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23 Getting Schooled A bluebird day out on the mountain with Russ Kauff, the new director of Sugarbush’s Ski & Ride School. Plus: Kauff’s philosophy on learning. By Peter Oliver
29 Valley Exposure The seasons of Sugarbush captured by local photographers.
35 The Early Years of Glen Ellen On the fiftieth anniversary of the development of Mt. Ellen, a look back at the carefree early days of a family mountain (with a few adult traditions). By Candice White
43 Top-Shelf Golf on the Side of a Mountain The course at Sugarbush Resort Golf Club, designed by the famed Robert Trent Jones Sr., challenges golfers with the variables of a beautiful mountain setting. Plus: Tips from Sugarbush’s head golf pro, R. J. Austin. By Peter Oliver
The sun sets over Mt. Ellen as she celebrates her fiftieth anniversary in December 2013. Photographer: John Atkinson
Managing Editor Katie Bacon
production Editor Amy Stackhouse
Art director Audrey Huffman
6 Inside Lines
One on one with Win Smith, owner and president of Sugarbush Resort.
Bragg Farm, a longtime symbol of the beauty and productivity of the Valley’s working landscape, has a new lease on life.
10 Arts & Culture
Some of the world’s top-rated craft beers are produced right here in Vermont. How did we get so lucky?
The Mad River Valley is known for having some of the most spectacular biking in New England. Former mountain bike pro Audrey Huffman shares some of her favorite on- and off-road routes.
Longtime Sugarbush pass holder Gerry Cayne speaks with us about the early years of gondolas, celebrities, and dancing on the rafters at Orsini’s.
16 Training Grounds
The alpine program director at Green Mountain Valley School offers an expert perspective on the Sochi Olympic Games—and what it takes to get there.
18 Behind the Scenes
The art and science behind calling a wind-hold.
4 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Meet James Niehues, the artist behind the trail map of Sugarbush— and just about all the other big mountain resorts in the U.S.
Fashionable finds from the Mad River Valley.
A quick history of Sugarbush.
Initiatives to make Sugarbush ever-greener.
Family-friendly festivals, kids pizza and movie nights, and torchlight parades—there’s a lot to make kids happy at Sugarbush. Plus: Have fun with Murphy Moose’s word scramble and word search.
54 Local Bargains
From $2 tacos to $30 Thursdays: a guide to some of the best deals in the Valley.
60 Sugarbush Close-Up
The Mad River Valley offers something for everyone—in all seasons.
64 Events Calendar
Mt. Ellen’s fiftieth-birthday bash, mogul competitions, and maple- sugaring festivals—entertaining events around the Valley.
Photo editor Mary Simmons
advertising director Kyler Turnbull
advertising design Tara Gordon
contributors John Bleh Patrick Brown Chris Enman Peter Oliver
For advertising information, please contact:
Sugarbush Resort 1840 Sugarbush Access Road Warren, VT 05674 800.53.SUGAR sugarbush.com
ON THE COVER
WINTER: Candi Chase embraces elegance and fun on the slopes of Glen Ellen in the early years. Photographer: Sandy Macys SUMMER: Music, friends, family, and craft beer at the Sugarbush Brew-Grass Festival, June 2013. Photographer: John Atkinson
Get to the most popular destinations in the Mad River Valley for FREE.* MAD BUS RoUteS: Valley Floor
Valley Evening Service
Mad River Glen
* All routes are free, except for Snowcap Commuter
Call 802-223-7287 or visit gmtaride.org for more info.
This is a meaningful year for my family. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, where my father was a founding partner and where I worked for twenty-eight years, turns 100. Sugarbush, founded by the Gadd family, celebrates its fifty-fifth year. And Glen Ellen, founded by the Elliott family and a part of Sugarbush since 1979, turns fifty. People often say to me, “Owning a ski resort must be so different than your previous life.” Yes, in some ways it is. But in many ways, the values
Win with his Blazer grandkids and their parents.
that my father and his partners practiced, that the Gadds and Elliotts taught, and that my team at Sugarbush now aims for, are all quite similar. All of us have believed that for an organization to run well, it has to be well run. And to be well run, it has to embody a set of values and principles that create a culture that can endure. Principles like making sure the customer’s interest is placed first, and always acting with integrity, are winning values for any enterprise. In a business whose primary asset is its people, creating a culture of teamwork and respect for all is critical. While providing an adequate return to one’s shareholders is essential in order to be sustainable, it is important to provide the right return to all stakeholders. And being a responsible member of one’s community is as important a principle as any. Inheriting the traditions of a fabled resort like Sugarbush, and working to make the resort better each year, is an important and rewarding responsibility. What makes this effort even more joyful is watching family, friends, and guests enjoy themselves in this beautiful Vermont setting. Last winter, two of my grandchildren participated in our Blazers program each weekend from December to March. Their younger sibling is eager to join them this year. They are learning skills and becoming excellent skiers—but more importantly, they are making new friends and having fun. The Sugarbush community that my grandchildren are discovering is a large part of what makes this place so special. It is a community that began with a handful of families who committed to spending their winters here, and it expanded to include their families and friends and their friends’ families and friends, all of whom shared a passion for the mountains. The Sugarbush community today has many facets: the founding families from the mountain’s beginnings, and families who have more recently made Sugarbush their home or second home, including our Seasonal Programs community, our Clay Brook community, and our new Rice Brook community (whose members may find themselves overwhelmed with new friends who want to try out their slope-side hot tubs!). We welcome the new generation of skiers and boarders, who may be hitting ramps in the terrain park at Mt. Ellen or drinking a PBR in the Wünderbar.
