s family sold 370 acres—the lion’s share of the property previously owned by Keir—to the Trust for Public Land for $1.1 million, and the U.S. Forest Service acquired the land from the TPL for about the same amount a few months later. While the building of the lake may have been a financial Waterloo for Robinson, he has no regrets about what he created. “I drive by it almost every day, and it pleases me to see all the people enjoying it. It was something I had to do,” he says, sounding almost as if he had been prodded into action by some mystical force of divine providence. The acquisition of the land by the Forest Service in 2001 was greeted by Vermont’s political leaders—U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Jim Jeffords and Representative Bernie Sanders—with a chorus of joyful hallelujahs. “This land will make a great addition to the National Forest,” said Jeffords. Sanders chimed in: “The protection of Blueberry Lake is good for the people of Vermont.” “Protection,” however, would not mean a door slammed entirely shut for future use of the land. It was a concept to be applied somewhat

loosely, in keeping with the Forest Service’s somewhat vague mission (“to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests”) for public land use. The Forest Service acquisition was a means “to stave off potential development around the lake,” according to Whitney Hatch, who was the New England regional director for the Trust for Public Land at the time. But, Hatch said, the lake was a valuable resource “for public use and enjoyment.” In other words, the lake would become protected from development, but not from public use. Since then, the Forest Service has stated that its twin objectives for the land are to provide “better access and better recreational opportunities,” according to Holly Knox, district recreation program manager for the Forest Service office in Rochester. (Knox also acknowledges that, while unlikely, future logging on the land cannot be ruled out.) The main focus of the first objective has been simply to improve parking areas at the main north and south access points for the lake. The main focus of the second objective has been far more compelling: the creation of a multi-use mountain bike trail system, primarily on the land to the west of the lakeshore. Over the last few years, the Forest Service has teamed with the Mad River Riders, the Vermont Mountain Biking Association, the Mad River Valley Planning District, and Sustainable Trailworks, a Vermont company that specializes in the design and construction of multi-use trails. Sugarbush President Win Smith was also a key partner in the project. It has been, by all accounts, a job well done; the first phase of the trail network—about five miles—earned awards from the Forest Service as well as the International Mountain Biking Association. “I wish all of our trails could be built this sustainably,” says a USFS representative. Sustainability, however, was just one objective of the trail network, and a somewhat secondary one at that. The main objective was to create trails that would be accessible and fun for a wide variety of users. The Blueberry Lake trails, relatively “nontechnical” in 2015/16 47

mountain biking terms, filled an important void in the overall Mad River Valley mountain biking picture, according to Atkinson. The Mad River Rippers, a group of young and often novice mountain bikers, had “no place to go without Blueberry Lake,” he says. Now here was a relatively easy set of trails that kids and families could enjoy, and not just as mountain bikers; according to Atkinson, about 50 percent of all users are on foot, whether in sneakers or snowshoes. So successful was the first phase in the trail-building effort that three more phases are now in the works. A big piece of the puzzle is expected to be a trail down to Route 100 and Warren Falls, and an around-thelake trail is a future (though challenging to

realize) possibility. But if the trail network has been a terrific recreational addition to the Valley, it is only a part of the overall recreational asset that the lake and its environs represent. In the entire Valley, stretching twenty-five miles from Granville Gulf in the south to Moretown in the north, there is no body of water comparable to Blueberry Lake. There are other mountain biking trails in the Valley, but for stand-up paddleboarding, flat-water kayaking, still-water fishing, and swimming in comfortably warm water (thanks to the relative shallowness of the lake), where else are you going to go? The lake is a popular site for picnics, for

Ansley and Matt Emelett practicing some mountain biking technique. barbecues, for outings with the family canine, and for birding, especially in the spring and fall. According to the Mad Birders, migrating waterfowl include mergansers, scoters, loons, and long-tailed ducks, with American redstarts, northern parulas, and magnolia warblers also frequent visitors. And sometimes the lake has surprises up its sleeve. In January 2014, when the natural snow cover was thin, the best recreational entertainment in the Mad River Valley was cross-country skiing on the frozen lake, covered by an inch or two of pliable snow that made for skiing conditions comparable to those on a well-groomed trail. That added one more way to enjoy the lake for the Greenberg family, who were out there frequently as enthusiastic cross-country skiers. So from Lenord Robinson’s water on the brain, this is what has come to pass. It can be thought of as something so grand as a piece of paradise or something as down-toearth as a place to grill burgers on a warm summer evening. It is, simply, a beautiful body of water in exquisite surroundings. Blueberry Lake may be new, but it’s hard to imagine the Valley without it. < Lenord’s Loop trail at Blueberry Lake.






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We create spirits that celebrate local producers and the sustainable ethics that characterize the craft movement. All of our non-GMO grains are sourced regionally from farmers and orchards and we use Vermont-grown ingredients when available. The sugar for our rums is fair-trade certified. Our focus is on distilling spirits with character. Mad River Distillers produces bourbon, rye, rum and apple brandy.

Tastings Wednesday-Sunday 12-6pm at the corner of Rt 17 and Rt 100 Mad River Distillers / 156 Cold Springs Farm Road / Warren, Vermont 05674 / 802-496-6973 / 50 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

Courting Success Two days of tennis instruction in one beautiful Valley equals redemption on the court. By Katie Bacon


y husband, Mark, used to be afraid of my backhand. For the first five years or so of our marriage, we’d play tennis on weekends or on trips, and I could often end a point by hitting a strong, angled

cross-court backhand that he couldn’t get to, even though he always tried. Those shots could not have felt more satisfying, with that deep thwack off your racquet that only happens when you hit the ball in the right place, at the right time, and with pace. Then we had kids and stopped playing as much, and I lost my best shot. For eleven years now, despite lessons here and there, it’s been unreliable, either popping up too high or going into the net. Worse, it never feels right when I hit it:

The author working on her lefty backhand.

the resonant thwack has been replaced by a tinny punch.

