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Into the Woods Plus:

Chez Henri’s Golden Anniversary Down by the (Mad) River Forest Foraging

Turn a vacaTion inTo a


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Alpine Options



John Egan navigating the trees in Slide Brook.

25 Welcome to the Woods A novice tree skier heads out with John Egan for her first off-trail lesson. Plus: John Egan’s rules for skiing in the trees. By Katie Bacon

30 Valley Exposure Snapshots of the Mad River Valley community.

35 Fifty Years of Chez Henri Sugarbush’s iconic French bistrot—and the man behind it. Plus: The story behind the Chez Henri Cup. By Candice White

43 A River Runs Through It The Mad River is more than a source of water, recreation, power, and—occasionally— devastation. It’s the geographical and spiritual heart of the community. BY Peter Oliver



Winthrop Smith Jr.


Candice White

Managing Editor stina booth

Katie Bacon


production Editor Amy Stackhouse

Art director

Inside Lines 6 One on one with Win Smith, owner and

president of Sugarbush Resort.

Arts & Culture 8 MUSIC

From Grace Potter to a thriving après band scene to informal fireside jamming on winter nights. Plus: Music festivals in the Valley


The Fresh Tracks Film Camp helps budding filmmakers turn footage from mini adventure cams into videos worth watching.

Summertime 12 Foraging

Finding wild edibles in the Green Mountains.

14 Family Vacation

Hiking, biking, golfing, and a whole lot more—for the kid in all of us.

16 outside dining

Scenic views, fabulous food—a sampling of the Valley’s outdoor dining possibilities.

Wintertime 18 Nordic skiing

Audrey Huffman

20 Style 40 Artisan-crafted objects from cairns to skateboards.

Timeline 48 A quick history of Sugarbush. Local Knowledge 50 Factoids to maximize your Sugarbush visit.

Sugar-Kids 52 Have fun with a mountain maze,

coloring pages, and a word search.

55 Dining Directory 58 Lodging Directory Sugarbush Close-Up 60 Facts and figures about the mountain and the latest developments there.

64 Events Calendar

Local opportunities for Nordic skiing abound—whether on a designated trail or out the back door.

Mary Simmons

advertising MANAGER Calli Willette

contributors John Bleh Chris Enman Dana Freeman Brian Mohr Peter Oliver Rob Williams

contributing Photographer John Atkinson

Sugarbush Resort 1840 Sugarbush Access Road Warren, VT 05674 800.53.SUGAR


WINTER: Sugarbush’s Coach Diggety finds a line through the trees in Slide Brook. Photographer: John Atkinson SUMMER: A kayaker approaching one of the Mad River’s springtime rapids. Photographer: Brian Mohr

20 behind the scenes

Lifting the veil off the mysteries of snow.

22 Training Ground

U.S. Ski Team member Nolan Kasper calls Sugarbush home.


Photo editor


Mount Ellen / Valley Floor / Access Road / Mad River Glen / Mountain Condos / Valley Evening Service / Snowcap Commuter* Mount Ellen / Valley Floor / Access Road / Mad River Glen / Mountain Condos / Valley Evening Service / Snowcap Commuter*





For schedule information visit us at For schedule information visit us at * Commuter rates apply. * Commuter rates apply.

INSIDE lines

The word “community”

is derived from the old French comunete, which is derived from the Latin communitas. Community is about things held in common among a network of people who define that relationship as important to their social identity. When I was a child, I went to Hunter Mountain in New York one weekend to learn to ski—but since I couldn’t hold on to the rope tow, I didn’t get very far. Then, in the winter of my junior year at Amherst College, a group of my friends rented a house on German Flats Road and ventured north each weekend to ski at Mad River Glen. My first run at Mad River was down Paradise—mostly on my backside. Despite my lack of ability, the communal experience we had that winter at the ski house and on the mountain was memorable. Fifteen years later, many of us returned to the Mad River Valley with our young families for a reunion weekend— this time at Sugarbush. Win and Lili at Mt. Ellen’s Fasching Costume Ball.

Over the years, our initial community of college friends broadened as we got to know more and more people in the Valley. We learned that this place we had stumbled upon in college was really special. Now three generations of the Smith-Ruane family and many of our friends are enjoying the Valley not just in winter, but in all seasons. And many family milestones are being met here. My youngest son, Cameron, got his first hole in one on the fifth hole of the Sugarbush golf course this past summer. And this winter, four of my five grandchildren will be on skis. What ties our community together? First, the mountains, composed of both National Forest Service land and private land, are a magnet for skiers, riders, bikers, and hikers. Surely they are some of the most majestic and beautiful in all of the Northeast. Secondly, the Valley, with its many farms, inns, and two historic villages replete with covered bridges, is pure Vermont. And lastly, there are the people. While the population here has been described as “eclectic,” there is something about the attraction of the Mad River Valley that ties similarly minded people together. For instance, it was remarkable to see how this community of permanent residents and second homeowners came together after the devastation of Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. This year Henri Borel will celebrate the fiftieth year of Chez Henri Restaurant & Bistrot in Sugarbush Village. People like Henri, Stein Eriksen, and Sigi Grottendorfer, and families like the Gadds, the Elliotts, and the Murphys, along with the Valley residents who have been here for generations, came together to create this unique community. People representing a variety of nationalities, professions, and backgrounds united to support a common interest: this unique place we now call the Mad River Valley. Sadly, this past year we lost two pillars of our community—Arthur Williams and Jackie Rose. Arthur did so much for the Valley, contributing to the founding of Sugarbush and to the Valley’s first professional polo league, and creating the MRV Community Fund. Jackie started the Store in Waitsfield, a treasure of a kitchen store that reflects her personal touch. They were icons, and we will miss them dearly. On my twenty-fifth birthday forty years ago, I joined Merrill Lynch intending to spend an entire career there. This would have been my year of retirement. However, after nearly twenty-eight years, fate took me in another direction, and I now have a remarkably satisfying second career here in Vermont. My primary goal is to help keep the Valley and its community vibrant and sustainable for generations to come. For those of you who are already members of our community, I look forward to another fun year with you. For those of you visiting us for the first time, I look forward to welcoming you, with the hope that you will discover what I did so many years ago. Cheers,

Win Smith President, Sugarbush Resort

The New Year’s Eve Dog Parade at Lincoln Peak. 6 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE


The Mad River Valley’s

MusicAL Mojo From Grace Potter to a thriving après band scene to informal fireside jamming on winter nights. By rob williams


hough the magical night happened many years ago now, anyone present remembers the music so well. Relive the moment: a young woman emerging through the crowd’s hushed stillness under a stunning star-filled evening of purple twilight, sinuously tapping a tambourine against her right thigh, keeping rhythm to her soulful wailing chorus: “Nothing but the water is gonna set my soul free.” The chanteuse? Waitsfield-born musician Grace Potter—homegrown songwriter, pianist, and now frontwoman for her band the Nocturnals, celebrating the release of the album that would put them on the musical map. Everyone listening that remarkable night at American Flatbread, seated on the cool bonfire-lit grass, flanked by the Mad River and the Green Mountains, understood we were witnessing a star being born.

sandy macys

For every Grace Potter who makes it big, there are countless Mad River Valley residents who infuse this neck of the Vermont woods with musical mojo. Talk with anyone about music’s role in the Valley, and three themes quickly emerge: community, diversity, and incubation. Locals and visitors alike are hip to Harwood Union High School’s topnotch theater program and impressive choral, band, and jazz band performances, while the Green Mountain Valley School’s hard-training athletes muster an annual autumn musical that delights audiences of all ages. “We’ve got an extraordinary musical community here in the Mad River Valley,” explains Sugar Shack guitarist Gary Frankel of Waitsfield, who works as a social worker and therapist to feed his music habit. “People here like to listen and they like to play, and this give-andtake feeds a thriving scene.” Warren’s musical wunderkind Chicky Stoltz, an equally accomplished singer, songwriter, guitarist, and drummer, agrees. “I get to gig with amazing musicians who are parents and professionals by day,” Stoltz says. “But at night, they rock out.” How to explain it? “The music in the Mad Music on the deck at Mt. Ellen. 8 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

Jamming at the Brew-Grass Festival.

River Valley seems to come from the celebration of our surroundings, our quality of life, and a collaboration between young and old,” says entrepreneur Jeff Mack, the driving force behind the Valley’s annual Vermont Music Fest. Mad River music fans quickly discover that every Valley season offers something to satisfy. Winter weekends witness après-ski bands performing at three different ski mountains. In terms of Sugarbush, “We have performances in the Wünderbar, Castlerock Pub, Green Mountain Lounge, and Timbers Restaurant, with a wide variety of musical styles ranging from acoustic folk to jazz to rock featuring some of Vermont’s finest musicians,” says entertainment coordinator Tom Hooper, a drumming dervish who regularly sits in with some of Vermont’s most popular bands. No wonder Sugarbush Resort got the “best après-ski music” award from Vermont Ski & Ride magazine. Down in the Valley, meanwhile, year-round venues like the Localfolk Smokehouse and the Big Picture Café & Theater offer access to intimate musical acts in cozy settings. “Live music creates community by allowing both musicians and listeners to interact and develop a shared relationship through songs—it’s that simple,” explains Big Picture booking agent Asah Rowles. “We try to offer different music flavors for everyone in a family-friendly environment with local food and drink and an intimate living-room-like setting.” Next time you are in the Big Picture, don’t forget to notice the decade-old framed photograph of Grace Potter and her Nocturnals, a reminder that it takes a whole Valley to raise a musician. Good music starts at home, and the winter months offer plenty of time for informal jamming by the fireside. Summer, meanwhile, sees the Valley explode with a diverse array of musical events, bookended by Sugarbush’s June Brew-Grass Festival (bluegrass, beer, and good local fare) and August’s monthlong Festival of the Arts, featuring painters, sculptors, and, yes, musicians of every description. And don’t forget the farms and barns for which the Valley is famous. Hear live music at the weekly farmers’ markets on Waterbury Common (Thursday afternoons) and in Waitsfield (Saturday mornings). Looking for diversity? Catch the

incendiary energy of the Valley’s annual musical barn burners: Waitsfield’s Skinner Barn for professional theatrical performances, including musicals; the Lareau Farm Inn for live jazz; the Round Barn for Green Mountain Opera; the Mad River Barn for a weekly acoustic series; and Warren’s Phantom Theater for … ? Well, you just have to track down their schedule to know for sure, but it is often something musically mysterious and cutting-edge. “Music,” the legendary jazz drummer Art Blakey once said, “washes away the dust from everyday life.” I first heard this nugget from Blakey’s own son Gamal, a longtime Valley resident, who showed up at the Big Picture a few years back during a Wednesday Valley night (think local bands and beer on tap). My band, the Phineas Gage Project, happened to be playing, and Gamal sat in for our rendition of the Dave Matthews Band’s archetypal tune “41,” suddenly scatting over the top of our three-part melody in an otherworldly voice that transported listeners to another continent. The locals at the bar went wild, people took to a makeshift dance floor in front of the tiny stage, and suddenly we had a full-fledged dance party on our hands. Such is the power of music in the Mad River Valley—a spontaneous and collaborative force that cannot be underestimated, one that all residents enjoy celebrating together—in just about any place, indoors or out, we can find.

MUSIC FESTIVALS IN THE VALLEY Sugarbush Brew-Grass Festival Saturday, June 13, 2015. Sugarbush Resort blends local bluegrass music and over twenty regional brewers, kicking off the summer explosion of Vermont festivals.