We are lucky to have good neighbors, like Mad River Glen and our local cross-country ski areas. And we are privileged to have some skiers who have been here since the beginning, like Gerry Cayne, a longtime season pass holder who still skis every weekend at the age of ninety. (See Gerry’s profile on page 14.) Skiing is the perfect lifetime gift. I hope you all plan to be skiing here when you are ninety—I certainly plan to! My wife Lili and I, and the rest of our family, look forward to seeing you here this year. Cheers,
Win Smith President, Sugarbush Resort Lincoln Peak base area. 6 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
A longtime symbol of the beauty and productivity of the Valley’s working landscape has a new lease on life. By rob williams
f you’ve ever visited the Mad River Valley or are lucky enough to live here, take a moment and conjure up an image of the iconic Bragg Farm: a beautifully weathered old barn and silo sit on a pastured hillside, while just westward, off in the distance, Sugarbush’s ski trails spill down the steep sides of the Green Mountains, framed by both trees and barn. Perched in the high hills of Fayston, and an impressive showpiece of both the beauty and productivity of the Valley’s working landscape, Bragg Farm has become a unique and potent symbol for all who know and love the Mad River Valley. No wonder that, without an ounce of hyperbole, the Preservation Trust of Vermont refers to Bragg Farm as “an unusually large dairy barn in a spectacular setting.” Perhaps the Mad River Valley’s most photographed single property, Bragg Farm has a storied history. Purchased in the 1850s by Anna and Azro Bragg, the farm encompassed a generous 550 acres at its nineteenth-century production height, with forty dairy cows, fields for potatoes, raspberries, and strawberries, and a robust maple-sugaring operation. A half century later, Azro and Anna’s son Frank started milling local lumber to build the imposing Late 8 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Bank Barn, a project that would take him three years. He died of illness soon after completing it, and the farm was sold. Erlene and Willis Bragg obtained a smaller portion of the family farm in 1952 to operate a small dairy. In 2008, their son Reggie and his wife Dorothy put the property up for sale. Recognizing Bragg Farm’s importance to the Mad River Valley, the Vermont Land Trust partnered with the Mad River Watershed Conservation Partnership (comprised of the Mad River Valley Planning District, the Friends of the Mad River, and the Fayston Natural Resource Committee) to purchase the property in August 2012 at its appraised value of $760,000. The conservation of Bragg Farm and its iconic barn was seen as vital by local leaders, explained Ky Koitzsch, the chair of the Fayston Natural Resources Committee; it was, he said, “a wonderful opportunity for our town to ensure a permanent link to our rich cultural heritage and to preserve the beauty of Fayston’s agricultural landscape.” With the Bragg Farm property conserved, the Vermont Land Trust launched a public search for a new farmer with a clear vision for bringing the farm back to life. Enter Marisa Mauro. The enterprising twentysomething cheese maker and founder of Ploughgate Creamery had lost her leased farm facility in Albany,
Hartshorn’s Santa Davida Farm Stand.
In addition to Bragg Farm, the Mad River Valley boasts an abundance of agri-preneurial initiatives. For a complete list, visit the Mad River Localvores website at madriverlocalvores.org. Gaylord Farm Featuring seasonal vegetables, turkeys (in season), and beef. 2587 Main Street Waitsfield, Vermont 05673 802-496-2043 gaylordfarm.org
Bragg Farm in Fayston.
Vermont, to a devastating fire in the fall of 2011. Mauro’s Vermont Land Trust Bragg Farm application bested a dozen other proposals, and Ploughgate Creamery has now moved to the hills of Fayston, where Mauro will build her small-scale dairy to an eventual twenty Jersey cows (with suckling pigs as an added bonus); she hopes to produce 5,000 pounds of butter annually, to be sold through her existing network of buyers and chefs throughout central Vermont. “I feel the utmost gratitude toward the supporters and contributors of the Bragg Farm conservation project,” Mauro recently explained, calling Bragg Farm “the fulfillment of a lifelong dream” and a “community meeting place that everyone can enjoy.” She plans to host music and locavore events along with other public gatherings on the property in the months ahead. Indeed, the Bragg Farm revitalization initiative is a wonderful example of the spirit of collaboration that makes Vermont’s Mad River Valley special. “The Bragg Farm conservation project is a chance to protect a place that captures the beauty and heritage of our watershed, providing new opportunities for farming to continue to thrive and diversify. We could not have done this without the support of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the town of Fayston, and so many contributing businesses, residents, and visitors,” summed up Liza Walker, the Vermont Land Trust’s local director. “There is a remarkable rise in the spirit of partnership and innovation in the Valley which is linking farmers, customers, schools, and restaurants in exciting new ways.” Thanks to the generosity and vision of many Mad River Valley supporters (including Sugarbush), the now-productive Bragg Farm enters the twenty-first century with a new lease on life—good news for all of us who love this special place.