So when I went to camp for two days at Sugarbush in June through New England Tennis Holidays (NETH), it was with the hope that I could finally reclaim my long-lost shot, while working on the rest of my game and enjoying late spring in the Valley. After starting off the day with coffee, berries, and a sausage, egg, and cheddar sandwich at Timbers (lodging at Clay Brook and meals are included in the program), I headed over to Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center (SHaRC) for the 9 a.m. start. Each day would be five hours of playing: three before lunch, two after. There were nine participants—all varying shades of intermediate—and three coaches: Kurt Grabher, the founder of New England Tennis Holidays; Curt Johnson, a Montpelier native who has been head pro for NETH for thirteen years; and Dave Hullett, a California transplant who has been coaching with Grabher for fifteen years.

video together, Kurt told me, “You’re making the balls look like they’re out of your range because you’re moving so much. You are stepping and committing too early.” Seeing it on the screen in front of me, I was able to understand much more clearly how the NETH mantra of calm, quiet, and square could help me with my game. Back out on the court, we worked on our volleys and approaches. Two people started on the baseline, and tried to close in with each successive shot. Another person played net on the other side, and tried to hit the ball back deep and to the middle of the court (the highest percentage shot). One of the participants, a woman from the Boston area who was there with three friends, hit a stinging passing shot, low over the net. Curt called her in. “Come over here and look at this. You’re giving me goose bumps! You stopped, you set, you hit, and you drove it home.”

Soon we headed to lunch, at We started off with some Hogan’s Pub, with views over the groundstrokes, three quick hits as Sugarbush golf course and the we each shuffled across the court. mountains beyond. After three Most were hitting forehands, but hours on the court, all of us felt like as a lefty, I was hitting backhands; we deserved our meal; some went as usual, some of my shots were for cheeseburgers made with local going into the net; others were beef from Neill Farm, others for sailing long. Kurt stopped us and an Asian fish taco or a roast turkey The author with instructor Dave Hullett. brought us in. “You are spending club. During the high season, your time running around, not lunches alternate between Hogan’s Whichever piece of advice it was, my preparing for your shot. What I and Castlerock Pub. (Dinners rotate want is for you to be calm, quiet, backhand started to click. Throughout among Timbers, the Hideaway, the and square.” Instead of taking Elusive Moose, Common Man, and the rest of the day, through drills and Terra Rossa.) Over lunch, Kurt told the racquet back (often too far back), he explained, the first groundstroke practice and games, I kept us about the history of NETH, which movement should be a small turn has three locations in addition to of the shoulders, which brings the on thinking of the sword-in-the-sheath Sugarbush: North Conway and racquet back to its proper place. image as a way to get my racquet down Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, Then put the racquet out with a and, in the winter, Vero Beach, firm wrist, and with the strings where it needed to be. Florida. Kurt started his coaching square—pointed where you want career at Sugarbush back in the the ball to go. “The ball is only on your strings for a millisecond: it’s late 1970s, left to found NETH in North Conway, and brought NETH to all about the contact point,” he said. “It’s the holy grail of tennis.” At Sugarbush six years ago, enticed by the combination of the mountain’s different points during camp, Curt and Dave each expressed their own tennis facilities, its beautiful new lodging (Clay Brook opened in 2006), take on how to improve. Curt told me, “As a group, the big thing we try and the Valley’s array of recreational and restaurant choices. The to get people to do is actually less. We want people to calm down, take Sugarbush camp (unlike the ones at North Conway and Waterville Valley) shorter swings, and hit a cleaner ball, with balance and steadiness.” goes from late May continuously through mid-October, and participants But it’s Dave’s advice that I think will turn out to be my go-to quick fix can choose any combination of days, from two to seven. (NETH runs when I start thinking too much about my shots: “Do you know what the lessons and clinics at Sugarbush during the rest of the year too.) NETH four most important words in tennis are? Hit the damn ball!” at Sugarbush has been ranked among the top four tennis camps in the After some volley drills working on this idea of finding the right contact point, we got to what, for me, was the part of camp I was most worried about: being videotaped and then having my strokes dissected. Kurt stood behind each of us as we hit a series of volleys, shadowing our strokes. At first I couldn’t figure out what he was doing, but when I saw the video, it was crystal clear: each time I hit a ball, he, behind me, had prepared for the same ball perhaps a half second earlier. While I looked like I was dancing and bobbing (flailing?) around the court, his movements were small but efficient. When watching the 52 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

world each year, according to Tennis Resorts Online, and number one in New England. Kurt credits this in part to the experience of his staff. While many camps tend to hire college students just for the summer, Kurt’s focus is on finding teachers who are both good players in their own right and experienced in coaching the type of players who come to NETH. “We coach from an adult’s point of view; it’s different from coaching kids.” Kurt and his wife, Clare, a former professional tennis player, were very deliberate about NETH’s name and what it conveyed. “This is meant to be a holiday, not a boot camp. We’re not here to beat

you up; we’re here to enjoy ourselves and learn tennis.” Dave put it another way: “We’re not prepping you for the U.S. Open. We are trying to make the game a little easier and more fun.” When the end of the tennis day came, two hours later, I did still have energy to take a hike on a trail up Lincoln Peak, or play a match set up for me by one of the pros, or work out on one of the machines at SHaRC. But The decisive backhand shot. instead, I decided to take the “holiday” part of NETH to heart and spend time reading my book in the outside hot tub at Clay Brook before exploring the shops and cafés of Waitsfield. If day one was volleys, day two was groundstrokes: my chance to try to address my backhand.