Green Mountain Opera Festival Annual June operatic series supported by the Green Mountain Cultural Center. In 2015 it will celebrate its tenth season with the Emerging Artists Program and free Master Class Series, in addition to top-notch operatic talent.


Vermont Festival of the Arts Annual August gathering of musicians, artists, chefs, and performers.

Vermont Music Fest An annual celebration of community, family, and “all things local.” Look for it in late summer, featuring giant puppets, a Wiffle Ball scramble, a kids’ open mike, and local music and food of every description.

Green Mountain Opera Festival (photo courtesy of GMOF).

Rob Williams teaches courses in media, communications, environmental policy, and global studies at Saint Michael’s College, Champlain College, and the University of Vermont.







B R I D G E W AT E R C O R N E R S , V T

2014/15 9

arts & culture

Media Moguls The Fresh Tracks Film Camp helps budding filmmakers turn footage from mini adventure cams into videos worth watching. by John Atkinson


f you have been living under a rock for a while, you might be surprised to see how many people are shooting video every day while skiing and riding. Although mini adventure cams are ubiquitous, the quantity of footage gathered does not necessarily translate into a lot of quality videos that you’d want to take the time to watch. Enter the Fresh Tracks Film Camp, a joint venture started last winter between Sugarbush and Champlain College’s respected Emergent Media Center to engage budding young filmmakers. (These potential filmmakers have a good example in 1982 Champlain graduate Tom Day, who has worked for Warren Miller Entertainment for more than a decade and is now the director of photography.) The group spent three days together, learning shooting skills (including how to work safely with athlete models on the slopes) and digital editing techniques, while getting early lift rides, hiking for new settings and angles, and staying warm on some very cold midwinter days. The course was designed and led by Professor Kevin Murakami, a multimedia specialist at the Emergent Media Center, and by

Film camp students staging a photo shoot on the slopes of Sugarbush.

Sugarbush’s chief recreation officer, John Egan, who also happens to be a world-famous ski model (having starred in seventeen Warren Miller movies) and filmmaker. (As Sugarbush’s main photographer, I got to contribute to the on-hill sessions too.) Everybody shot with a GoPro camera and edited their footage with the same Adobe program. At the end of the three-day camp, the students presented their finished work on the big screen at an evening reception in Gate House Lodge. Samantha Murphy was one of the course participants. “I had a blast,” she said, “from getting first chair to learning how to make my videos into a movie. I also had the advantage of being the only girl to show those boys who’s boss. [Murakami, Egan, and Atkinson] showed us how to get the perfect shot from the model perspective, the perfect shot from the videographer’s perspective, and how to put this jumble of footage into a smooth sequence.” Egan added, “From the technical aspect of shooting and editing, to working on both sides of the camera, the students came alive. It was inspiring to see how strongly they responded to the opportunities of what they can do and become in this rapidly evolving field.” Murakami, too, was inspired by the opportunities created by the camp. “The beauty of this class, from my perspective, was the fact that students learned the software with video footage they had shot with their newfound ‘eyes,’ and that the synergy combining behind-the-camera efforts with new computer software fueled their creativity and expanded their horizons.” Be sure to check out the Fresh Tracks Film Camp participant videos (you can find them at—they include great footage of deep runs in Paradise Woods and on ripping smooth Valley House groomers with up-and-comers like Murphy, Micah Ranallo, and Ethan Akins. You just may be watching the next Warren Miller.

After shooting all morning, participants download their videos onto their laptops. 10 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

In addition to his photography work for Sugarbush, John Atkinson has published photos in a variety of publications, including Men’s Journal, Outside, Couloir, Telemark Skier, Vermont Sports, and the Valley Reporter.


FUEL YOUR PASSION photo by ma jor



loc ation


Champlain’s career-driven programs and active approach to learning allow you to put your skills into practice. Learn more about our Undergraduate, Graduate and Online & Continuing Education programs at WWW.CHAMPLAIN.EDU




Finding wild edibles in the Green Mountains. by John Atkinson


rom the top of Mt. Ellen, down 3,500 vertical feet through the foothills to the fertile Mad River floodplain, the Valley is blessed with a wide range of habitats: hardwood and evergreen forests, open grassy fields, quaint villages, and even a small island of alpine tundra (on Mount Abe). This makes it excellent territory for a delicious array of wild edibles. They can be found all over the Mad River Valley, but the most favorable terrain is disturbed land (developed areas, farms, managed forests) at lower elevations.
 The main season runs from spring to late fall, depending on weather and location (the Valley encompasses several climate zones, ranging from 3b to 5b). Spring edibles kick off with favorites like ramps, fiddleheads, and occasionally morels. After a long winter, these wild foods taste so fresh and full of life—as much spiritual sustenance as actual food. Through summer and fall, searchers can find a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fungi.
 Foraging requires a deep knowledge of local plants and habitats. There are a range of good reference websites and local guides, but two books to start with are The Foraging New England Falcon Guide and the Audubon Society’s Field Guide to Mushrooms. If you go out foraging, avoid endangered and sensitive species (and keep in mind that animals may rely on the resources you’re harvesting). Certain species should be harvested only lightly. Others, like dandelions, are in no danger of overharvest. But whatever you’re foraging, to be safe, always positively identify what you plan to eat, and then prepare and cook it properly.
(Foraging is generally allowed without a special-use permit in the Green Mountain National Forest, as long as you’re not trying to sell what you find. Check at a local ranger station for specific requirements.) Freshly picked ramps. 12 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

A Vermont feast: chanterelles and the Alchemist’s Heady Topper.

Ramps (Allium tricoccum)
 Ramps are in the onion family and simple to identify, with a strong, familiar aroma. Aside from the roots and outer skin, the entire plant is edible. 
Ramps grow in clusters in fertile low areas. Among the first spring plants, they are easy to spot, once you’re aware of their leaf shape and habitat. Nearly every flowing stream in the Valley has colonies of ramps near its banks. (The Abenaki named the Winooski River—also called the Onion River—after the wild ramps growing beside it.) 
You can remove individual clusters with a small garden pick. Leave hillside patches alone—they are especially fragile. Pick lightly everywhere else, since ramps are easily overharvested (they are already protected in Quebec).
The lightest way to harvest is to pick only one leaf from each plant, leaving the other leaf. Fiddleheads, or Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)
 Most ferns unfurl from a fiddlehead shape. We typically eat the ostrich fern, which prefers growing on riverbanks throughout the Mad River Valley watershed and sprouts in early spring. This species forms dense mats and can be resistant to flooding, and is therefore integral to the health of the local streams and rivers. Take few, leave many. The easiest way to find ostrich ferns is in summer, when they reach almost six feet tall. Go back to the same spot the following spring and look for well-curled fiddleheads with a brownish parchment-like covering. Wash the covering off and then thoroughly cook fiddleheads to break down toxins. Use caution when picking—some species of fern contain carcinogens. Fiddleheads can be used like asparagus, with a similar, though less intense, flavor. They don’t have the distinctive bodily effect of asparagus, either.

Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)

Look for short narrow shoots in bamboo-like patches along riverbanks in early spring. (The taller, wider ones become woody and exceedingly sour.) They can be cooked like asparagus or rhubarb. Pick knotweed all you want, but be careful not to drop even small pieces; this invasive plant readily roots and grows anywhere, crowding out important native species (including riverbank stabilizers like ostrich ferns). Sauté or grill the tender shoots with soy sauce or oil and garlic. The savory sauce and mildly sour knotweed create a surprisingly good

nutty, lemony blend. Prepare larger shoots as you would rhubarb, cooking longer to break down fibers and adding a little sugar to balance the sour taste.

Chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius)
 The Mad River Valley is home to several excellent edible fungi, including oysters, puffballs, lobsters, chicken of the woods, and king boletes, but our most famous are chanterelles. These beautiful mushrooms can be abundant in the proper conditions. They tend to start in late June and run to late September. Look under piney stands from the floodplain up to about 1,500 feet in elevation. Be sure to learn to differentiate the chanterelle’s main poisonous lookalike, the jacko’-lantern (Omphalotus olearius). Cook before eating. My favorite way is to sauté them with butter until they get almost crispy. Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
 Beech nuts are produced by mature beech trees (at least forty years old) in the fall, though not necessarily every year. The smooth gray bark is the easiest way to identify the trees; look on the ground underneath them in autumn to find the nuts. Many animals eat beech nuts, including mice, turkeys, fox, deer, opossums, black bears, and porcupines. The nuts are small, moderately bitter, and hard to extract, but they have many potential uses: they can be crushed into a butter, added to breads, or used as an accent to sauces. Roast the whole nut and then remove the husk before cooking or eating the meat. Boiling can help reduce bitterness.
Young, soft spring beech leaves are also a tasty edible. You can eat them raw or cooked like spinach. The flavor is sweet and mildly minty. The species name, Fagus, comes from fagito, meaning “to eat” in Greek, so apparently beech leaves and nuts have long been thought of as a food source, even if that tradition has mainly been forgotten in the U.S.

Fiddleheads ready for harvesting.

discover the Greener Side of the


Summer Activities include:

Scenic Lift RideS Mountain Biking Hiking Bounce HouSe Bungee tRaMpoLine diSc goLf ZipLine

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 | 800.53.SUGAR 2014/15 13


Summer Vacation Sugarbush-Style

Hiking, biking, golfing, and a whole lot more—for the kid in all of us. By dana freeman


ugarbush is principally known as a ski destination, yet its mountain peaks are part of the Green—not the White— Mountains. So what better time to visit Sugarbush and the Mad River Valley than after the snow has melted and the beautiful mountain peaks are revealed in all their leafy green glory? With this in mind, my family spent a summery weekend at the resort, a picturesque playground with no shortage of attractions to keep our active family happy for days. After starting the day with a hearty buffet breakfast (available on weekends) on the porch of Timbers Restaurant, I took advantage of the mountain’s terrain by hiking up one of the trails. Not only was it a good chance to exercise my lungs and legs, but it was also an opportunity to exercise my dog, who loves to travel with us and is welcome at the pet-friendly Clay Brook Hotel & Residences. Spring Fling is a wide, moderately steep trail located near the base, just steps from the restaurant. In years past we have spotted several moose on this trail, so I packed some binoculars. Some families ride the Super Bravo Express Quad to the top instead and then take their time coming back down, walking slowly with the kids, enjoying the breathtaking views. Or, for some competition along the way, they can try out one of the mountain’s two challenging eighteen-hole disc golf courses. For the more adventurous, there are 20 miles of mountain bike trails that wind across the ski trails and through the woods of Lincoln Peak. Not an expert? Don’t worry. There are camps and clinics for all ages and abilities. The indoor climbing wall at the Sugarbush Health & Racquet Club (SHaRC) provides another kind of challenge—one that my kids loved testing themselves on. After a quick lesson during our visit there over Memorial Day weekend—and a dip or two (or three) into the chalk bag—they quickly began their ascent. While I belayed them from down below, they raced to the top to ring the bell. Adventure seekers of all ages and levels will be challenged and supported by the expert instructors. Visitors to SHaRC can also try their skills at basketball, racquetball, and squash, or take advantage of their top-notch tennis program. Sugarbush partners with New England Tennis Holidays to offer camps and lessons. (NETH also offers camps in Florida and New Hampshire.) The racquet club has several indoor courts, where we served up a few games—but we’d rather play outdoors when we can, 14 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

where the clay courts are nestled in the valley surrounded by lush green foliage and running brooks. At the base of Lincoln Peak, kids love the chance to try the bungee trampoline that has them soaring 25 feet in the air. Or, if they prefer flying across the treetops, they can try out the zip line traversing the mountainside. Parents with thrill-seeking kids ages three to seventeen will want to check out Sugarbush’s weekly camp offerings. Whether they are first-timers, intermediate, or advanced, there is something for everyone. Young travelers ages three to five can partake in Mini Camp. The weekly themed Adventure Camp takes kids ages six to twelve; kids ages six and up might choose to focus on their golf game; the over-eights can try their hand at tennis. Free-wheeling kids ages eight and up can hone their bike skills and learn about cross-country riding, downhill, and more. For the best family value, I suggest booking a summer camp package that includes lodging at Clay Brook in a one- or two-bedroom suite. The packages bundle in summer camp for the kids, daily breakfast, and complimentary access to the health and racquet club, as well as to Clay Brook’s outdoor pool. For the traditional game of golf, there is no more beautiful backdrop to tee off against than at the Sugarbush Resort Golf Club. The views from there of the Valley are spectacular. Play eighteen holes, hit some balls on the range, or take a lesson. After just one hour of private instruction with PGA teaching pro Paul Meunier, our family’s game improved significantly. He worked with each of us on our swing, grip, and stance. My son loved the training-grip golf club that Paul used with him to correctly position his hands. After hitting the links, we grabbed a quick lunch on the deck at Hogan’s Pub, overlooking the eighteenth hole. With a family-friendly menu of burgers, sandwiches, and salads, it’s a great place to wind down the afternoon before heading back to the hotel for a late-day swim. Floating in the pool, looking up at the Green Mountains in their leafy guise—it’s hard to think of a better way to end a day of summer adventures. Dana Freeman is the founder of, a Vermont-based website for active families.