Hartshorn’s Santa Davida Farm Specializing in organic vegetables, flowers, and berries. 54 Quarry Road Waitsfield, Vermont 05673 802-279-8054 davesfarm.wordpress.com NeilL Farm Growing/raising local vegetables and beef. 1812 North Road Waitsfield, Vermont 05673 802-496-4468 Small Step Farm Providing local vegetables to local residents, restaurants, and markets. 7784 Route 100 Waitsfield, Vermont 05673 802-999-2573 smallstepfarm.blogspot.com Von Trapp Greenhouse Offering greenhouse-grown seedlings, plants, and cut flowers (in season). 208 Common Road Waitsfield, Vermont 05673 802-496-4385 vontrappgreenhouse.com Von Trapp Farmstead Distributing organic small-batch cheeses to local and national retail outlets. Common Road Waitsfield, Vermont 05673 802-496-6100 vontrappfarmstead.com 2013/14 9
arts & culture
On tap at the Alchemist.
The Alchemist—Heady Topper
A State of
Some of the world’s top-rated craft beers are produced right here in Vermont. How did we get so lucky? By chris enman The state of Vermont is home to more than thirty different breweries, and from the Alchemist to Zero Gravity, Vermont brewmasters are producing some of the most recognized craft beers in the world. What is it about this small state that keeps it at the top of the beer-making world? Some say it’s the water; others, the clean mountain air. One thing’s for sure—the do-it-yourself Vermonter attitude and locavore movement definitely play a role. The Vermont craft beer culture started more than twenty-five years ago with the founding of Catamount Brewery (now defunct) in White River Junction. It was one of the first microbreweries in New England; one of its owners had gone to England for six months to study beer making and then brought those skills back to Vermont. At around the same time, the brewing expert Greg Noonan published a pioneering book on home brewing called Brewing Lager Beer and started working with Vermont’s legislature to pass a bill allowing brewpubs. In 1988, Noonan succeeded in opening Vermont’s first brewpub—Vermont Pub & Brewery in Burlington. The next year, beer lovers formed a home brew club called the Green Mountain Mashers, and the Long Trail Brewing Company opened its doors. Vermont was now a real player on the craft beer scene. In the early 1990s, both formal and informal home brew gatherings started gaining popularity in Vermont. Stores like Sweet Pea Natural Foods in the Mad River Valley began carrying home brew supplies, and small groups of brewers waded through trial and error, success and collaboration; slowly a scene of highquality nano- and microbreweries and brewpubs emerged. Sugarbush began hosting brew festivals with attendees like Otter Creek and Magic Hat, and in 1993 the scene was big enough to support the first Vermont Brewers Festival in 10 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Burlington. (These days, Mad River Glen hosts SIPtemberfest, and Sugarbush’s Brew-Grass Festival is heading into its fourth year.) The Vermont brew scene continued to flourish, and by the 2010 census, the state was leading the nation with the most breweries per capita. The quality of beer being brewed in Vermont has remained superb, and beer aficionados travel to Vermont tasting rooms from all around the world. They come to try beer from Lawson’s Finest Liquids, a nano-brewery in Warren where Sean Lawson uses concentrated maple sap as the only form of liquid in his Maple Tripple (a seasonal strong ale, with 10.1 percent alcohol by volume), a brew that just received a silver medal at the World Beer Cup. They come to Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro, whose owner, Shaun Hill, just took the title of Best Brewer in the World from RateBeer.com and has five brews on the Top 50 Worldwide list. And they come to the Alchemist in Waterbury, whose Heady Topper is currently ranked number one in the world by BeerAdvocate magazine. All this raises an important question for Vermonters, who can stay local to try some of the world’s best beers: “How did we get so lucky?” The answer is right around the corner, or just down the street, at the current or soon-to-be local brewpub. One glance at the menu and you’ll notice a theme—Vermont cheese, homemade bread, native produce, local meats, and, of course, house-crafted beer. Vermont is taking “local” seriously, and in a state with 251 cities, towns, and villages, and just over thirty local breweries, that leaves a lot of room for locally brewed growth, competition, collaboration, and creativity. For more information on all Vermont breweries, tours, tasting rooms, and the like, visit VermontBrewers.com.