TENNIS IN THE VALLEY: THEN AND NOW Back in the day, in the late 1970s and early ’80s, when John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors were duking it out on the courts and the popularity of tennis in the U.S. was soaring, the Mad River Valley was something of a tennis mecca. John Gardiner opened the first big East Coast tennis camp right by the Sugarbush Inn: twelve clay courts, with an indoor pool and water slide across the

But first, we examined my forehand, which I’d thought was working pretty well. In the video, though, Curt showed me how instead of turning my shoulders (along with my core) and bringing both hands back together, I was letting my hands separate—a habit, he explained, that lessens both the power and the consistency of the shot. (I know that I will never forget his advice, since he told me that my hand was wrongly coming out in front, as if I were a member of Diana Ross and the Supremes singing “Stop! In the Name of Love.”)

road. (Gardiner, who had several camps around the country, was

As we watched the video of me hitting my backhand, he had a couple of specific pieces of advice. “Your racquet is too horizontal. You should be coming uphill to the ball, which gives a little more margin for error. Think of your racquet starting out as the sword down in its sheath.” He also talked to me about thinking of turning my shoulders with me as I completed my shot. This, again, would help me involve my core and strengthen my play. Later, Dave asked me to think about loosening the grip of my left hand a bit so that the shot could be more of a righthanded forehand than a backhand pulled by my dominant hand.

Nine hard courts (three indoor, six outdoor) were built at the

Whichever piece of advice it was, my backhand started to click. Throughout the rest of the day, through drills and groundstroke practice and games, I kept on thinking of the sword-in-the-sheath image as a way to get my racquet down where it needed to be. It was such a simple thing, but it worked. Later on, Curt told me that it’s exactly this sort of interaction on the court that keeps him coaching. “What I love about teaching tennis is how making a little change in someone’s game can make a big difference. Even after teaching for more than twenty years, it’s very gratifying seeing someone get better and the enjoyment they get out of that.” Sure enough, when Mark and I were able to head out to play on a court in our neighborhood the weekend after camp, my backhand had returned from its eleven-year hiatus. After he watched a shot whiz by him, out of reach, he asked, “Do you think next time we could go to tennis camp together?”

known for attracting illustrious guests, including Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, Cary Grant, and Eva Gabor, who stayed at his camp in Carmel, California.) The Australian tennis champion Ken Rosewall was head pro at the Sugarbush camp, and tennis professionals who played on the circuit trained in the Valley too, including Clare Grabher (back when she was married to fellow tennis pro Mike Fishbach and ranked in the top 100 in the world). mountain in 1979, and four clay courts were added a few years later. In addition, players took to the courts at the Bridges Tennis Club, the Tucker Hill Inn, and the Alpine Inn. Curt Johnson, who used to drive from Montpelier to play matches in the Valley, recalls that as he drove through the Valley, past the Sugarbush Inn, and up to the club at the mountain, all the courts he passed would be full. “The courts were so beautiful, with the mountain views. I remember thinking, This is a tennis Xanadu!” But, in the Valley and the rest of the country, tennis has declined in popularity, from a peak of 50 million players down to 25 million now. The courts by the Sugarbush Inn and the Alpine Inn have disappeared (along with the Alpine Inn itself); the courts at the Tucker Hill Inn have fallen into disuse. Still, along with the program at SHaRC (played on four outdoor and three indoor courts), there’s an active tennis program at the Bridges, which has clinics, round robins, tournaments, and lessons, as well as camps for kids, on their twelve courts. And people can always hit around on the courts behind the Warren Elementary School. Even if the tennis crowds are gone, the beautiful clay courts with the mountains in the background still exist: tennis Xanadu, there for the taking. — K.B. 2015/16 53


Damon and Sara Gadd, along with Jack Murphy and Lixi Fortna, open Sugarbush Resort. Sugarbush boasts the “greatest vertical rise in the East” thanks to its top-to-bottom gondola.


The resort installs a Carlevaro & Savio double chair lift, opening up the legendary Castlerock area. This area was immediately known for its expert ski terrain. That reputation continues today.


With a newly rebuilt access road, a top-to-bottom gondola, a new Valley House chair lift, and varied terrain, Sugarbush quickly attracts throngs of New York glitterati. Vogue magazine dubs Sugarbush “Mascara Mountain” because of its glamorous guest list, including actress Kim Novak, the Kennedy clan, musician Skitch Henderson, and fashion designer Oleg Cassini.


Olympic Gold Medalist Stein Eriksen serves as director of the Sugarbush Ski School. Each Sunday afternoon he entertains the Sugarbush faithful with his signature flip on skis. Roy Cohen purchases Sugarbush (in 1977) and Glen Ellen (in 1979). The two areas join under the Sugarbush name. Glen Ellen is renamed Sugarbush North to reflect the union. (In 1995, it is again renamed Mt. Ellen.)

‘83 ‘84



‘64 ‘66

Chez Henri, a Parisian-style bistro, opens in what is to become historic Sugarbush Village.

Sugarbush is featured in Warren Miller’s film Ski a la Carte. Trails highlighted in the segment include a powdery Murphy’s Glades, Organgrinder, Birdland, and Middle Earth.

American Skiing Company purchases Sugarbush and makes major infrastructure investments including installing seven new lifts, three of which are detachable quads. The Slide Brook Express ferries skiers back and forth to newly renamed Mt. Ellen. Snowmaking improvements include a new 25-million-gallon pond and miles of pipe.


Warren Miller films local legends John Egan, Doug Lewis, Jesse Murphy, Sally Knight, and Seth Miller at Sugarbush for the film Snowriders.

‘01 ‘02 ‘06

Summit Ventures, a small group of local investors led by Win Smith, purchases Sugarbush.

Lincoln Peak Village opens to the public. The new facilities include Gate House Lodge and a luxury hotel and restaurant complex: Clay Brook and Timbers Restaurant. The new village is modeled on the traditional style of Vermont farmhouses, barns, and schoolhouses. Housing children’s programs and skier services, the Schoolhouse and Farmhouse open, rounding out the base facilities at Lincoln Peak Village.

‘13 ‘14


The Gate House area opens with a new double chair, spreading skiers around the mountain, opening up more beginner terrain, and allowing ski-to access to Sugarbush Village.

With a plan to operate as a four-season resort, Claneil Enterprises purchases the mountain, Sugarbush Inn, the racquet club, the golf course, and numerous condo and townhouse developments.