Play one of Mother Nature’s


A RobeRt tReNt JoNes, sR. desigN.

A SAmplinG oF oUR pASS optionS

stay fit Sugarbush Health & Racquet Club (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.


Golf membership: Join our community at the highest level. includes priority tee times, member socials/activities, and pass discounts. Gold pass: Unlimited golf with cart, discounted event entry, and special passholder events. Shoulder plus pass: our best value. golf anytime from May 1–June 26 and september 8–closing day, and after 3PM in July and August.

For more information and to purchase a pass call 802.53.SUGAR or visit

Being a kid is better at Sugarbush SugarbuSh ’15 adventure CampS Daily & weekly sessions available. Themed camps include (ages 6-17): mountain bike adventure rock climbing Water Exploration outdoor survival Farm-To-Plate Junior Tennis Junior golf Mini Adventure (ages 3-5)

For more information, call 802.583.6700 or visit | 800.53.sugar 2014/15 15

barrie fisher


Dining lein Air En P

Scenic views, fabulous food—a sampling of the Valley’s outdoor dining possibilities. By Candice WHite


here is assuredly a certain romance to sitting at a cramped café table on a Parisian side street, sipping a glass of wine and eating a baguette while taking in the bustling energy of the city. But when it comes to outdoor dining, I am not sure even Paris is a match for these unique outdoor dining choices in Vermont’s Mad River Valley: Historic Bridge Street (Waitsfield) Tucked quietly behind Bridge Street’s high-end shopping stretch lies a swath of green grass topped with square tables and surrounded by an ivy-covered pergola and flowering bushes. This oasis of rural tranquility invites patrons of a number of Bridge Street businesses to sit back, relax, and enjoy a bite.

Warren Store (Warren) This could be the coolest general store in the state of Vermont, selling a smorgasbord of items everyone loves. Penny candy, a variety of magazines that even the most literate would find satisfying, kooky T-shirts, fine yet affordable wines, a deli you’ll want to visit early or late but not at noon, when everyone and their brother is there, and, finally, a second floor filled with unique clothing, jewelry, and gift items that guarantee a compliment. But back to the food: the Breakfast Burrito and the Morning Muffin are local favorites; for lunch, made-to-order sandwiches like the Number Six (turkey with cranberry mayo) and the Foxy Lady (smoked ham and Swiss) are what keep the crowds coming. Not to mention the oversized cookies, which include the Long Trail—a dreamy treat made with dried cranberries, walnuts, and white chocolate chips. The store lies to one side of the river, with a picnic-tabled porch extending above the water. Grab a table here, or kick off your shoes and find a place on the gigantic river rocks below. (Monday–Saturday 8 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m.–6 p.m.) The Pitcher Inn (Warren) In my estimation, dinner at the Pitcher Inn is always an affair to remember, but how to make it even more memorable? Request a table upstairs on the porch, overlooking the perfectly green lawn and the coursing river bordered by grape vines, and relax in the stillness of a Vermont summer evening. Chef Sue Schickler’s food pairs well with the setting, and you won’t go wrong with anything on the menu, though if available, I always begin with the foie gras and the wine that longtime waiter Mason Cobb recommends with it, a 2010 Heidi Schröck Beerenauslese An entrée at the Pitcher Inn.

Pitcher inn

Stop in to the Sweet Spot for the hands-down best latte in town, and pair it with any number of delectable baked goods (I have a terrible time choosing between the scones and the coffee cake). If it’s lunchtime, visit Bridge Street Butchery for a custom-made sandwich or house-made soup (and take home some fish from Wood Mountain Fish for later). Or step into Peasant for a glass of wine from the owner’s vineyard—though you won’t stop there, as the staff is so friendly and the aromas so inviting you’ll want to stay for dinner. Lastly, Round Up at the River is an every-other-Wednesday summer gathering of these and other food purveyors, accompanied by live music and an even livelier community. (Sweet Spot: Monday– Wednesday 2 p.m.–8 p.m., Thursday–Sunday 8 a.m.–8 p.m.; Bridge Street Butchery: Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Peasant: Thursday–Monday after 5:30 p.m.)

American Flatbread.

Historic Bridge Street. 16 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

from Austria. Tracks, the inn’s more casual basement bar, has its own outdoor patio. (Both venues are open for dinner Wednesday– Monday 6 p.m.–9 p.m.) One final tip: If the outside tables are in high demand, hotel guests take priority. As it should be. Timbers Restaurant at Sugarbush (Warren) The outdoor patio at Timbers, surrounded by spilling-over flower boxes often teeming with hummingbirds, provides a front-row view of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Take a seat at one of the wrought-iron tables, order a glass of wine from a carefully chosen by-the-glass list (or a bottle off the “30 for $30” list), and settle in to catch the last glorious rays of the evening sun before watching it set in the west. Pair that with any number of small plates (I like the asparagus lyonnaise and the mussels) and an order of steak-frites or fresh catch from Wood Mountain Fish. All this, while restless kids can romp on the swing set or somersault down the slopes in full view. A perfect Vermont evening is at hand. (Breakfast daily 7:30–10 a.m.; dinner Thursday–Monday 5–9 p.m. Lunch across the courtyard on Castlerock Pub’s patio: daily late June through Labor Day, and weekends through Columbus Day.) Hogan’s Pub at Sugarbush Resort GOLF CLUB (Warren) When you are ready for spring, but Mother Nature is not, enjoy lunch inside at Hogan’s Pub, surrounded by windows, and take in stunning eastern views of the painstakingly maintained golf course and the Roxbury Mountain range. As warmer weather arrives, take your Arnold Palmer outdoors to the porch—but remember your sunscreen. The Neill Farm Burger is a longtime favorite here—with sautéed onions and blue cheese— along with an assortment of sandwiches and salads. Open through Halloween, celebrated with the Glow Golf Costume Party. (Sunday– Tuesday 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; Wednesday–Saturday 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sushi Nights on select Fridays.) American Flatbread (Waitsfield) Summer at American Flatbread means you can get a table here without waiting for hours, the kids can join in a game of soccer or Frisbee on the huge field out back, and you can relish this season’s slower pace while sipping a featured local draft in an Adirondack chair. Organic salads, pizzas, and homemade desserts like brownie a la mode keep me returning over and over again. (Thursday– Sunday 5–9:30 p.m.) Candice White has written for publications that include Vermont Life, Mothering online, and Seven Days Vermont. She has worked at Sugarbush since 2008.

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2014/15 17

Brian Mohr/Ember Photography


Nordic Tracks Local opportunities for Nordic skiing abound—whether on a designated trail or out the back door. by Brian Mohr


nlike its alpine cousin, Nordic skiing is something you can do just about anywhere there is snow and room to set off on skis, be it a field, a snow-covered path, or open woods—and we have all of these in abundance around here. While it stands alone as a sport for some skiers, many in the Mad River Valley enjoy Nordic skiing as the perfect complement to their more gravityfed alpine and backcountry skiing pursuits. Skiers of all kinds love it for the convenient exercise it provides, the rhythm and flow of the movements, and the self-reliance it demands. In addition to the woods and fields out our back doors, the Valley is home to several formal Nordic skiing centers and trails. Referring to all types of skiing where the heel of the boot cannot be fixed to the ski, Nordic skiing was the earliest form of skiing to arrive in the Valley, in the early decades of the twentieth century. Under their own power, skiers would take to any fields or mountainsides they could handle on the wooden planks and simple leather boots of the era. With the development of ski resorts throughout the U.S., Nordic skiing fell under the shadow of lift-served alpine skiing. But by the late 1970s and early ’80s, a nationwide boom in outdoor recreation and fitness led to renewed interest in the sport. Nearly one dozen Nordic ski centers operated in the Valley during this time, including trail networks at the Round Barn Farm and the Mad River Barn. Today, two excellent Nordic ski centers survive in the valley: Ole’s Cross Country Center and Blueberry Lake Cross Country and Snowshoeing Center, both in Warren. A 15-mile section of North America’s longest backcountry ski trail, the Catamount Trail, also passes through the Valley. Combined, these resources offer a tremendous variety of terrain, scenery, and opportunities for Nordic skiers and snowshoers of all abilities to explore some of the Valley’s quietest corners in winter.

Blueberry Lake Cross Country and Snowshoeing Center

Valley native Lenord Robinson opened Blueberry Lake in 1993 in his retirement. Now in his eighties, he’s still actively skiing the trails he built. Named after the beautiful lake in East Warren that Robinson himself constructed and that was later acquired by the Green Mountain National Forest, Blueberry Lake features more than 18 miles of groomed trails for classic cross-country skiing, skate skiing, or snowshoeing. Many trails are sheltered by the surrounding forest, ideal when it’s cold and the wind is blowing, but several carry into meadows with beautiful views of the mountains surrounding 18 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

A cross-country skier takes in spectacular mountain views.

the upper Mad River Valley. While there are great options for all abilities and energy levels, I’ve discovered that mixing trails 6, 7, 8, or 11 brings some solid climbs and fun descents to your ski tour. Lessons, as well as rental skis, snowshoes, and pulks (sleds for towing a child), are available. Well-behaved dogs are also welcome at Blueberry Lake. More info:

Ole’s Cross Country Center

Started in the late 1970s by Ole Mosseson, who returned home to his native Norway several years ago, Ole’s is just a couple of miles north of Blueberry Lake, alongside Airport Road. Featuring guided tours, lessons, a popular kids’ program, a ski shop, and a café open on weekends and holidays, Ole’s is cherished for its abundance of wide open views and its network of generally spacious and rolling trails. These same features, combined with Ole’s excellent grooming, make it a favorite place among locals to go skate skiing. Ole’s features about 30 miles of groomed trails. For some of the best views of the Green Mountain skyline, make your way out to trails 3, 4, 4a, and 5. Skis, snowshoes, and pulks are available for rental. More info:

Catamount Trail—Mad River Valley

(CT Sections 18 & 19) The Catamount Trail (CT) is a 300-mile Nordic and backcountry trail that varies in character and difficulty along the length of Vermont. The CT wouldn’t be possible without countless cooperative landowners and the volunteer members of the Catamount Trail Association (CTA) who help to maintain it. Approximately 15 miles of the CT weaves its way through the west side of the Valley between Lincoln Gap to the south and Huntington Gap to the north. The trail can be skied in either direction, and can be accessed at a variety of trailheads along its route. A scenic and popular section connects the Sugarbush Inn (park in the lot across the street) to the Mad River Barn along Route 17. This section winds, dips, and climbs for over 4 miles between the two inns, crossing German Flats Road along the way. If you’d like to experience a more remote side of the CT, head north from the Battleground Condos on Route 17, where the trail climbs into the Phen Basin backcountry toward Huntington Gap, and offers a fun descent upon return. The CT is generally ungroomed and unpatrolled; be sure to visit the CTA’s website,, for detailed trail information and other guidance before setting off. Brian Mohr is a writer and photographer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Outside, and on the cover of the Patagonia catalog.