“Drink this beer immediately, we’re always making more.” So reads the last sentence on the Alchemist’s 16-ounce Heady Topper can, and for those lucky enough to be within a 20-mile or so radius of Waterbury, Vermont, finding, drinking, and replenishing a Heady Topper four-pack involves only a carefully timed trip to the beverage store on distribution day, or a pilgrimage to the cannery. But for those not so regional, landing a can of BeerAdvocate’s “#1 Rated Beer in the World” can be a bit of a challenge. The story of the Alchemist goes back to the mid1990s when a recent college graduate named John Kimmich left Pennsylvania for Vermont in search of his dream job. More specifically, he sought the brewing expertise of the late Greg Noonan, and his travels took him to Vermont Pub & Brewery in downtown Burlington. He got a job there waiting tables, and in 1995 was promoted to head brewer. Eventually, his thoughts turned to opening a brewery of his own. In 2003, John and his wife, Jen, opened the doors of the Alchemist Pub and Brewery in downtown Waterbury. For years the pub was a hot spot, attracting locals, tourists, and après-ski crowds. But on August 29, 2011, floodwaters began to climb from Tropical Storm Irene and the brewpub was destroyed. The only bright spot was that in just two days the first cans of Heady Topper rolled off the lines in the Alchemist’s new cannery, high on a hill. Almost immediately the cannery had a problem keeping up with demand, and in the fall of 2012 they increased brewing capacity from 180 barrels per week to 200. The brewery doesn’t plan to add any more capacity. As Jen Kimmich puts it, “We don’t want to be the biggest brewery. We want to focus on brewing one beer perfectly—Heady Topper, an American Double IPA.” That said, the Alchemist will be adding a few “new” beers to the mix this fall, but only in growlers at the cannery. They will be some of the old favorites from the brewpub days. So what’s the best way to get a Heady Topper? Head to the cannery in Waterbury for a sample, a purchase, or both. (For purchases, the earlier in the week the better, as the cannery tends to sell out on busy weekends.) Additional retail and bar distribution happens in a 20-mile radius; you can get details at alchemistbeer.com. Heady Topper in production.
Hours: Tasting room open 11 a.m.–7 p.m. daily Address: 35 Crossroad Road, Waterbury Phone: (802) 244-7744
The Valley on
A mountain biker at the top of Gadd Peak.
The Mad River Valley is known for having some of the most spectacular biking in New England, for both road and mountain bikers. Former mountain bike pro Audrey Huffman shares some of her favorite on- and off-road routes. By AUDREY HUFFMAN ROAD
CROSS-COUNTRY MOUNTAIN BIKE
Warren to Granville Gulf [easy]
Blueberry Lake Mountain Bike Trails [easy to moderate]
Start in Warren Village and spin south out of town along Route 100 toward Granville. The road gradually climbs along the Mad River to its watershed in Granville Gulf. A magnificent waterfall rewards you at the top of the gulf. On your return-trip descent, stop and cool off at Warren Falls, one of the state’s most spectacular swimming holes. Route: Out and back from Warren Village along Route 100 to the Granville Gulf waterfall. Distance: 16 miles
Sugarbush—Warren—Waitsfield Loop [moderate to difficult]
Known to locals as the Tour of the Valley, this 20-mile road ride is the perfect way to experience the seasons and take in the area’s breathtaking panoramic views. The route takes you on a meandering trip around the Valley, on historic covered bridges, along free-flowing brooks and rivers, under soaring gliders, and through abundant corn fields and vineyards. Route: Start at Lincoln Peak Base Area on Sugarbush Access Road — right on Golf Course Road — left on West Hill Road — cross Route 100 into Warren Village — left on Brook Road — turns into East Warren Road and then Bridge Street — left on Route 100 — right on Route 17 — left on German Flats Road — right on Sugarbush Access Road. Distance: 20 miles
LAMB Ride [difficult] LAMB is short for Lincoln, Appalachian, Middlebury, and Brandon Gaps. This is a tough but fun route for those who love to climb. There are many country stores along the way to refuel, streams to cool off in, and views to admire. The back side of Lincoln Gap is dirt for a couple of miles, so be aware. Route: Head south out of Warren Village and turn right on Covered Bridge Road — cross Route 100 onto Lincoln Gap Road (Lincoln Gap) — right on Route 116 — right on Route 17 (Appalachian Gap) — right on Route 100 — right on Route 125 (Middlebury Gap) — left on Upper Plains Road — left on Route 53 — left on Route 73 (Brandon Gap) — left on Route 100 back to Warren. Distance: 110 miles 12 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
The Blueberry Lake trails feature gentle grades, sweeping turns, and smooth transitions with few rocks and roots. This recently developed and still-growing mountain bike trail system is family friendly and enjoyable for riders of all abilities. After your ride, take a dip in Blueberry Lake or, in midsummer, nibble on an extensive crop of blueberries. Just watch out for bears! Trailhead: Park at one of Warren’s Blueberry Lake lots and bike across Plunkton Road. There are two trailheads located on the south side of Blueberry Lake Dam. Currently, there are two intersecting loops. Distance: 4+ miles
Mad River Classic Mountain Bike Ride [difficult]
This trail system features some of the best technical riding in the Valley. Starting from the top of Tucker Hill Road, the relatively mellow Enchanted Forest will lead you to trails such as Cyclone, Clinic, and Busternut, providing no shortage of rocks, roots, turns, climbs, and descents. Ride bonus: Descend the Revolution Trail and end up at American Flatbread in Waitsfield for some aprèsride wood-fired pizza. Trailhead: Camel’s Hump State Forest parking area at the top of Tucker Hill Road, Fayston. Be sure to get a map from a local bike shop. Distance: Unlimited
DOWNHILL MOUNTAIN BIKE Sugarbush Resort Downhill Mountain Bike Trails
[all abilities, downhill equipment strongly recommended] From the top of the ski lift at Lincoln Peak, discover thirty-seven trails stretching 20 miles, with long descents, high-speed downhill runs, and free-ride features in the park. Full-featured bike rentals, with pads and helmets, are available in the Farmhouse for kids and adults. Check out the “Skills for the Hills Intro to Downhilling” clinics for all ages and abilities, along with kids mountain bike adventure camps. Trailhead: Sugarbush Resort at Lincoln Peak
Green Mountain Stage Race.