Summit Ventures begins to lay the groundwork for a new master plan for the resort that closely reflects the values and philosophies of the original owners, as well as the character and style of the Mad River Valley and Vermont.

Walt Elliott opens Glen Ellen Ski Area. Complete with Scotch-themed trail names, Glen Ellen claims “the greatest vertical descent in the East” with its tiered lifts to the 4,083-foot summit of Mt. Ellen.

Roy Cohen sells Sugarbush to ARA Service. ARA removes the three-person top-to-bottom gondola. Super Bravo and Heaven’s Gate chairs are installed and uphill capacity increases fourfold.

‘90 Three new chair lifts are installed at Mt. Ellen— including Green Mountain Express, at that time the fastest quad in the world, transporting skiers at 1,100 feet per minute.




Construction is completed on Rice Brook Residences, private homes linking Lincoln Peak Village to historic Sugarbush Village. Sugarbush purchases 414 low-energy snowmaking guns, completing a five-year, $5 million plan to upgrade the mountain’s snowmaking program. The original Valley House lift is replaced with a fixed-grip quad, more than doubling its uphill capacity. Construction begins on Gadd Brook Slopeside, sixteen private homes named after the resort’s founding family.


The Farmhouse

Rental Shop


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802.583.6504 2015/16 55


River >

Mad Libs Directions: Without revealing the subject of the story, one player (the “Reader”) asks the other players to give him/her words to fill in the blanks. When all the blanks have been filled, the Reader reads the story back to the other players.

THE LEGEND OF MURPHY MOOSE Sugarbush is part of the _____


___ __ Mountain National Forest, giving us

places to hike, bike, fish, camp, ski, ride, and ________ _ _. It is also home to action verb

many ______ _ _ __ animals such as bears, foxes, bobcats, ________ _

______ __, and

name of animal (pl.)


our favorite, Murphy Moose. No one is sure when Sugarbush visitors first saw Murphy. He has been spotted not only by ________ __ bikers, hikers, and golfers on ________ __ summer adjective


days, but also by skiers, riders, and snowshoers on ______ __ __ winter days. adjective

Murphy likes to eat ______

__ __ and gnaw on the bark of ________ __ maple trees. adjective

type of food

Murphy usually roams around Castlerock or ________ _

_ . Skiers often see

him in the morning when they are riding the

. Rumble, One of the

ski trail name noun

________ __ trails on the mountain, is one of Murphy’s favorite places. adjective

Murphy made national TV news in 2013 when the snow was so ________ __ it adjective

made it challenging for him to walk in the woods, even with his long ______

__ __! Instead, he traversed from Slide Brook to Castlerock on the

part of body (pl.)

ski trails at the top of ______

__ __. A video taken by

Sugarbush lift

shown on ________


late-night TV show

Murphy ________ _

name of relative



_ avoids people and cameras, and likes to hide behind

adverb ending in -ly

__ ______ _ _ as people schuss by him. If you ever see _____ ___ __ holes in the adjective

plural noun

snow, look around, those may be Murphy’s ______

__ __

part of body

lucky enough to see him, please Watch ________

_ _ and keep your distance.

adverb ending in -ly


prints! If you are


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snowman in your bed?

First, unscramble the letters below to form the words. Then, unscramble the letters in the circles to complete the answer to the question .



1. How do you know if there is a

SCRAMBLER SINEST NRU - - - - - - - RELESEP - - - - - - PGISNR GNLIF - - - - - - - - - LTIF INLE - - - - - - -


2. What do you call a deer with no eyes? 3. What do you call ten snowshoe hares hopping backwards through the snow together?

4. What do you get when you cross a vampire with a snowman?

HOW DO FROGS SKI POWDER? THEY - - - - - - , - - - - - -!

5. Why couldn’t the bicycle stand up? (1.) You wake up wet. (2.) I have no eye deer. (3.) A receding hare line. (4.) FROSTBITE! (5.) Because it was 2 tired.



family fun Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center (SHaRC) offers an array of

WINTER ACTIVITIES for kids of all ages.

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The Elusive Moose Pub & Eatery Come visit us at Lincoln Peak, right across from the Schoolhouse!

Built in 1839, this spirited country store combines an eclectic deli and bakery, an award winning wine shop, Vermont artisanal beer and plenty of local color. From penny candy to contemporary clothing and gifts...” • •

Open 363 1/2 days a year! Located 1 mile south of the Sugarbush Access Road off Route 100.

“Best One Stop Shopping in Vermont” – Yankee Magazine 802-496-3864


Full Service Butcher Shop

Also visit our other locations at the Burlington Waterfront, Downtown Montpelier and the Burlington International Airport. 60 Lake Street 89 Main Street Burlington Downtown Waterfront Montpelier Burlington International Airport #lovelocal

Join us for Dinner Specials beginning at 5:30pm everyday!

Sunday: International Food Night & Kids menu is half price Tuesday:Design Your Own Pasta Wednesday:BBQ Ribs & Chicken Thursday:50 Cent Wings (begins at 2pm) Friday: Bring on the Seafood! Saturday: Prime Rib Night Regular & children’s menu available. Beer specials every day! No reservations needed!

Breakfast: Thurs-Sat 8-11; Sun 8-11:30 Lunch: Tues-Sat: 11-2: Sun: 11:30-2 Grazing (Small Plates, Burgers & Sandwiches): Tues-Sun 2-5:30pm Dinner: Tues-Sun 5:30-9pm Bar open till?? Closed Mondays. 6163 Main St. Waitsfield, VT 05673 802.496.6444


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Fresh Seafood Gourmet Sandwiches Imported Fine Foods Beer Wine Full Selection of Vermont & Imported Cheeses


A diverse bar food menu with local Neill Farm burgers, creative sandwiches, wings, and an extensive Vermont craft beer menu. Open winter and summer for lunch and après when Super Bravo spins, and dinner on select nights. 60 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE


Open 7 Nights Food ‘til 10 Classic Tavern Open Late

Stay · Eat · Play 1428 Millbrook Rd (Rt 17) Waitsfield, VT 802.496.2322 ~





275 Main at the Pitcher Inn

Elegant farm-to-table cuisine and fine wine in a sophisticated setting. “This may be Vermont’s best restaurant,” writes the New York Times.