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2014/15 19

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Snow Science Lifting the veil off the mysteries of snow. By Chris Enman


ere in Vermont, snow is something we dream of, live by, and obsess over, so I set out to answer some questions that explain the inner workings of snow and snowmaking on the mountain. Questions like: Why is manmade snow more durable than natural snow? What’s a snowmaking whale? What’s wet bulb temperature versus dry bulb? Does the mountain have a heart? How do you improve snowmaking efficiency? And, for kicks, just how much snow could you make with all the water in Lake Champlain? Snow: Natural vs. Manmade Sure, natural snow and manmade snow are both made of the same thing: water. But their molecular structure—how that water is bonded— looks entirely different up close. A natural snowflake is made up of fragile little hexagons all fused together. It can be light and fluffy; and, once skied over, these flakes shatter and compress. Manmade snow, on the other hand, is composed of frozen water droplets. The flakes look like round pellets, have more structural integrity than snowflakes, and feel denser underfoot. In other words, it’s not just more snow that keeps Sugarbush’s snowmaking trails going into May, it’s the structure of that snow that allows it to last so long. A Whale of a Tale We’ve all come across them—giant snowmaking mounds, or “whales,” as they’re called in the industry, sitting along the entire width of a trail, blocking our view down the mountain. Some may think they are terrain park features (they can be), while others see a lapse in grooming. So why does the “whale” exist? We took the question to Sugarbush’s head of snowmaking operations, Mike Wing. “It’s all about drainage and freezing,” said Wing. “If we groom over freshly made snow, we’ll compress all the still-moist balls together. The result would be a hard, firm—even icy—surface. By giving the whales a couple of days to drain and freeze the moisture insulated inside, we preserve the integrity of the snow, so when we do groom, the results are a better overall experience for our guests.” If the Mountain Had a Heart, It’d Be CB1 Much like your heart controls the flow of blood and oxygen to your body through a network of veins, Control Building 1, aka CB1, controls the flow of water and air to the mountain during snowmaking through a network of valves and plumbing. Need more snow to the Gate House side? Controllers stationed in CB1 will program computers to direct more water to the snow guns positioned on that side of the mountain to get the snow there. Is the temperature dropping, allowing for more water, less air, and better efficiency? Controllers in CB1 react accordingly by reducing the amount of air being produced in the plant.


A Sugarbush snowmaker setting up one of the new Snow Logic guns.

Wet versus Dry Bulb—Same Temperature, Different Results When is it possible to make snow at 39 degrees Fahrenheit? “When the humidity is at 10 percent or less,” says Wing. “Alternately, at 100 percent humidity, we can barely make snow even at 27 degrees.” The difference is in wet bulb versus dry bulb temperature. Dry bulb is the ambient air temperature, or what we traditionally measure with our home thermometers. Wet bulb combines the ambient air temperature with the relative humidity, and has a lower temperature reading than the dry bulb. Because humidity plays such a huge role in snowmaking, snowmakers use wet bulb readings to determine when to fire up the guns. In short, the dryer and colder the air, the better it is for snowmaking. Snowmaking Efficiency Water and compressed air are the two ingredients in snowmaking, with compressed air being the bigger energy consumer. But in recent years, the amount of energy required to make snow has been coming down, and the snow quality has been going up. Almost two million dollars of the newest technology will hit the slopes for the 2014–15 winter season, allowing Sugarbush to make more snow earlier in the season, and to use less compressed air and thus less energy. It’s a win for skiers, riders, and the environment. Champlain Powder Lake Champlain is the sixth-biggest lake in the United States and holds a whopping 6.8 trillion gallons of water. What could that make in snow? It takes 180,000 gallons of water to make 1 acre of snow, 1 foot deep. This means that Lake Champlain could cover more than 37.5 million acres with a foot of snow—or the entire state of Vermont (roughly 6.2 million acres) with over 6 feet of manmade powder. Chris Enman is an outdoor enthusiast and founder of Maple Tree Tea. He has worked at Sugarbush since 2006.

Photographer: Dan Ferrer

Sh re d d in g t h e woods with the right sleds is c ritic al.

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an Olympian

Among Us

U.S. Ski Team member Nolan Kasper calls Sugarbush home. By John Bleh


t was a warm morning in mid-April when I first met Nolan Kasper. I was waiting at the base of a lift tower on Mt. Ellen’s Inverness trail where Kasper, a newly sponsored athlete of Sugarbush, was making his first official appearance at the mountain. It wasn’t just about putting on clinics and signing autographs, though he did those things. An athlete as focused and dedicated as Kasper had to get a training session in beforehand. As I sat at the tower, soaking in the sun, I thought to myself how beautiful a day it would be, with the temperature reaching into the fifties. Looking down the hill, I saw Nolan come up over the rise on the upper Poma lift. Upon shouting an introduction and stating how perfect the day was, I got the reply, “Hopefully we can get this course firmed up to ski!” It was then I realized: slalom skiers don’t want warm and sunny conditions—they need the snow firm. Shows how much I knew. A large chunk of his training session was spent trying to get the snow firmed up. Coaches from the nearby Green Mountain Valley School, the local ski academy, worked on salting the course before his runs. When he took to the course, the first thing I noticed was how smooth and powerful a skier he was. He’s known for attacking a hill rather than being passive, and I could understand why he wanted the course firm. The problem of soft snow conditions garnered a lot of attention at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, where Kasper finished as the top U.S. slalom skier at thirteenth place overall (ahead of well-known American favorite Ted Ligety). It was the second straight Olympics in which he finished as the top American in that event; in Vancouver he finished twenty-fourth overall. Incredible finishes like that, while competing against the best in the world, make it hard to remember that Kasper is only twenty-five years old. When not busy competing or training, he can be found in one of the many classrooms at Dartmouth College pursuing a bachelor’s degree in economics. Because of his skiing career, his academic path has been a long one. He estimates a graduation date of 2021 if he continues enrolling in one quarter Kasper with Green Mountain Valley School students. each year. He says he


Kasper practicing on Inverness at Mt. Ellen.

tries not to think about life after competitive skiing, and at this point he doesn’t have a dream job outside of that. And maybe he won’t need to. Though most people spend more time laying out money in skiing than making it, Kasper’s been lucky enough—and competitive enough—to enjoy the other side. It was independence at a young age that helped foster that spirit. “I want to go fast” was how Nolan explained his credo. As a kid he found that thirst quenched by the thrill of skiing. After visiting from New Jersey to ski every winter in Vermont, in 2000 his family moved to the Mad River Valley, where Kasper spent time skiing Sugarbush, among other mountains. His brother currently attends the Green Mountain Valley School, though Nolan himself competed against them during his high school days at Burke Mountain. It hasn’t always been fun and games, and it hasn’t always been easy. Kasper has already endured two hip surgeries and a knee surgery. “It was boring coming back at first, having to fight the adrenaline,” he says. “But you have to wait. You can’t go too hard or too fast too soon.” In between training, competition, and schoolwork, Kasper will return to Sugarbush several times over the next year. He’ll likely be giving clinics and signing autographs, but before that, I’m guessing we’ll see him packing down the slope, and testing the texture of the snow, in preparation for a morning training session that demonstrates just how fast an Olympic slalom skier can move. John Bleh has worked for various ski resorts throughout Vermont over the last ten years. He now works in communications for Sugarbush.

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Welcome to the Woods A novicedtsroeeut skier hean Egan witH Joh first for her son off-trail les


By Katie Baco

Photos n h Jo n Atkinso


he text came in early on a crisp and sunny morning in April: “John Egan will meet you in two hours to take you skiing in the trees.”

Most skiers reading this would have been thrilled—a chance to spend the morning exploring Sugarbush’s famed off-piste options with extreme-skiing legend John Egan. But for me, an intermediate skier who has rarely ventured off-trail, the prospect was more terrifying than thrilling.

When I met up with him at the base of the Gate House lift, Egan did his best to put my mind at ease, telling me that first we’d test things out and work on my turns on one or two of the groomers. And that even though Sugarbush is known for its rugged, “ridiculously good” lines through the trees, the huge range of its woods terrain, including the 2,000-acre Slide Brook Basin, means that there’s something for every level of tree skier, from someone who has starred in a bunch of Warren Miller films to an intermediate skier who wants to take things to the next level. “We can go in and out of the woods on the side of the trail to test spots. There are lots of little sections on this mountain, which is why it’s so great for people who want to learn,” he said. Skiing in the trees, he told me, is all about attitude. “It’s a mental thing—if you know how to do this on the mountain, then you can do it in the woods. It’s a matter of taking that confidence and applying it to different terrain.” We headed down Birch Run, working on a variety of turning styles I would need in the woods. Egan had me shift my weight quickly from one ski to the other, lifting the uphill ski for emphasis. He had me do quick hockey-stop turns, and turns where I exaggerated my up-and-down movement, explaining that the faster I moved my body, the more I could control my speed and the slower I’d go. “If I

Even though Sugarbush is known for its rugged, “ridiculously good” lines through the trees, the huge range of its woods terrain, including the 2,000-acre Slide Brook Basin, means that there’s something for every level of tree skier. move faster than gravity pulls me, I slow down. If I move slower, I go faster. It’s simple math.” He pulled over to the edge of the trail, by the entrance to Deeper Sleeper. “You’re going to be fine, no problem. We’re going to have a blast,” he said. Then we headed into the woods.