Local Cycling Events: Mad River Riders Time Trial Series (last Tuesday every month, May–September) These free timed competitions take place around the Mad River Valley and are open to all abilities. www.madriverriders.com Eastern Cup Downhill and Super D Mountain Bike Race (June) Compete against or watch the world’s top downhill mountain bike professionals race on the slopes of Lincoln Peak. The event is part of the USA Cycling Downhill MTB Championship Series. www.easternstatescup.com Green Mountain Stage Race (Labor Day Weekend) A four-day cycling stage race based out of the Mad River Valley. The stages cover several of the most picturesque roads and toughest climbs in Vermont, ending with an exciting criterium—a quick bike race on a short course on downtown Burlington’s Church Street. www.gmsr.info Kelly Brush Century Ride (September) This ride offers three routes depending on your desired mileage: 28 miles, 50 miles, and 100 miles. The crowd has a high quotient of athletes—Green Mountain Valley School students, parents, skiers, and cyclists—and the ride itself offers many well-stocked support stations and spectacular views of the Champlain Valley. www.kellybrushfoundation.org Allen Clark Hill Climb (October) In this difficult time trial, racers must climb 1,600 vertical feet in 6.2 miles, from the intersection of Routes 100 and 17 to the top of Appalachian Gap. Recently joining the Biking Up Mountains Points Series (BUMPS) of races, it has fast become a popular rite of cycling passage in the Mad River Valley. www.hillclimbseries.com
Discover the Greener Side of the
Local Bike Shops: THE FARMHOUSE BIKE SHOP Lincoln Peak, Sugarbush, 802-583-6504 FIT Werx 4312 Main Street, Waitsfield, 802-496-7570 Infinite Sports 5274 Main Street, Waitsfield, 802-496-3343 Stark Mountain Bike Works 9 Route 17, Waitsfield, 802-496-4800
Enjoy Sugarbush in the warmer months with our summer mountain activities including:
Scenic Lift RideS, diSc GoLf, BunGee tRampoLine, mountain BikinG, Bounce HouSe, ZipLine, HikinG
Local Cycling Resource: Mad River Riders, www.madriverriders.com Road and trail conditions can vary depending on the time of year, so please check in with the local bike shops for a map and recommended route.
Open daily late June – Labor Day Open weekends Labor Day – Columbus Day Season passes and day passes available.
sugarbush.com | 800.53.SUGAR 2013/14 13
glory days at Sugarbush Gerry Cayne New York City
Season pass holder since:
As Sugarbush celebrates Lincoln Peak’s fifty-fifth anniversary and Mt. Ellen’s fiftieth, Sugarbush pass holder Gerry Cayne speaks with Sugarbush Magazine about the early years of gondolas, celebrities, and dancing on the rafters at Orsini’s. By candice white
Gerry Cayne participating in the 2013 Porsche Winter Driving Experience at Sugarbush.
And I remember Peter Estin giving a lesson to [actress] Kim Novak on Moonshine, on one ski. He had broken his leg in Chamonix the week before.
SM: When was your first year skiing at Sugarbush? GC: I think it was the late fifties or early sixties. SM: What made you come to Sugarbush? GC: I had been skiing at Mad River Glen and Stowe, but I had heard about the gondola at Sugarbush, and wanted to check it out. I liked it. SM: Where did you stay? GC: I stayed at the Schuss Bush Chalets on German Flats Road, now called the Peaks, opposite the Common Man Restaurant. SM: Tell us some of your best memories. GC: Once I was skiing with Teddy Kennedy and Hans Estin, whose brother Peter was the first ski school director for Sugarbush [and subsequently a Kennedy speechwriter]. There was no snowmaking, of course, and it was springtime. We were skiing down Lower Snowball, which was half grass and half snow. Teddy hit a rock with his ski, and I could see sparks fly. He fell, and broke his ski pole. He was so upset, because he had just bought them! But later on, we had a few drinks, and all was well. On Sunday mornings, Stein Eriksen would go to the slope near the Valley House, and he would do a complete flip wearing a leopard parka. I believe this hadn’t been done before. Cindy Hollingsworth [a top model in NYC] and her friends loved to ski under the gondola. And afterward, some of them would come dancing, which was a real treat. olvo after Cayne’s V
. coln Peak orm at Lin st w o sn ig ab
14 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
SM: I don’t think we’d allow that now … What did you do for après-ski? GC: After skiing, we’d go to the Wünderbar in the Valley House. It was such a success that you had to know the bouncer to get in. Damon and Sara Gadd [Sugarbush’s first owners] would be sitting in there having their cheese fondue. I remember other people there, like Vincent Sardi Jr., who owned Sardi’s restaurant in New York City. At night, we’d go dancing in the back room at Chez Henri until two in the morning. Orsini’s Restaurant [owned by New York City restaurateur Armando Orsini and now known as Common Man] was the first disco around here, and many people would dance on the rafters. SM: Would you? GC: Yes, I loved to dance, and yes, I was up on the rafters. SM: What was the best part of last season? GC: The Porsche Winter Driving Experience. I drove ten Porsche cars. SM: Gerry, you’ve mentioned that you do your own Sugarbush Triathlon. What exactly is that? GC: I ride my bicycle from my home in New York City to my car. I get in my car and drive 300 miles up to Sugarbush. And then sometimes, I make it here in time to get a run or two in before the lifts close.