American Flatbread

Farm-to-table pizza baked in a primitive wood-fired earthen oven.



Big Picture Café & Theater

The Valley’s unofficial cultural center and café, open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.



The Butchery

Full-service butcher shop and fish market featuring local meats and Wood Mountain Fish.



Castlerock Pub

Classic Vermont-influenced pub menu with outstanding craft beverages. Open winter and summer when Super Bravo spins.



Chez Henri

Parisian bistrot in historic Sugarbush Village since 1964. Winter only.



China Fun

Standard Chinese; takeout only.



Common Man

Contemporary American cuisine prepared by chef-owner Adam Longworth. Full bar, diverse wine list, and warm hospitality.



East Warren Community Market

The Valley’s local food co-op, providing local, organic, and specialty items from cheese and eggs to beer and bakery items. Open daily.



Elusive Moose Pub & Eatery

Family-friendly elevated comfort food in a casual environment.



General Stark’s Pub

Full bar and table service for lunch and après in winter; Fri.–Sun. 4–8 p.m. in summer. In Mad River Glen’s basebox.



Hogan’s Pub

Seasonal lunch menu, local burgers, well-stocked bar, long Valley views. Summer only.



Hostel Tevere

Full bar with great local draught beers and live music.



Local Folk Smokehouse

Serving a wide variety of smoked meats, burgers, sandwiches, and over 24 beers on draft.



Mad River Barn

Pub with burgers, entrées, and local brews; family-style dinners on winter Saturdays.



Mad Taco

Offering some of the most authentic Mexican fare in Vermont, as well as a small selection of fine craft and Mexican beers and tequila.




Vegetarian/vegan cuisine located in historic Waitsfield Village.



Mix Cupcakerie

Home-baked ice cream cupcakes, wedding and birthday cakes, cookies, bars, and pies in Waitsfield’s Village Square. Open daily.



Mutha Stuffers

Eat-in or takeout deli serving full line of Boar’s Head products and local Vermont beers in historic Sugarbush Village.



Paradise Deli & Market

Local grocery and takeout deli located along the Sugarbush Access Road. $



Traditional rustic European food, open Thurs.–Mon. after 5:30 p.m., reservations recommended.




Creative and affordable dishes that are sourced locally, made from scratch, and changed on a regular basis.



Pine Tree Pub

Burgers, salads, sandwiches, local brews, and nightlife. Winter only.



Pizza Soul

Authentic, hand-crafted, thin crust, gourmet pizza, calzones, and strombolis in historic Sugarbush Village.



Skinny Pancake

Serving sweet and savory crepes with local sustainable products. Located on the first floor of the Farmhouse.



Sweet Spot

Bakery, ice cream, espresso, and cocktails. Made-to-order custom cakes.



Terra Rossa Ristorante

Italian/Mediterranean/American cuisine in a family-friendly, relaxed, and casual atmosphere.



Three Mountain Café

Breakfast sandwiches, lunch to go, pastries, sweet treats, espresso, and coffee.



Timbers Restaurant

World cuisine with a Vermont twist. Slope-side. Breakfast and dinner year-round; lunch during winter holidays.



Tracks at the Pitcher Inn

Craft beers, fine wine, and imaginative pub fare.



Warren Store

Sumptuous baked goods, prepared foods, artisanal beer, and plenty of wine choices. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and staples.



Zach’s Tavern at Hyde Away Inn

Farm-fresh local fare featuring creative entrées, sandwiches, burgers, wings, and salads.



$: budget $$: affordable $$$: moderate $$$$: fine $$$$$: luxury

2015/16 61

Indulgence is better at Sugarbush Farm-to-table cuisine with fine wines in an atmosphere modeled after a nineteenth-century dairy barn. Vegetarian and gluten-free options available. Open year-round for breakfast and dinner, and lunch during holiday periods.

Comfortable Accommodations Creative, Farm-Fresh Restaurant. Classic Local Tavern.

Open 7 Nights • Food ‘til 10

Stay · Eat · Play

Reservations recommended 802.583.6800

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2015/16 63











• Thurs-Sun, 5:00-9:30pm • All Natural Pizza Baked in a Wood Fired Oven • Farm to table cuisine • Local craft brews on tap • Nightly Après ski bonfire ph: (802) 496-8856, • $85-$135 per night, Hearty farmhouse breakfast included • Minutes from Mad River Glen & Sugarbush • Stay 3 nights, 4th night free • Families & Pets accommodated ph: (802) 496-4949,


Elegant dining upstairs at 275 Main while Tracks serves a casual lounge-style menu on the lower level. A Relais & Châteaux property and a Condé Nast Top 100 Hotel.

The Pitcher Inn

Warren, Vermont

Warren, Vermont 05674







1824 House

Comfortable country inn. Warm breakfasts, hearths, and hospitality.



Beaver Pond Farm Inn

Quintessentially restored, beautiful B&B with hot tub. Also available as a house rental.



Bridges Family Resort & Tennis Club

One-, two-, or three-bedroom condominiums with resort amenities just minutes from Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen.



Clay Brook at Sugarbush

Luxury slope-side one- to five-bedroom residences with year-round outdoor heated pool and hot tubs.



Eagles Resort

Freestanding, Swedish-design, two-bedroom homes.



Featherbed Inn

Charming Waitsfield bed and breakfast with fieldstone fireplace and home-baked pies on Saturdays.




Condos, studios, and motel rooms just 1.5 miles from Mt. Ellen and Mad River Glen.



Golden Lion Riverside Inn

Local inn atmosphere, minutes from Sugarbush, breakfast offered, standard and family-style rooms.



Hostel Tevere

Thirty beds of European hostelâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;style lodging; shared bathrooms and common spaces.