The author studying John Egan’s line into Deeper Sleeper. 26 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

Skiing in the woods at Sugarbush has grown substantially over the past decade or so, with the opening of woods terrain like Eden, Lew’s Line, and Egan’s Woods, and you can now head off-piste from many trails, including (with a backcountry guide) into the Slide Brook Basin. The Basin—which has been designated critical habitat for the black bears that feed off nuts from the beech trees growing there—is open for recreational use in the winter when the bears are hibernating but closed during the seasons when the bears are waking up and actively looking for food. Groups can take their pick of lines through the wilderness from North Lynx down to German Flats Road, where they can get on the Mad Bus to Mt. Ellen or back to Sugarbush. For Russ Kauff, the director of the Sugarbush Ski & Ride School, the volume of available wooded terrain at Sugarbush, and the ability to easily integrate it into instruction for multiple levels of skiers, is part of what drew him to the mountain. “The adventure component has always been at the center of what we’ve done,” he said. He describes how, when teaching either children or adults, instructors will help them perfect a particular skill on familiar terrain, and then will move into woods with the same pitch to work on the same skill there. “We help you take those turns you were doing really well on the mountain and put them in the woods. That’s how you expand the terrain on which someone can ski,” Kauff said. With the availability of many levels of off-piste skiing, from gentle slopes to steep chutes and drops worthy of Tuckerman’s or the Alps, from widely spaced trees to tight, spruce-packed woods, many different lesson groups head off the trail. Anyone who wants to practice skiing on ungroomed terrain can take a Max 4 Adventure Workshop. Skiers and riders can also hire a guide to take them into Slide Brook. For the season-long programs, John Egan’s group of Bush Pilots spend much of their time in the woods, as do many of the youth in the Blazers program. Rick Hale, who is one of the instructors for the Mountaineering Blazers program, says skiing in the woods—and being in the woods—is an integral part of the adventure and the skills he tries to impart. Every weekend when the conditions are right, the Mountaineering Blazers head out with backpacks and skins for their skis so they can climb up the hills and reach areas not serviced by lifts. “When the woods skiing is on,” Hale said, “we’re in the woods more often than not.” Aside from teaching kids who love going straight down the hill that they have to slow down (“In the woods, they learn pretty quick that they need to turn,”

“We help you take those turns you were doing really well on the mountain and put them in the woods. That’s how you expand the terrain on which someone can ski.” – Russ Kauff, Ski & Ride School Director said Hale), the woods provide a chance for building teamwork and teaching responsibility on the slopes. “When you go in the woods, it’s serious,” said Hale. “We teach people that they need to stay together and keep an eye on each other.” For Dave Gould, a PSIA-certified instructor who teaches private lessons in alpine and telemark skiing to both children and adults, the extensive territory of the Slide Brook Basin provides an unusual

A Blazers instructor leads his crew through Slide Brook.

chance for his students to immerse themselves in a mountain environment. “You can see claw marks on the trees from the bears, animal tracks in the snow, and holes from the pileated woodpeckers. Slide Brook should be and is a big part of the whole adventure,” Gould said. Andy LeStage, a longtime Sugarbush skier who is in Bush Pilots with his wife, and whose two children are in the Blazers program, also sees Slide Brook as integral to the mountain’s appeal. “The seclusion of it, the separation from the rest of the resort, the length of the run, and the whole event—Slide Brook is pretty unique,” he said. Meg Adams, who skied with her family at Sugarbush most weekends this past winter and took lessons with Gould, describes the evolution of her attitude about skiing in the woods, helped along by some skilled coaching. “I started slowly in Eden, which used to look tight and I would stop breathing! Now it looks so open and flat. Dave always asks how we are feeling, if we want to try something new, and talks a little bit about the topography and how to use it to help slow us down or speed us up. Toward the end of the winter I was in the woods in places that were really remarkable. It’s being able to take in the beauty in those woods that is becoming a driving force for me in terms of skiing,” she said. Extensive knowledge of the mountain and its terrain is essential when skiing in the woods here. Woods terrain, more than any other, said Kauff, “highlights the value of really great coaching. We have people who know this place like the back of their hand, and they know not just where the good stashes are but which one would suit this guest with this skill set on this day and in these conditions.” This knowledge is especially important early in the season, as the snow is just building up to skiable depth in the woods. For Egan and other instructors, figuring out when the woods are safe to ski is an involved process. “My gauge for woods skiing is testing the area with exploratory missions. I take hikes through my favorite areas and test snow depth. Soon these trips start producing a turn here and there and eventually a first run. It is a fool who jumps in after a powder storm without prior knowledge,” he said. But when the snow is right at Sugarbush, there are those who spend all day in and among the trees. As Rick Hale described it, “I’ll be sitting at Castlerock Pub or the Wünderbar après ski, and so many people will tell me, ‘I didn’t ski a trail all day!’” 2014/15 27

John Egan’s Rules for Skiing in the Trees • Always put goggles on and take your pole straps off before heading into the woods. • Pay extra attention to weather: the sun, the shadows, and the temperature. Even if the snow is soft on Spring Fling, it may not be soft yet in the woods next to the trail. • Use the ungroomed corridor at the edge of the trail next to the trees to practice. With trees on one side, you’re half tree skiing. • Stay calm inside and go at a slower pace. The woods are a place for classical music, not ZZ Top. • The snowplow is awesome; you can always use it to slow down. • Always look down the hill. The hill is the puck; the ball, the opponent. Don’t turn away. • Make a plan for your run through the trees. Adjust as necessary. • Don’t follow someone else’s turns. Take your own line. • Pause to appreciate what’s around you: the pileated woodpeckers, the birch trees, and the mountain streams. • Watch out: Skiing in the woods can be addicting.

As we headed into the soft snow of Deeper Sleeper, I watched as Egan made quick, smooth turns that made it seem as if the trees weren’t even there. I tried to follow his line, and used the technique we’d worked on of lifting one ski or another to step over scattered rocks and logs that my ten-year-old son, if he’d been there, might have jumped over or caromed off. We stopped halfway down so Egan could give me some tips. With the more challenging terrain of the woods, I was reverting to my old habit of facing a little sideways rather than down the hill. “The goalie never looks away from the guys with the puck, but he can move left and right. Think of yourself as a goalie, moving laterally left and right to avoid the trees,” he said. After a few more runs in and out of the trees, we made our way over to the Heaven’s Gate lift, then headed down Ripcord and over into the woods off Downspout. This time, I decided to take my own line rather than trying to follow Egan’s. I remembered his mantra—“You get speed by going down the hill, you give it away by turning”—and concentrated on facing downhill and getting to a point of comfort with the speed I was going before starting the next turn. I took off down through the silent and sun-speckled woods, with no sound other than the wind rustling through the trees and the swish of my skis. Up ahead, I heard Egan whoop. Behind, at my own pace, I felt the same sense of exhilaration. I knew next season I’d be back in Sugarbush’s woods. There was a lot more territory for me to explore.


Katie Bacon, a writer and editor based in Boston, is the managing editor of Sugarbush Magazine.

don’t accept good enough–

Be Better

Sugarbush Ski & Ride School offers single and multi-day group programs, specialized multi-weekend and season-long programs for children and adults, adult maximum-4 group lessons, and private lessons for the most customized one-on-one learning. Book now for winter. | 800.53.SUGAR

2014/15 29

valley exposure

jeb wallace-brodeur

Win Smith takes the Pond Skimming plunge.

sandy Macys The community pitches in at American Flatbread following Tropical Storm Irene.

O C B #S


cory rondeau

John Egan, Eric Friedman, and Roy Tuscany.

Retro gear on display at December’s annual SugarBash.

The Mad River Path’s Mad Dash.

Warren Fourth of July parade.

Community Weekend 2014. B. McInerney

parker Herlihy

Bear Simmons judges the Gel채ndesprung Championship.

Coach Diggety in Slide Brook.

Riemergasse Park at Mt. Ellen.

jeb wallace-brodeur

Vasu Sojitra ripping some fresh powder.

valley exposure


Fifty Years of Sugarbush’s iconic French bistrot—and the man behind it.

By Candice White Photos courtesy of Charlie Brown

There is nothing at all pretentious about Henri Borel ... he enjoys a hot dog equally as much as he enjoys beef Bourguignon ... for its uniqueness, for its timelessness, and for the story it tells. Henri and Rosie.

he screen door slams shut behind me as I walk briskly into the bar of Hogan’s Pub, the small, windowed restaurant atop Sugarbush Resort Golf Club with eastern views of the Green and White Mountains. I quickly glance around to see if I can locate my lunch date, admonishing myself for my tardiness, and hoping I haven’t kept him waiting too long. I slow down a notch, catch my breath, and cast my eyes about the bar.

and François. (Truth be told, it’s not until three-quarters of the way through our lunch that I realize Henri has two children with almost the same name. “That’s confusing!” I finally admit. Henri agrees: “Yes, for them, for us, for everyone”—including Georgetown University, he says, which assumed that “Françoise” was a boy’s name and placed her in an all-male dormitory after she was accepted as an undergraduate.)

It’s a sunny spring day, just past noon, and I don’t expect to see customers on the stools, but the bartender is chatting amiably with a well-coiffed gentleman wearing a gray golf shirt with a green sweater thrown casually around his shoulders. The man is perched on a stool, with an air of elegance, sipping a glass of red wine.

I could happily spend all afternoon chatting amiably with Henri about nothing in particular, but I heed my list of questions, and ask Henri to take me on his journey from France to Sugarbush.

Ahhh. I have a moment of recognition as I recall that this is not a normal business lunch, but a lunch date with a Frenchman, and in France, people do sit at bars at noon, and wine at lunch is mandatory. Henri Borel, the original proprietor of Chez Henri, the notable French bistrot in historic Sugarbush Village, is deep in conversation at the far end of the bar with the server and another patron or two. This is standard protocol for Henri, who has a knack for pulling people out of their solitary states, making them feel comfortable, and engaging them in dialogue about almost anything. After we share greetings and settle ourselves at a table on the sunsplashed deck, our conversation turns to food. I join him in a glass of wine, and ask him what he is considering off the menu. “I think I am going to have a soup and a hot dog, maybe,” Henri suggests. “A hot dog is something that reminds me of when I used to go to UVM to watch a game … when my son François was playing soccer.” I am surprised that Henri is having a hot dog and soup—clam chowder, to be precise. I had expected something more gourmet from the man who first brought French cuisine to Sugarbush. But the more I get to know him, the more I understand that there is nothing at all pretentious about Henri Borel, and that he enjoys a hot dog equally as much as he enjoys beef Bourguignon … for its uniqueness, for its timelessness, and for the story it tells. Henri’s lunch order leads us to a short discussion of his family: his wife of more than fifty years, Rosie, and their two children, Françoise 36 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

Henri Borel was born in 1926 in Avignon, a city in the southeast of France on the banks of the Rhône River. As a youth he recalls spending Thursday afternoons—his day off from school—with his grandfather, cleaning out oak barrels used for wine storage. His grandfather was one of the first wine merchants in Avignon, selling a red wine (Gigondas) and a rosé (Lirac), which he recalls as “simple drinking wines.” Today, both wines are sought-after French varietals. Henri joined the French Armed Forces in 1944, just after D Day, and journeyed to Alsace-Lorraine for a six-month tour of duty that would pass through the Black Forest. Shortly thereafter, in 1945, peace was declared, and his army unit was sent to the war-ravaged, struggling city of Berlin. His unit was woefully unprepared for the scarcity of food in the city. He recalls one situation where the men had to approach a British unit for food. (The French troops were given donuts.) And another, where his unit hunted for food in a park in the middle of Berlin, shooting and then cooking “two beautiful deer.” Henri’s normally cheery disposition flattens, and his heavily accented voice reveals a wistfulness brought on by his recollections: a burnedout city, a starving population. “All accidents of life are part of life,” he muses. Shortly after the war, Henri traveled to England, intent on improving his English skills. He found work with Group Captain Geoffrey Cheshire, one of the most highly decorated British fighters of World War II, who had opened a large home in Hampshire to house and care for those in need. After working there for the good part of a year, Henri heeded the advice of a beautiful woman he met there to

The Chez Henri menu.