Cayn e’s fi rst S ugar bush seas on pa ss.
images courtesy of Gerry Cayne and sugarbush resort
Photographer: Dan Ferrer
Sh re d d in g t h e woods with the right sleds is c ritic al.
Full Service Ski Shop â€“ Mountainside at Sugarbush Ski rentals & Demos Ski/Board Tuning & repair custom Boot Fitting childrenâ€™s Seasonal equipment leasing equipment & Accessories
Conveniently located next to Rice Brook Residences in Sugarbush Village, Warren, VT
802-583-WAXX (9299) www.mountainsideski.com
All Eyes on
Steve Utter, the alpine program director at Green Mountain Valley School, offers an expert perspective on the Sochi Olympic Games. By PATRICK BROWN This winter the eyes of the world focus on Sochi, Russia, a Black Sea resort town in the Caucasus, as the world’s elite athletes aim for a bid at Olympic glory. The alpine events will take place up in the mountains at the Rosa Khutor ski area. Purpose built for the Olympiad, Rosa Khutor boasts some impressive statistics: a skiable vertical of over 5,700 feet and ten new hotels to host the throngs of visitors who will arrive from around the world. The resort lies 30 miles east of the Black Sea, and weather patterns bring moistureladen systems to the heights of the Caucasus Mountains, dumping some 33 feet of snow per year. Athletes and trainers the world over—including at Sugarbush— have their eyes trained on Sochi. Sugarbush is home to Green Mountain Valley School, one of a handful of elite ski academies in America that train athletes seeking to reach the highest level of the sport. The school has reared an impressive list of winning racers, some of whom have reached the Olympic Games. Steve Utter, the alpine program director at GMVS, offers an expert perspective on the Sochi Games and what it takes to make it there.
Danny Duffy (GMVS Class of 2012), currently on the U.S. Ski Development Team.
SM: What are some things about the process of coaching these athletes that the general public might not know? SU: Athletes and coaches do try to make the Olympics “just another race.” Those with the greatest expectations often do not have their dreams materialize. SM: Who from the U.S. team should we be watching in Sochi? What are you expecting to see out of them? SU: Ted Ligety is a real threat in all events, particularly the giant slalom, super giant slalom, and combined. Julia Mancuso always shines in championship events, and she is on track to do the same in Sochi. The real wildcards are Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller. If both are healthy and feel confident, I think they can really do well. SM: What are your hopes for GMVS athletes for upcoming Olympics? SU: We have several graduates in the pipeline for the 2018 games. From now to then is important buildup in terms of experience, volume of training, and overall improvement in skills.
SM: How do academies like GMVS feed into the Olympic pipeline?
SM: Why do you think they might make it?
SU: We train kids here to be able to qualify for their respective national teams. Thereafter the national teams take over. The best of the best make the Olympics.
SU: GMVS kids tackle challenges whenever they are faced with them. They are confident, as a lot, and they work hard.
SM: What is the training process like at GMVS that sets up athletes for the Olympics?
SU: GMVS continues to work on the next generation of winning athletes. We demand they work hard and smart to acquire skills necessary to get to the next level. Kids devote fifteen to twenty hours a week to training— on snow and in the gym. To get better, persistent, positive preparation is the key.
SM: What are the Olympics themselves like for the athletes?
SU: GMVS is geared toward the early phases of development of athletes with Olympic dreams. We focus on developing sound technique and tactics in skiing. We work on conditioning, nutrition, and mental training, too—all at the fundamental level. Kids work hard and become disciplined and responsible through the process.
SM: What is the training process at GMVS like?
SU: Competing in an Olympics is everyone’s dream realized. So few do it—yet they all have that dream when they start. SM: How are the athletes training right now, leading up to the Olympics? SU: Athletes at the highest level prioritize preparation for the Olympics over seasonal objectives—such as World Cup events— that would normally dominate their schedule. This means more in-season training than usual for top athletes, with many in the Olympic medal hunt sitting out World Cup events. 16 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
GMVS alpine director Steve Utter high-fiving his student after a great practice run.