Hyde Away Inn

Family-friendly nine-room inn with casual accomodations. Farm-fresh restaurant and classic local tavern.



Inn at Lareau Farm

Family- and pet-friendly farmhouse with hearty breakfast minutes from Sugarbush and Mad River Glen.



Inn at Round Barn Farm

Luxury country inn, twelve rooms with private baths, steam showers, and whirlpools.



Mad River Barn

Family-friendly lodging with on-site restaurant, pub, and game room.



Mad River Inn

Relaxed atmosphere, with outdoor hot tub and BYOB lounge with pool table.



Millbrook Inn

Set in a 19th-century farmhouse, a homey B&B with views of the Green Mountains.



Mountain View Inn

Beautiful inn with cozy rooms and delicious breakfasts. Minutes from skiing and town.



Pitcher Inn

Relais & Châteaux luxury with eleven well-appointed, unique guest rooms and exquisite dining.



Sugarbush Inn

Comfortable and affordable family-friendly inn minutes from the mountain; winter only.



Sugarbush Resort Condominiums

One- to four-bedroom privately owned condos, on or near the mountain.



Sugar Lodge

One-half mile from Lincoln Peak. Family-friendly, modern hotel rooms with great ski packages.



Sugartree Inn

Closest inn to Lincoln Peak; nine great rooms, creative full breakfast, and outdoor hot tub.



Tucker Hill Inn

Peaceful country B&B lodging close to Sugarbush. Fireplace rooms to multi-person suites.



Warren Falls Inn and Hostel

The Olsen House, a post-and-beam structure built in 1971, offering single beds and private rooms with shared baths and communal kitchen.



Weathertop Mountain Inn

Eight private rooms with private baths, personally overseen by innkeepers Lisa and Michael Lang.



West Hill House B&B

Beautiful en-suite guest rooms, great breakfasts, and minutes from skiing with door-to-slope shuttle.



White Horse Inn

A twenty-six-room B&B at the entrance to Mt. Ellen at Sugarbush ski area. $$


Wilder Farm Inn

Where farm fresh meets fashion forward. Beautiful rooms, delicious breakfast, and wood-burning fireplaces.



Yellow Farmhouse Inn

King and queen beds, private baths with Jacuzzis, and gas stoves; on shuttle route.



$: budget $$: affordable $$$: moderate $$$$: fine $$$$$: luxury

2015/16 65


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Spacious Swedish Contemporary Homes Rentals & Sales

ROUTE 100 / P.O. BOX 208 WAITSFIELD, VERMONT 05673 802-496-5700

1860 country Victorian inn with seven guest rooms and one small suite with private baths, some with television and A/C. Relaxed atmosphere. Comfortable living room with wood fireplace. BYOB lounge with pool table, TV, stereo, guest refrigerator, and woodstove. Outdoor hot tub. Located on Tremblay Road, just off scenic Route 100 Waitsfield, Vermont

802.496.7900 800.832.8278

CLAY BROOK HOTEL & RESIDENCES Modern luxury meets slopeside convenience with studio to five-bedroom suites, concierge services, ski and boot valet, heated outdoor pool and hot tubs, and onsite dining. For a more casual stay, explore the classic country charm of Sugarbush Inn or our selection of over 100 privately-owned, resort-managed condos. Complimentary access to Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center and Valley-wide shuttle service included. | 800.53.SUGAR 2014/15 67


SUGARBUSH After years of skiing at the mountain with his family, Win Smith and a small group of investors purchased Sugarbush in September of 2001. They have since embarked on reshaping the Sugarbush experience to reflect the nature of the Mad River Valley. The investor group includes Adam Greshin, a Warren resident who also has served as the state representative for Washington County. Incorporating traditional Vermont architecture into the village, hosting cultural events, and highlighting the local agricultural economy in the resort’s culinary offerings are just some of the ways Sugarbush delivers a rich experience for its guests. In 2006, Sugarbush completed construction of Clay Brook Hotel & Residences and Gate House Lodge. Four years later, two more skierservices buildings—the Schoolhouse and the Farmhouse—were added to Lincoln Peak Village. Rice Brook Residences—fifteen new homes in three buildings—were completed in 2013, connecting Lincoln Peak Village and historic Sugarbush Village. And this year, construction began on the next phase of development in the resort’s master plan, Gadd Brook Slopeside—sixteen private homes named after the resort’s founding family. Each year, Win Smith and his entire resort team work hard to make good on the Sugarbush promise: Be Better Here. This year, the resort is investing over $3 million in replacing the original Valley House lift (built in 1960) with a fixed-grip quad. With this improvement, Sugarbush will have one of the largest uphill capacities in the Northeast. Last year, the resort completed a five-year, $5 million upgrade to its snowmaking operation at both mountains, and added a new 450-space parking lot at Lincoln Peak. Linking Sugarbush’s rich history, the uniqueness of the Mad River Valley, and the modernity of new amenities, Sugarbush is committed to offering the best in customer service, four seasons of outdoor recreation, and an unrivaled and quintessential Vermont experience. 68 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE


THE MOUNTAINS Sugarbush brings some of the flavor of western skiing to the East. Like many ski areas west of the Mississippi, Sugarbush’s Lincoln Peak spreads out in a natural bowl of terrain. Runs at Lincoln Peak face north, south, and east and make for spectacular skiing no matter the time of day. The natural bowl also makes the trail network easy to navigate. Beginners, intermediates, and experts can all start from the same place on many lifts, find terrain suitable to their tastes, and end up together back where they started. The lift and trail network quickly disperses crowds on peak traffic days, while mid-mountain lifts serve higher elevation runs, which minimizes long lift lines in the base area. Lincoln Peak is home to the legendary terrain of Castlerock Peak, whose narrow, steep, and winding trails offer seasoned experts a challenge and an old-time New England ski experience. Powder hungry? Get up early for first tracks on the Lincoln Limo. When it’s snowing, the twelve-passenger snowcat heads to the top as early as 7 a.m., before the lifts even open. Connected by the Slide Brook Express to Lincoln Peak, Mt. Ellen is the third-highest peak in Vermont (serviced by the highest chair lift in the state). With thirty-nine trails, Mt. Ellen has steeps, wide-open cruisers, and some great beginner terrain. The base area at Mt. Ellen is a no-frills experience with a classic lodge that’s home to the convivial Green Mountain Lounge. Mt. Ellen is where you’ll find the Riemergasse Terrain Park, recognized over the last several years as one of the top terrain parks in the East by Transworld Snowboarding. With rails, tables, and jumps for all levels, the park is home to local talent and a series of events and competitions. Whether at Mt. Ellen or Lincoln Peak, skiing in the trees is often the best way to find great snow. Twenty-eight marked areas provide beginner to advanced tree skiing. Want more? The 2,000-acre Slide Brook backcountry, tucked

in between Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen, is an adventurer’s paradise. Guided trips are available with legendary skier John Egan and the staff of the Adventure Learning Center’s Ski & Ride School. Sugarbush isn’t the only attraction to the Mad River Valley. Mad River Glen, just a few miles to the north of Sugarbush, boasts some of the most challenging terrain in the East. The Valley is also home to two Nordic skiing centers, Blueberry Lake and Ole’s Cross Country Center, as well as the Catamount Trail. In Waitsfield, the Skatium Ice Rink provides a unique outdoor skating experience.

LODGING From slope-side luxury to quaint country living, the Sugarbush Vacation Team can assist in finding accommodations to suit a variety of needs and budgets (for reservations, call 800-53-SUGAR). The slope-side Clay Brook Hotel & Residences offers sixty-one suites, ranging from king rooms to five-bedroom suites, and features skiin/ski-out access, full valet service, a year-round outdoor heated pool, a fitness center, and Timbers Restaurant. Down the road is the forty-two-room Sugarbush Inn, open all winter and for private groups in the summer. The lodging—with nooks for reading and a parlor with an adjoining taproom, open on Saturdays and holidays from 4 to 7 p.m. for après—has the cozy charm of a Vermont country inn. Sugarbush also offers a mix of resort-managed condominiums surrounding Lincoln Peak. All Sugarbush lodging comes with complimentary access to Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center, which offers a pool, hot tubs, steam rooms, the Adventure Zone for kids, rock climbing, tennis, and massage. For additional lodging recommendations, please call the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce at 802-496-3409. 2015/16 69

SUGARBUSH CLOSE-UP TRANSPORTATION The Burlington International Airport is just fifty minutes from Sugarbush, with direct flights arriving from New York City, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, and seasonal direct flights from Toronto. Amtrak runs trains from major eastern cities into Rutland (one hour south of Sugarbush) and Waterbury (thirty minutes north). And once youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve arrived, Green Mountain Transit offers free public transportation services in the winter season within the Mad River Valley region via the Mad Bus. DISTANCE FROM:

Burlington: 46 miles Boston: 180 miles New York City: 300 miles Montreal: 139 miles (224 KM)

FIRST-TIME VISITORS can find information on where to go for lift tickets, rentals/demos, ski & ride school, and dining options at





1,4 83 BASE



53 2,600 2 28 ELEVATION









LIFTS (16 TOTAL) 8 quads (5 high speed) 2 triples 3 doubles 3 surface lifts

Winter: mid-Nov. – Apr.

Weekdays: 8 AM – 4 PM at Mt. Ellen; 9 AM – 4 PM at Lincoln Peak Weekends/holidays: 8 AM – 4 PM

Spring: Apr. – May Call for spring-adjusted hours.

Summer: mid-June – Labor Day Sun. – Thu.: 10 AM – 4 PM Fri., Sat., & holidays: 10 AM – 6 PM

Fall: early Sept. – Columbus Day

Weekends & Columbus Day: 10 AM – 4 PM Two weeks leading up to Columbus Day: 10 AM – 4 PM daily

Times are subject to change. Please call 800.53.SUGAR or visit for up-to-date information. Sugarbush Resort Warren, Vermont









10/10–11 Community Weekend

Celebrate autumn in Vermont with pumpkin carving, scenic lift rides and hikes, harvest-inspired dining, live music, kids’ camps, and mountain activities. Family Oktoberfest on Sunday features cabbage bowling, Bavarianinspired food, drink, and live music.

10/11 Mad Dash

A 5K or 10K run, 5K walk, and kids’ race, supporting the Mad River Path Association. Registration and start details at

11/21 The Big Kicker

Kick off the 2015–16 winter season with Mad River Glen and Sugarbush at American Flatbread in Waitsfield. This unmatched ski-mountain duo throws a freestyle party with rail jams, ski movies, local food and drink, and words of wisdom from the High Fives Foundation, the Flyin Ryan Hawks Foundation, and more.

12/7 A Taste of Timbers

Sample items from the new Timbers winter menu, inspired by our best local and national food purveyors.

12/12 SugarBash

It’s time to get down and get funky at Sugarbush’s annual birthday celebration. Rock your finest retro gear and dance your heart out to live music from the Grift. Costume contest at 8 p.m.

12/14–18 Valley Ski & Ride Week

A fifty-year tradition at Sugarbush returns: five consecutive days of ski and ride lessons led by some of Sugarbush’s finest coaches. On-snow sessions are Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

12/24–1/3 Holiday Week

Spend your holiday week at Sugarbush. Send the kids to Pizza and Movie Night or a kids’ cooking class, decorate holiday cookies, and enjoy après live music all week. Bring your furry friend to the sixth annual Dog Parade and Canine Couture contest. And ring in the New Year at the Family Buffet in Gate House Lodge or at an elegant dinner at Timbers, followed by a torchlight parade and fireworks.