“go out and see the world.” He accepted a job on a merchant marine ship, and began his journey. Over the next several years, Henri’s merchant marine work took him to New Zealand, Panama, Seattle, and South America. On a short leave, Henri toured Paris, where, while walking along the ChampsÉlysées, he spotted an Air France office with a sign soliciting recruits. Henri was soon offered a position as a steward with Air France, and continued his travels, this time by air. As Henri lists the names of places he visited while working for Air France—Rio de Janeiro, St. Martin, Alaska, Japan, Tehran—he adds that he skied in both Japan and Tehran. “I called it skiing, though I did not know how to make a turn,” he says, chuckling. I am curious to learn where Henri first learned to ski, knowing that these days, he skis an average of fifty times a year. Henri mentions Olivier Coquelin, a fellow Frenchman who plays a key role in Henri’s tale. Coquelin accompanied Henri on a trip to Saint-Gervais, in the French Alps, where they first sampled the sport of skiing. Coquelin arrived at Sugarbush in the late 1950s to become the manager of Ski Club Ten—named after the “ten” original members. It had a roster of jet-setting clients, including club founders Hans and Peter Estin, brothers Oleg and Igor Cassini, Skitch Henderson, and the New York socialite Nan Kempner. After several years running the club amid this high-octane crowd (who helped earn Sugarbush the nickname “Mascara Mountain”), Coquelin moved to New York City to open a nightclub—what would become the famed Le Club, in the East Fifties. Coquelin looked to Henri as his replacement. “Coquelin tells me, ‘Sugarbush is a beautiful place. It is sunny all the time.’ … I know he lies, but I came anyway.” Thus Henri, Rosie—newly pregnant with their son—and their six-month-old daughter, Françoise, moved into a single room on the first floor of Ski Club Ten. Henri thought he might stay for a year—but that was more than fifty years ago.

In 1964, Sugarbush founders Damon and Sara Gadd, close friends and colleagues of Henri’s, had an idea. Knowing Henri’s past experience running numerous restaurants (Ski Club Ten, the Sugarbush Inn,

Henri knocked down walls and added archways and a fireplace to create a French bistrot atmosphere.

the Alpen Inn) and helping with Coquelin’s nightclubs in New York City and South Hampton, they asked Henri to open a restaurant at the mountain. The Gadds offered him free rent, insurance, and carte blanche access to a building just through the covered bridge in Sugarbush Village. Henri and Rosie decided to give it a try. “We had no money,” Henri says, “and I don’t believe in new things.” He remembers the tribulations involved in infusing character into the new building. “There was no fireplace, so I stole the flue from the bathroom to make one. Then I spent a few days knocking down the walls to make arches.” Rosie decorated, supplying antiques from her shop, paintings on loan from or donated by artists, booths bought at auction, and Les Olivades fabrics imported from France. The restaurant opened shortly before Christmas in 1964. There was no snow, the mountain was brown, it was raining, and Stein Eriksen, the Norwegian Olympian, had just arrived to run the Sugarbush Ski School. “I still remember Stein saying, ‘They told me there was snow at Sugarbush. Is this true?’ We had a problem at Sugarbush for Stein—no snow, and no Aquavit.” (Vermont’s stringent liquor laws were infamous even back then.) Snow did arrive shortly after Christmas, and things began to look up. “Stein was my best customer,” Henri says. “He had a table by the fireplace.” He continues, “We were very lucky Stein was here. He was a very interesting man for everyone … well, maybe not for the husbands.” Jean Claude Killy and Vincent Sardi were regulars, as was Igor Cassini—a close friend of Jackie Onassis’s, the brother of designer Oleg Cassini, and the writer of the syndicated column “Cholly Knickerbocker.” Henri’s customers over the ensuing years were a Who’s Who of American society, with Yoko Ono, the Kennedy clan, and the Heinz family among them. “I was going to name the restaurant ‘L’Escargot,’” he says. But the Gadds, who spoke some French, had envisioned saying they were “dining at Henri’s place”—“chez Henri.” Prior to opening, while Henri was in South Hampton with Coquelin, he received the insurance certificate in the mail. It read “Chez Henri.” The Gadds had had the final say. But L’Escargot is still a part of the story. In the late 1960s, Henri began a search for a business partner so he could spend more 2014/15 37

Henri presents the cup to the victors.

The Chez Henri Cup Twenty-eight years ago this winter, in 1986, the Georges Duboeuf Chez Henri Cup made its debut at Sugarbush. Snowfall had been light that year, and Henri Borel realized he needed to shake things up. All that was necessary was some wine, and a race course. Borel called the main importer at Georges Duboeuf Winery in New York City to introduce his idea. But the call did not go well.

Henri’s partner, Bernard Perillat, at the bar.

Undeterred, Henri placed a call to Georges Duboeuf himself, in France. (They had never met.) He left a message. Within a half hour, Duboeuf called him back. The two Frenchmen quickly established a rapport based on their shared fondness of wine and skiing. The next day, the naysaying importer from New York called Henri back—how much wine did he need? The race was on. The first race attracted around 100 participants. “It was a big success,” recalls Chez Henri co-owner Bernard Perillat.

time with his family. At the recommendation of a friend, he drove to Montreal one evening to meet Bernard Perillat. Over an hour-long chat—and a plate of escargots—Henri and Bernard formed what would turn out to be a partnership that has lasted forty-five years.

Chez Henri has not changed much since 1964. The same artwork adorns the walls. The same fabric covers the tables. And the menu remains classically French: steak tartare, country paté, croquemonsieur, steak-frites, and, of course, escargots. The staff, too, has a continuity. Jack Lonsdale, the Harvard graduate turned ski bum who ran the 1960s-era bus ferrying New Yorkers to Sugarbush, has tended bar for decades. “My notion of a business is that the most important thing is the crew,” Henri confides. He thinks out loud about his own role in the restaurant. “My job is to always present the good side. Any situation is an interesting situation.” I am reminded that a crew needs a good captain. While Henri insists he is not the leader, it is he who makes the restaurant so enchanting. In December 2014, he will have run Chez Henri for fifty years. I ask him if he has big plans for the restaurant’s anniversary. “No plans,” he responds. “I am waiting for the big number. One hundred.” His loyal patrons may have other ideas. Editor’s Note: In deference to Henri, we have spelled bistrot in the French manner throughout this article. 38 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

The twenty-eighth annual cup—now called the Grand Marnier Chez Henri Cup, based on its current sponsor—takes place on March 28, 2015. Race registration is held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday at Chez Henri, accompanied by cheese fondue and, of course, lots of good French wine. Late race registration is held Saturday morning from 8 to 9:30 a.m. in Gate House Lodge at Lincoln Peak, prior to a 10 a.m. race start. The race, held on Racer’s Edge, is open to all ages and abilities. Truth be told, it may be more about the before and after parties than the race itself—though Henri traditionally takes home a gold medal in his age category. Saturday’s après celebration invites participants back to Chez Henri at 3 p.m. for awards, a raffle, and more French food and wine (you can never have too much). Proceeds of the race go to one of two local nonprofits—the Mad River Valley Health Center or the Mad River Valley Community Fund. What started out as a lark has become a cheery tradition that draws skiers from nine to ninety to face off on the race course—and, more importantly, to gather together afterward to share something to eat, something to drink, and something to talk about. Henri on the race course.

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A River Runs Through It

The Mad River is more than a source of water, recreation, power, and—occasionally—devastation. It’s the geographical and spiritual heart of the community. By Peter Oliver


ith cliffs and boulders and terraced pools and water-sculpted sluiceways, Warren Falls on the Mad River is an almost cathedral-like work of natural architecture. But on a hot summer day, the falls are transformed into a

watery jungle gym, with the under-twenty crowd and accompanying canines well represented. Daredevil divers scramble to narrow ledges 30 feet or more above the river to launch themselves into the deep-green water below. Others throw backflips off of giant riverside boulders, while still others slide down short stretches where the river, over time, has smoothed and shaped the rock into bobsled-like chicanes. Many simply luxuriate in the pools, kept cool in the mountain air, that provide relief from the summer heat. Cathedral and jungle gym, Warren Falls—in its beauty, its hydraulic energy, its abundant recreational possibilities—is emblematic of a river that is the geographical and spiritual heart of the community that surrounds it. Both now and historically, the river is such an aortal and vital centerpiece that it is, of course, the Valley eponym. Towns have flourished on its banks and hillsides—Warren, Waitsfield, Fayston, Moretown, Middlesex—but they are all bundled into a greater whole, the Mad River

dennis curran

~ In fact, it has at times been seen as a river of almost too much character. That’s one reason why the Mad River Valley was a relative latecomer in the overall settlement of Vermont. According to the recent documentary film Hill Farming in the Mad River Valley: Past, Present & Future, early settlers initially resisted building near the river because of its frequent habit of flooding. Given the surrounding geography of steep hillsides and a narrow valley floor, floods, though usually short-lived, could be sudden and devastating. According to the film, significant flooding has occurred twenty-one times since the late eighteenth century, most notably in 1927, 1998, and 2011, with Tropical Storm Irene. According to Jeff Nelson, a partner in Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB), an environmental consulting firm, the Mad River’s highs and lows “range considerably, from placid to raging, making it a very flashy system from a hydrological standpoint.” Irene provided a painful demonstration of the river system’s capacity for violent rage. Brooklets no wider than a hand turned quickly into torrents, exploding beyond their banks and overwhelming culverts before converging with compounded force in larger tributaries and, ultimately, the river itself. Roads like Route 100 through Granville Gulf and German Flats Road in Fayston caved in and became impassable rubble. Bridge Street in Waitsfield and the covered bridge for which it is named were so heavily damaged that images were shown on the national news. (Singer Grace Potter, who grew up in the Valley, even wrote a song commemorating the storm, “Nothing but the Water.”) Homes and businesses near the river’s edge were washed away or rendered uninhabitable, and riverside farmland became inundated with life-choking silt and debris. The river tore away savagely at its banks and reinvented itself, creating new channels to vent its fury.

Waitsfield’s covered bridge functions as a river crossing as well as a favorite Valley swimming spot.

Valley. As Kinny Perot, president of Friends of the Mad River, puts it, “Water is the great connector.” As rivers go, the Mad is barely a flyspeck, flowing northward for just 26 miles from its source in Granville Gulf to its confluence in Middlesex with the Winooski River. And, like all rivers, the Mad is not a singular organism but instead the core constituent of a vascular complex of rivulets that feed tributary streams that in turn feed the river itself. Thirteen noteworthy tributaries flow into the Mad River, as well as innumerable and ephemeral ribbons of water that rise and expire in accordance with rainfall patterns. In all, its watershed is only about 140 square miles—a fraction of the more than 1,000 square miles drained by the Winooski, for example. And compared with the world’s largest watershed, the Amazon River basin, covering more than 2.7 million square miles, the Mad might seem a piddling trickle of utter inconsequence. But, as its name suggests, it is nonetheless a river of robust and sometimes volatile character, upon which the surrounding valley has for centuries depended for agriculture, industry, transportation, recreation, and inspiration. 44 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

Irene’s rampage remains fresh in the minds of today’s Valley resident, and while the river’s run of destruction on August 28, 2011, was relatively short-lived—just a few hours, really—its impacts were costly and are still being felt to this day. Financial losses (roughly $200 million for the entire state) stretched well into the millions of dollars—a big hit for a small valley—and the local community was forced to rethink its management plans for stormwater, erosion, and riverside development should future Irene-sized storms strike. Businesses at the river’s edge, like MINT restaurant on Bridge Street, now stock supplies of sandbags as a precaution. And the river, as a hydrological entity, was forever changed by Irene. Heavy, fast-moving storms two years later caused flooding in Warren

Swimmers enjoying a summer day at Warren Falls.