Thank you Sugarbush Resort for providing us with a world-class training venue and for your continued support of our dreams! From the athletes of the Sugarbush/GMVS Ski Club and Green Mountain Valley School
Treating skiers and snowboarders of all ages since 1981 Waitsfield & Sugarbush Offices 802/496-4292 www.backtoactionpt.com
GREEN MOUNTAIN VALLEY SCHOOL Fostering a life-long love of learning, sport and adventure Middle School and High School Academy for full-time ski racers Weekend race program ages 6-18
GMVS and the Olympics A. J. Kitt ’82 Kitt skied with the U.S. Ski Team for over a decade and made it to the medal podium six times on the World Cup circuit, with twentynine finishes in the top ten and one World Cup downhill victory. He competed in four separate Olympic Games. Doug Lewis ’82 Lewis, the Valley’s native-son ski celebrity, had a U.S. Ski Team career that included a trip to the Olympics in Sarajevo in 1984 and Seoul in 1988. He is currently a TV analyst for World Cup alpine events on Universal Sports, and still resides in the Valley. Daron Rahlves ’91 Rahlves skied thirteen successful years on the U.S. Ski Team. His accomplishments included twelve World Cup victories and a world championship. He competed in the 2010 Olympics in the ski cross event. Coach Mike Day GMVS recently hired Day, a veteran ski coach who is best known for working with Ted Ligety from the club level in Park City through his most recent success on the World Cup tour. Ligety handily beat the competition in the technical events over the last year on the World Cup circuit and is a skier to watch in Sochi. 2013/14 17
behind the scenes
u o h T , w o l B , w “Blo
The art and science behind calling a wind-hold. By Candice WHite Skiers and riders are a bit like surfers in their reaction to storms, which is in stark contrast to the general public’s. When a hurricane approaches, many people take cover in a windowless basement, while surfers strap boards to cars and head for the open seas. Similarly, when a winter storm nears, skiers and riders leave the madhouse grocery shopping and hunkering down to everyone else while they pack their gear and point their four-wheel-drive up the mountain road. Sometimes, though, the welcome snow arrives with wind, its notso-welcome partner. And our expectations for the perfect ski day are dimmed. What is the big deal about high winds, when do we have to worry that our powder day may be compromised, and why did the 2012–13 ski season seem so much windier than others? John Hammond, Sugarbush’s vice president of mountain operations and recreational services, would say that wind is a very big deal. Overseeing ski patrol and lift operations, among other things, Hammond is ultimately responsible for maintaining safety on the mountain … for everyone. It’s kind of a big responsibility, and one he doesn’t take lightly. And high winds are one of the things Hammond worries about the most. Winds can affect us in several ways, by causing problems for people getting off a chair, by impacting the ability of high-speed detachable chairs to go around the terminal, by causing the lift line to oscillate, by pushing chairs into towers, and, the worst-case scenario, by causing the lift line to derope. Hammond doesn’t even like to say the word “deropement”—when the lift line jumps the track and falls, dropping chairs to the ground. While deropement is an uncommon occurrence, it has happened in the Northeast in recent years, though luckily not at Sugarbush. “As wind approaches 40 miles per hour, we’re concerned,” says Hammond, sitting in Sugarbush’s mountain operations office. “When it goes above 40 mph, we’ll post mechanics at the tops of the lifts to watch how the lift and the wind interact.” A 40 mph wind exerts 4 pounds of force on every 1 square foot of surface. As the speed of the wind increases, its force grows exponentially, so that a 60 mph wind exerts a force double that of a 40 mph wind. The force of the wind is critical, but wind direction is just as important. A strong wind blowing straight up the line may allow a lift to continue running at normal speed, while a strong wind blowing across the line may exert a sideways force on the chairs, causing dangerous lateral deflection. Additionally, winds are often inconsistent, so the wind at the base of a lift may be tolerable, while the wind at the summit may be gusting significantly. 18 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
When performing a wind check, Hammond’s team is looking for lateral deflection in the chairs measuring 15 degrees or more. The team is also looking to see if the chairs can travel smoothly around the bull wheel. A detachable chair typically travels at a speed of 11 mph. If there is a chance to mitigate the wind’s impact on the chair by slowing its speed, the operator will do so. But if slowing the lift does not change the impact, “wind-hold” is called: Dispatchers radio to the lift operator to call “last chair,” all remaining skiers and riders already on chairs are delivered to the top of the lift, and the lift is stopped. The lift is then put on watch and monitored for changes that may allow it to reopen. Tony Vazzano of North Winds Weather in New Hampshire has been supplying Sugarbush’s weather reports for thirty years. Vazzano’s report is often the first indicator to Hammond of an approaching wind and its strength and direction. “When we get a big snowstorm [at Sugarbush], often there are big northwest winds behind it,” says Vazzano. “And a nor’easter brings with it a wind from the East that blows for much of the duration of the storm.” At Sugarbush, lifts are constructed at varying aspects of the mountains, allowing for some to stay open in high winds when others may close. Typically, the good places to ski on windy days are the lifts that are protected by trees or situated low to the ground. At Sugarbush, this includes Gate House Express and Castlerock at Lincoln Peak, and the Sunny Double and Inverness at Mt. Ellen. The good news is that skiers and riders don’t have to worry, because Hammond and his team do the worrying for us. Hammond may be aggressive in other areas of his job, like snowmaking and grooming, but wind safety is one area where he is ultraconservative. “This is not an exact science, but we want to be on the side of guest safety and equipment safety. We’re not going to push the limits on this.” Makes sense to me. Maybe I won’t be so upset next time Heaven’s Gate goes on wind-hold. And as for the perception that the 2012–13 season was windier than usual? Wind-hold hours did measure above average at Sugarbush. In recent years, the last season that tracked more wind-hold hours was the winter of 2008–09. But when thinking about the weather, Tony Vazzano takes more of the long view. In the 2011–12 season, he says, “There was no winter, and there was almost no wind. This past year was just more typical.” Okay. I’ll take another typical year with 279 inches, and a little wind along with all the snow.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: PETER CIRILLI ‘16 MAJOR: GRAPHIC DESIGN LOCATION: MCDONALD HALL | CHAMPLAIN
RULE No 8
FUEL YOUR PASSION WHY LEARN TOMORROW WHAT YOU CAN EXPERIENCE TODAY?