1/15–18 MLK Jr. Weekend

An action-packed weekend with the American Melting Pot Buffet, a kids’ cooking class, late-night music, a Tour De Moon skin and ski at Mt. Ellen, and a torchlight parade and fireworks. 72 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

Annual Dog Parade

1/23–24 & 2/6 Champlain College Fresh Tracks Film Camp

Warren Miller film star John Egan and members of the award-winning Champlain College Emergent Media program coach teens in bridging their passion for filming and snow sports in a three-day adventure camp. Finished films will be displayed at a reception on the final Saturday evening.

2/6 Junior Castlerock Extreme

Talented young skiers (ages fourteen and under) compete in a challenging and technical run down Castlerock’s infamous Lift Line. A qualifying race for March’s Castlerock Extreme and part of the Ski the East Freeride Tour. Registration for 110 spots traditionally sells out in advance.

2/12–21 President’s Week

A nonstop week of fun with a kids’ cooking class, family buffets, latenight music, Meet the Brewer night, Tour De Moon, and a torchlight parade and fireworks.

2/20–21 Mt. Ellen’s Birthday Celebration

Commemorate Mt. Ellen’s birthday with the classic Cowbell Champagne Party, and ease into Sunday with the traditional Elliott Family Brunch.

2/28 High Fives Fat Ski-A-Thon

Lap the Summit Quad on your widest planks and give out high fives all day for a great cause. Each lap completed raises money to support the High Fives Non-Profit Foundation.

3/5 Castlerock Extreme

Expert skiers charge the cliffs and dips of Sugarbush’s toughest terrain in the nineteenth annual Castlerock Extreme.

3/11–13 Nantucket Weekend

Island fever takes over Sugarbush with beach music, Nantucket culinary and drink specials, an Allyn’s Lodge dinner with a featured guest chef, a food and wine sampler, and fun-inthe-sun beach activities.

3/19–20 Sugaring Time Festival

Celebrate the start of spring and sugaring season with a variety of maple-themed activities. Search for maple nips in a resort-wide scavenger hunt, play maple-inspired games, indulge in maple dining specials, and take part in Mt. Ellen’s annual Geländesprung Championship.

Pond Skimming

3/20 Sugarbush Mountaineering Race

An endurance race for backcountry skiers and split boarders, featuring a new course spanning Mt. Ellen, Slide Brook Basin, and Lincoln Peak.

3/27 Easter Celebration

Celebrate Easter Sunday with a morning service at Allyn’s Lodge, followed by an Easter egg hunt and an elegant brunch at Timbers.

4/2 Pond Skimming

Take the plunge across a 120-foot pond at the base of Lincoln Peak. Whether you get wet or spectate from the crowd, be sure to participate in this annual rite of spring. Awards for costume, style, and splash.

4/9 Stein’s Challenge

Get ready for a head-to-head showdown on one of Sugarbush’s most legendary trails, named after the Norwegian Olympian and former Sugarbush Ski School director Stein Eriksen. Cash purse and prizes for top finishers.

6/11 Sugarbush Brew-Grass Festival

Kick off the summer with Sugarbush’s sixth annual brewfest, featuring craft beers from more than twenty breweries, tasty local eats, and jammin’ bluegrass bands.

7/4 Independence Day Celebration

Start the day with the wacky Warren Parade, followed by a classic American BBQ and fireworks at Lincoln Peak.

7/10 Mad Marathon

This scenic course sends runners along beautiful country roads in the Mad River Valley, through covered bridges, past farms, and over streams. Participants can run a relay, half, or whole marathon.

8/1–31 Festival of the Arts

A month-long celebration in the Mad River Valley featuring the “Taste of the Valley” culinary feast at Lincoln Peak, the Big Red Barn Art Show, theatrical performances at the Skinner Barn and the Phantom Theater, and more.

9/2–5 Green Mtn. Stage Race

Largest Pro-Am road stage race east of the Mississippi. Close to 1,000 cyclists travel to compete in some of the Northeast’s most challenging and scenic terrain.

Brew-Grass Festival

9/30–10/2 Sugarbush Food & Wine Festival

Three-day food and wine festival including opening chef’s reception and wine dinner, educational seminars, Artisan Taste, featured wine dinners around the Valley, “Late Night on the Mountain” afterhours party, charitable walk, and champagne brunch.

RECURRING EVENTS Tour De Moon 12/26, 12/29, 1/17, 1/23, 2/14, 2/20, 3/5, and 3/19

Learn the essentials of skinning on an after-hours guided skin up to the Glen House, with dinner, beverages, and a moonlit ski to the bottom. Special equipment available. Reservations required.

Kids’ Pizza & Movie Night 12/28, 1/17, 2/14, 2/17, and 3/19

Send the kids off for a night of fun with pizza and a movie while you enjoy an evening on your own.

Castlerock Music Series 12/31, 1/16, 1/30, 2/13, and 2/27

Soak in the sounds of great local musicians at Castlerock Pub and choose from more than twenty beers on tap.

Kids’ Cooking Classes 12/30, 1/16, 2/6, 2/20, and 3/12

Kids learn basic kitchen safety, food handling, cooking techniques, and how to set a table, all while they prepare and feast on a three-course meal.

Sugarbush Food & Wine Sampler 12/28 and 3/12

A food and wine sampling event with educational seminars, followed by an evening dining experience featuring guest vintners and wine merchants. In collaboration with the Nantucket Wine Festival. Castlerock Music Series


USSA “B” Mogul Competition




Alexandra Morse

The Waitsfield Village Covered Bridge (the Great Eddy Covered Bridge) is the oldest operating covered bridge in Vermont. Originally built in 1833 using a kingpost truss and Burr arch framing, the bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge underwent significant structural repairs in 2015 to address deteriorating abutments and to replace the bridge sidewalk.



Community is Better at Sugarbush Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something more to the Sugarbush experience than the legendary terrain variety, the meticulous snowmaking and grooming, the fabled history, and the authentic Vermont mountain setting. Come discover what makes Sugarbush different.

Sugarbush Resort Magazine  

2014-2015 Season

Sugarbush Resort Magazine  

2014-2015 Season