But while the river’s occasional incarnation as a destructive force is memorable and startling, for the vast majority of the time the river is a gentle and well-behaved source of life and contentment in the surrounding valley. Thus is the river responsible, to borrow from Dickens, for both the Valley’s best of times and its worst of times, with the former far exceeding the latter in number. When early settlers finally did accept the river as a life-supporting entity rather than an intemperate rogue, it was not simply as a source of water but as a source of energy. At one time, says Corrie Miller, executive director of Friends of the Mad River, there might have been as many as fifty-nine mills within the watershed— sawmills, gristmills, bobbin mills, and so on—tapping the river system’s hydraulics for energy. Only vestiges of that industrial past remain: a small hydroelectric dam in Moretown, with a 920-kilowatt capacity; and, in Warren, the remains of an old timber crib dam, now in gradual decay, a non-operational historical relic. There is also a small weir, put in place only during the winter months by Sugarbush, just to the north of the bridge crossing the river between Waitsfield and Warren. First built in 1995, the weir, with an accompanying flume, measures river flow before

of VHB, who consulted for Sugarbush on the issue, it was a novel concept. Sugarbush also agreed to monitor fish populations after the construction of the weir. “The study went on for a period of years,” says Nelson, “and there was no impact.”

~ The creation of the snowmaking pond represents a turning point, both real and symbolic, in the interface between the river and the people of the Valley—indeed, a change in priorities for the entire state of Vermont. Before the 1990s, dams built within the Mad River watershed had a manufacturing or agricultural raison d’être. The Sugarbush weir, on the other hand, was all about recreation and tourism, which has come to displace agriculture as the state’s leading industry. Tourism contributes between $1.5 billion and $2 billion annually to the state economy, according to various estimates. One study reports that tourism accounts for about 15 percent of Vermont’s economy, a percentage that ranks sixth among U.S. states. Swimming, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and skiing (indirectly, through the water supplied by the pond) are now among the principal activities supported by the river, rather than energy production or agriculture. Artists with easels can often be seen along the river’s banks, inspired by the natural beauty of their riparian surroundings. sandy macys

Village and Granville Gulf that might not have occurred if feeder streams hadn’t been rerouted and debris deposits hadn’t been left behind by the Irene floods.

The Mad River is nonetheless a river of robust and sometimes volatile character, upon which the surrounding valley has for centuries depended for agriculture, industry, transportation, recreation, and inspiration. allowing water to be diverted to fill Sugarbush’s 25-million-gallon snowmaking pond. The pond has become a critical resource for Sugarbush in assuring widespread trail coverage, especially during periods when natural snow might be lean. The pond is the outcome of a protracted battle two decades ago between the ski area and environmental groups. “‘Water wars’ is how I describe my time there,” says Robert Apple, who now works for Stowe Mountain Resort but who at the time led Sugarbush’s effort to secure water-withdrawal permits. Environmental organizations such as the Conservation Law Foundation argued that withdrawing water for snowmaking would damage fish habitat in the river, and for a decade or more they were able to stymie Sugarbush in Vermont environmental court. A truce between the ski area and environmentalists was eventually reached, when it was agreed that water could be withdrawn from the river only when the level exceeded the median flow for February, and local, state, and federal permits were granted. February median flow has since become a standard applied to similar water-withdrawal projects around the country, but at the time, according to Nelson

The Mad River inspires artists all year round. 2014/15 45

Brian Mohr/Ember Photography

Local whitewater enthusiast Justin Beckwith surfing a wave in one of the Mad River’s favorite playspots during spring runoff.

For stewards of the river, such as Friends of the Mad River, that means a different set of priorities in maintaining the river than might have existed a century—or even just decades—ago. “While economics are still in play, we see more of the effects of [our] activity on ecology,” says Miller. “What Friends tries to do is balance those values.” A concern for the river’s ecological health is a big shift from the stewardship of days gone by, when not only farms but individual homes would discharge effluents directly into the river. According to Friends of the Mad River, it wasn’t so long ago that outhouses were sometimes built directly over the river, “straightpiping” waste, as Perot puts it. Health experts warned against swimming in the river. Times, of course, have changed. Friends of the Mad River volunteers regularly monitor E. coli levels, and except on very rare occasions, the numbers come in far below minimum safety standards set by the state. Riparian buffers—mainly trees along the river that also stabilize the river’s banks and provide cooling shade—have been built alongside farmland abutting the river to minimize agricultural runoff. Swimming holes such as Warren Falls south of Warren Village and Lareau Farm south of Waitsfield Village have now become so popular that parking areas have had to be expanded in the last few years. As part of an annual stocking program, the state released 2,400 rainbow and brook trout into the river this spring, while native fish, mostly absent from the main river, can still be found in tributary brooks. Freeman Brook, which joins the Mad River in Warren, is also known as Kids’ Brook, reserved exclusively for under-fourteen anglers. According to Matt Crawford, former outdoor editor for the Burlington Free Press and now an outdoors public-relations consultant in the Valley, the Mad isn’t a great river for fishing. “The Winooski, one of the best fishing rivers in the entire state, is a much better fishery,” says Crawford. But he goes on to say that “what makes the Mad great is that it is approachable—not super-technical to wade, not difficult to figure out. There’s nothing better than grabbing lunch and a few beverages at the Warren Store and going higher up [south of Warren].” When the river runs high in spring, whitewater kayakers have their 46 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

time of glory, surfing waves produced from melted snow that at one time might have covered Sugarbush trails like Paradise and Stein’s Run. And while Irene was a disaster for many, it was seen as an opportunity for Justin Beckwith, local whitewater enthusiast and director of Nordic programs at Green Mountain Valley School. The Mad in midsummer typically runs at the easygoing pace of about 300 cubic feet per second, as measured at the dam near Moretown. But on the morning of August 29, 2011, after the river had come down from a historic high of 22,900 cubic feet per second, Beckwith jumped into Mill Brook, which parallels Route 17, in his 14-foot boat. He rode the roiling water down the Mad and Winooski Rivers all the way into Lake Champlain, 60 miles in all. Clearly, however, those were extreme conditions. What Beckwith believes makes the Mad a great river is not its allure for whitewater extremists. Instead, it offers something for paddlers of all abilities using all manner of nonmotorized conveyance: kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards. In addition to terrific whitewater spots— pockets above Warren Falls, the Punch Bowl between Warren and Waitsfield, the final stretch beyond the Moretown dam—the river also features what Beckwith calls “awesome beginner-level moving water and intermediate rapids.” As the summer heat recedes and eventually gives way to winter, the paddlers put their boats in storage and swimmers and divers at Warren Falls prepare for the recreational opportunities that winter brings. Under the mantle of winter, the river is a changed environment of ice, quiet, sluggish runnels of chilled water, and mushroom-like tufts of snow on the rocks in the river. It is almost a form of hibernation, as if the river were catching its breath in preparation for all the activity that will resume in the spring. From the exuberance of Warren Falls on a hot summer day to the somber beauty of midwinter, the Mad River has been many things to the many people who have used and abused it over the years, variously a source of pleasure, prosperity, and calamity. For residents and visitors to the Valley, it is life. Peter Oliver is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in many national and Canadian publications. He lives in Warren.

Peter cirilli

e asT k in The 12 R a p in Te RRa oaRding, 20 b a T op 5 R a nk e d s woRl d snow n a R T by

Coffee Experts

Central Vermont Medical Center

Central to Your Well Being / 2014/15 47




Sugarbush purchases 351 low-energy snowmaking guns, completing a five-year, $5 million plan to upgrade the mountain’s snowmaking program.


Construction is completed on Rice Brook Residences, private homes linking Lincoln Peak Village to historic Sugarbush Village. Seventy low-energy snow guns are added to improve snowmaking efficiency and capacity.


Housing children’s programs and skier services, the Schoolhouse and Farmhouse open, rounding out the base facilities at Lincoln Peak Village.


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.


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.

2001 Summit Ventures,

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


The American Skiing Company era begins. ASC 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.


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



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.

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


Roy Cohen purchases Sugarbush (in 1977) and Glen Ellen (in 1979). The two areas join under the Sugarbush brand. Glen Ellen is renamed Sugarbush North to reflect the union. (In 1995, it is renamed Mt. Ellen.)


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.


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


Late s Plans develop to build a lift between Inverness at Glen Ellen and the summit of Stark Mountain at Mad River Glen. Two trails from the summit would connect skiers to trails at Mad River. Although the lift line to the summit was cleared, the project never materialized.


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


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.


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.



With a newly rebuilt access road, a top-to-bottom gondola, 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.


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.


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.


Eugene Krylov


local knowledge

Factoids to

Maximize Your Sugarbush Visit

Tue & Wed


of tickets are purchased from 9 to 11 AM–arrive earlier to avoid the rush, or go direct-to-lift with a season pass or SugarDirect Card.

11 AM – 1 PM

sees 51% of all cafeteria traffic. Plan a late breakfast or late lunch and avoid the crowd press. Timbers Restaurant serves brunch and lunch on weekends and holidays—ski boots welcome.

(non-holiday) are the quietest days, followed by Mondays and then Thursdays. Saturdays 30% Sunday 23% Mondays 9% Tuesdays 6% Wednesdays 7% Thursdays 10% Fridays 15%


of all skier/rider visits occur during holiday periods, which make up roughly 12% of the winter. Plan to come the other 88% of the time and avoid the crowds.

0:05:44 /mile



MT. Ellen

boasts 43% of Sugarbush’s acres but hosts only 27% of skier/rider traffic.


will get you a day of skiing and riding at Mt. Ellen on non-holiday Thursdays. Plus, live après music and complimentary appetizers are available at Green Mountain Lounge.

is the Slide Brook rope speed. The two-way lift will get you from one mountain to the other in about 12 minutes. That’s plenty of time for a sandwich or a scenic rest.

people come off the Castlerock Lift in 1 hour. The lift loads 2 people every 24 seconds, delivering a pristine, uncrowded experience to those who wait.


of Sugarbush visitors park at Lincoln Peak. Try parking at Mt. Ellen, or, even better, ride the free Valley-wide Mad Bus.

APP it

to find the shortest lines with lift cams, track your vertical feet, and see what’s happening this week with the Weekly Rumble video report. The Sugarbush App is a free download for iPhones and Androids.


beers and ciders are on tap at Castlerock Pub, which includes 16 Vermont-made brews. Get your Heady Topper and Lawson’s Finest Liquids here!

Serving Vermont since 1947 Bisbee's Hardware is your local source for Appliances, Electronics, Mattresses, Paint, Flooring, Hardware Supplies, and Lawn & Garden based in Waitsfield, VT. SERTA

America’s best-selling mattress! The quality of Serta, the fastest-growing mattress manufacturer in the country, ensures that you won’t need to count sheep to get sound sleep! Featured at Bisbee’s Bedding & More!


The colors you love, the quality you trust. Benjamin Moore has the products to make the colors of your dreams a reality, with the durability to stand the test of time. Stop in and find your perfect color!


Timeless quality and beauty since 1928, Karastan is the designers choice for premium carpet for your home. Come in to Bisbee’s Home Décor and experience the Karastan difference today!

Mad River Green Shopping Center, Waitsfield, VT


Kingsbury ConstruCtion Co., inC. Working with Sugarbush to make their visions become a reality. Let us help you build your dream too!

family fun Sugarbush Health & Racquet Club (SHaRC) offers an array of

winter activities for kids of all ages.

swimming pool & hot tub rock climbing tennis, squash & racquetball kids’ adventure Zone

bungee tRampoline indooR Swing Set two inflatable bounCe HouSeS baSketball

802.583.6700 |

Performing quality work for Sugarbush and the Mad River Valley since 1978. Allow us to help you grow your ideas! (802) 496-2205 2014/15 51


ur Fi n d M phy’ s rout e fr o m

DID you KNOW? Sugarbush is part of the Green Mountain National Forest, giving us places to hike, bike, hunt, fish, camp, ski, ride, and connect with nature. Please respect our forest! The Green Mountain National Forest is home to many cool animals. Keep an eye out for other mammals, and many species of birds, amphibians, and reptiles. The Green Mountain National Forest is also home to many species of fungi, lichen, plants, and trees including and of course ! A “sugarbush” is the traditional name of a stand of maple trees used to make maple syrup. 52 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE


k, and around Mt. E o o r B llen to vi ide l S si t his h g u o b u ddy Be r h t , k ar S t ein. inco l n Pea

Mountain Flora & Fauna

Y R E Help Murphy find the following plants and animals while traveling L from Mt. Ellen, through Slide Brook, P and around Lincoln Peak. P FIDDLEHEAD A BLUEBERRY PEEPER BLACKBERRY Z SNAKE BEAR Q MUSHROOM MOOSE M WOODPECKER FIR C HEMLOCK HAWK I BEECH PORCUPINE U THRUSH MAPLE H CHICKADEE APPLE B BIRCH















2014/15 53



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.


A llyn’s lodge

fireside dining

ElEgant mid-mountain dining Private dining for groups of 12 or more at Allyn’s Lodge, accessed via the Lincoln Limo cabin cat or private guided hike/skin. Winter only. Located at the top of Super Bravo Lift 54 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE




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.

CONTACT 802.496.6350

American Flatbread Farm-to-table pizza baked in a primitive wood-fired earthen oven. $$ 802.496.8856 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.


Bridge Street 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. $ 802.496.9222 Mad River Barn

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


Mint Vegetarian/vegan cuisine located in historic Waitsfield Village. $$$ 802.496.5514 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 beer on tap. In historic Sugarbush Village.



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


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.


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

Farm-to-table cuisine with fine wines. Slope-side. Breakfast $$$ and dinner year-round; lunch during winter holidays.


Tracks at the Pitcher Inn Craft beers, fine wine, and imaginative pub fare. $$$ 802.496.6350 Warren Store

Sumptuous baked goods, prepared foods, artisinal 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.

802.496.2322 2014/15 55

“Best One Stop Shopping in Vermont” – Yankee Magazine

The Elusive Moose Pub & Eatery Join us for Dinner Specials beginning at 5:30pm everyday!

Built in 1839, this spirited country store combines an eclectic deli and bakery, an award winning wine shop, 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.

“It’s not just a store; it’s a living, breathing Vermont spirit.” – Boston Common Magazine 802-496-3864

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

uncommonly good dining

Indulgence is better at Sugarbush visit us @

& warren vt 802 583 2800 56 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE

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.

Reservations recommended 802.583.6800

“275 Main at the Pitcher Inn is a jewel of sophisticated dining. This may be Vermont’s best restaurant.” – The New York Times

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







Stay · Eat · Play Open 7 Nights Food ‘til 10

Farm-Fresh & Local

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 & Racquet Club and Valley-wide shuttle service included. | 800.53.SUGAR

Zach’s Tavern


1428 Millbrook Rd (Rt 17) • Waitsfield, VT 802.496.2322 •

2014/15 57



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

CONTACT 802.496.7555

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. $$$ 802.496.5700 Golden Lion Riverside Inn Local inn atmosphere, minutes from Sugarbush, $$ breakfast offered, standard and family-style rooms.


Hostel Tevere


Thirty beds of European hostel–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 $$$ 802.496.3310 Mad River Inn

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


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.


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.



MAD RIVER INN 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

WhiteHorseInn-SugarbushAd_Layout 1 7/22/14 11:23 A

Cozy Comfort at the Center of Vermont’s Three Finest Ski Areas

At the entrance to Sugarbush Mt. Ellen & just 5 minutes from Sugarbush Lincoln Peak & Mad River Glen, our 26-room Inn serves a full breakfast in a homey setting at affordable rates. Serving Vermont beers & wines. Perfect for groups.

802-496-9448 in Fayston/ Waitsfield

YYour #1 choice in the Mad River Valley

West Hill House B&B (802) 496-7162


One mile from Sugarbush 2 minutes by shuttle bus

Casual Accommodations

Great Ski Packages 9 unique guest rooms with steam shower and/or Jacuzzi, really comfortable beds, gas fireplaces, HDTVs, free phone calls & WiFi Delicious Breakfasts 3 large common areas: bar, fireplaces, games HDTV and pool table

Stay · Eat · Play

9 Rooms. Family Friendly. Creative, Farm-Fresh Restaurant. Classic Local Tavern.

Zach’s Tavern Open 7 Nights • Food ‘til 10


1428 Millbrook Rd (Rt 17) • Waitsfield, VT 802.496.2322 •

2014/15 59

sugarbush close-up

SUGARBUSH After years of skiing at the mountain, Sugarbush owner and president Win Smith purchased the resort in September of 2001 with a group of local investors. They have since embarked on reshaping the Sugarbush experience to reflect the nature of the Mad River Valley. The management team 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 arts performances, 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 skier-services buildings—the Schoolhouse and the Farmhouse— were added to Lincoln Peak Village. In 2013, construction on the Rice Brook Residences—fifteen new homes in three buildings—was completed, helping to connect Lincoln Peak Village and historic Sugarbush Village. This first phase of construction is part of a largerscale project that will include up to ninety new spaces for residential and commercial use. Planning is under way for Gadd Brook, another series of buildings hosting up to fifteen private slope-side homes.


Sugarbush continues to invest in improvements at both Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen. This year, the resort spent more than $1 million on both mechanical and electrical upgrades to the lifts. The resort also invested $1.8 million in snowmaking equipment, completing a fiveyear, $5 million capital project that saw upgrades in snowmaking at both mountains. Over the summer, crews installed 351 new Snow Logic, HKD, and Ratnik snow guns, and made significant improvements to infrastructure, replacing a variety of pipes, pumps, valves, and compressors. The resort also replaced one of its two winch cat groomers with a new PistenBully 600 to improve the eightgroomer fleet. Additional parking for busy days has been created across from Lot E—450 new parking spaces in all. 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. And each year, Win Smith and his entire resort team work hard to make good on the Sugarbush brand promise: Be Better Here.

THE MOUNTAINS Sugarbush brings some of the flavor of western skiing to the East. Like many of the 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, find terrain suitable to their tastes, and end up together back where they started. The layout of 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 twelvepassenger 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 and hosts the highest chair lift in Vermont. 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 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.

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 slope-side kings to five-bedroom suites, and features ski-in/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 inn—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 & Racquet Club, 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.

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. 2014/15 61

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 you’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)





1,4 83 base

Skiable acres

summit elevation

53 2,600 3 20 elevation

miles of trails

tree-skiing Areas


vertical drop


average annual

terrain parks


Mountain operation HOURS

LIFTS (16 TOTAL) 7 quads (5 high speed) 2 triples 4 doubles 3 surface lifts

Winter: mid-Nov. – Apr.

Weekdays: 9 AM – 4 PM 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

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

2014/15 63

Community Day Dog Hike

10/11-12 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.

10/12 Mad Dash

A 5K or 10K run, 5K walk, and kids’ race, supporting the Mad River Path Association. Registration online or from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on the day. Races begin at 10.

11/22 Big Kicker

Kick off the 2014–15 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.

12/6 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.

12/8 A Taste of Timbers

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

12/20–31 Holiday Week Celebration

S p e nd yo ur h oli d ay wee k at Sugarbush. Meet Olympic slalom skier Nolan Kasper, send the kids to Pizza and Movie Night or a kids’ cooking class, decorate holiday cookies, view a live bird show, and enjoy après live music all week. The fifth annual Dog Parade with its new canine couture contest kicks off the New Year’s Eve celebrations, followed by a Family Fun Night with street performers, an elegant dinner at Timbers, and a torchlight parade and fireworks.


john penwarden

calendar 2014-15

Mad River Mountaineering Race

1/17-19 Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend

An action-packed weekend with the American Melting Pot Buffet, a kids’ cooking class, a brewer-hosted beer dinner, the Tour De Moon skin and ski at Mt. Ellen, and a torchlight parade and fireworks.

1/24, 1/31, 2/7 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 an adventure camp on three consecutive Saturdays. Finished films will be displayed at a reception on the final Saturday evening.

2/1 Mad River Mountaineering Race

An endurance race for backcountry skiers and split boarders that begins at Mad River Glen, traverses over Mt. Ellen, runs through Slide Brook side country, and finishes at Lincoln Peak.

2/7 Junior Castlerock Extreme

Talented young skiers (ages thirteen & under) compete in a highly challenging and technical run down Castlerock’s infamous Lift Line. This is 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.

2/14–22 President’s Week

A nonstop week of fun with a live bird show by the Vermont Institute for Natural Science, kids’ cooking class, family buffet, late-night music, Tour De Moon, Castlerock Beer Dinner, and a torchlight parade and fireworks.

2/21–22 Mt. Ellen’s Birthday Celebration

Commemorate Mt. Ellen’s birthday with the Gelandesprung Championship (an old ski-jump tradition) and Cowbell Champagne Party. Ease into Sunday with the traditional Elliott Family Brunch.

Castlerock Extreme

3/1 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.

3/7 Castlerock Extreme

Expert skiers charge the cliffs and dips of Sugarbush’s toughest terrain in the eighteenth annual Castlerock Extreme. Are you bold enough?

3/14 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 more.

3/20–22 Nantucket Weekend

It’s a beach party! Island fever takes over Sugarbush with beach music, Nantucket culinary/drink specials, a Cisco Brewer–hosted dinner, and fun-in-the-sun beach activities.

3/28 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.

4/5 Easter Celebration

Begin your holiday weekend with a beautiful morning service at Allyn’s Lodge, followed by an Easter egg hunt and elegant brunch at Timbers.

6/13 Sugarbush Brew-Grass Festival

Mad Dash

7/12 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 or a half or whole marathon.

8/1–31 Festival of the Arts

A monthlong 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.

9/4–7 Green Mountain 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.

Recurring Events 1/17, 2/14, and 3/14 Tour De Moon

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.

12/26, 1/18, 2/18, and 3/14 Kids’ Pizza and Movie Nights

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

12/30, 1/17, 2/15, and 3/7 Kids’ Cooking Classes

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

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.

7/4 Independence Day Celebration

12/30, 1/18, 2/18, and 3/21 Castlerock Pub Beer Dinners

Join Sugarbush’s annual celebration of the Fourth of July, with the wacky Warren parade followed by a classic American BBQ and fireworks at Lincoln Peak.

Join Sugarbush’s culinary team as they prepare a fresh meal with seasonal offerings coupled with local beers in the Castlerock Pub. Chat with the brewer and learn about the craft brewing process. Reservations recommended.

Community is Betterat sugarbush There’s something more to the Sugarbush experience than the legendary terrain variety, the meticulous snowmaking and grooming, the fabled history, or the authentic Vermont mountain setting. Come discover what makes Sugarbush different.

Named a “Best Town” by Outside Magazine and a “Top 10 Emerging Ski Town” by National Geographic.


Sugarbush Resort Magazine  

2014-2015 Season

Sugarbush Resort Magazine  

2014-2015 Season