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.
courtesy of james niehues
Meet James Niehues, the artist behind the trail map of Sugarbush—and just about all the other big mountain resorts in the U.S. By katie bacon When you study Sugarbush’s trail map to figure out a good route from Middle Earth to Stein’s Run, do you ever wonder how that image of the mountain came to be? James Niehues, the premier ski-mountain artist in the world, spent weeks painstakingly drawing and painting Sugarbush’s trail map, just as he’s done for more than 160 other ski resorts in the United States, Austria, New Zealand, and elsewhere. He estimates that he’s depicted 75 percent of all large U.S. resorts. In an era when more and more images are created on computers, Niehues argues—and his paintings back him up—that the task of capturing a complicated ski mountain is still best accomplished by the human mind and hand. He starts by taking aerial photographs of the mountain from 4,000 feet above the summit, then 2,000 feet, then lower, dropping with each pass until he reaches just a few hundred feet above the base. By the time he lands, he usually has an idea of the angle he’ll take for the mountain, and how he’ll twist the multiple faces to capture the best views of all the runs. “There’s usually just that one key perspective that will work best—I don’t know how to tell you that I get it. It’s manipulating the ski area in your mind and considering all the things that come into play. Each mountain has its own formula.” In his studio in Loveland, Colorado, Niehues does a sketch of the mountain and sends it to the client for approval. Then he begins the longer, more detailed painting process, which usually takes a couple of weeks. He airbrushes the sky and the snow, but then uses gouache, an opaque watercolor, to paint in the rest, detail by detail. He paints in shadows to add depth and delineates each
Map illustrator James Niehues.
individual tree, making sure to show which are evergreens and which are deciduous, so skiers have a sense of the landscape. He also makes judgments about how to give skiers the best sense of what a mountain is really like, along with how to present the mountain, with all its different faces, on one easy-to-read and accessible map. He points out that if he were to just take an aerial photograph and paint exactly what he saw, the distances would be flattened out and wouldn’t look as great as they do in person. “To get it to look vast like it is, I’ll add vertical. In some cases, whenever a trail is wide, I’ll give it a bit more width to give skiers the feeling it’s a wide trail.” For Sugarbush’s trail map, which Niehues painted in 1990 and updated in 1994, he made the decision to adjust the distance between Mt. Ellen and Lincoln Peak, bringing them closer together to make an effective trail map that fit on one page. Niehues had many careers before he found this work in the late 1980s, after he approached the reigning ski map illustrator of the day, Bill Brown, and asked for his advice about getting into the field. It turned out that Brown was looking to try something else, and he gave Niehues his first assignment on the spot: doing an inset for the map of Winter Park in Colorado. The work perfectly suited Niehues’s skills; he could use the analytical side of his personality to map a ski mountain in a logical, clear way and his artistic side to show the landscape’s inherent beauty. “I try to give each mountain an individual feeling unique to that mountain. I want my maps to be both beautiful and accurate, so whenever anyone looks at one, they want to visit that mountain.”
C O NT E ST
New this season Sugarbush has integrated Claim My Run into its trail map. Claim My Run allows you to upload and view videos of yourself shredding any trail on the mountain right in the trail map. It’s a great way to see first-hand footage of how each trail skis or rides. Throughout the winter season Sugarbush will be running a series of video contests: Best Overall, Most Creative, Best Kids, Best Park, and Best Glades, and will award the favorites in each category. On top of that there will be smaller contests run throughout the season via Facebook and Twitter. Check it out at www.sugarbush.com. 20 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Executive Chef Gerry Nooney and his culinary team offer a variety of dining options with menus featuring locally produced meats, vegetables, and cheeses, as well as fresh New England seafood.
Dry-aged steaks, locally raised meats, and seafood presented
Sugarbush’s original après-ski hot spot serves up an eclectic
in an atmosphere modeled after a nineteenth-century dairy barn. Try our handmade cocktails, carefully chosen wine list,
lunch menu with items such as quesadillas, wraps, and salads along with a funky bar scene. Open Fridays–Sundays,
and periodic specialty wine dinners. Vegetarian and gluten-free options available. Open year-round for breakfast and dinner,
and daily during holiday periods. Winter only.
and lunch during holiday periods.
A better-than-your-average-bar food menu with locally produced Neill Farm burgers, creative sandwiches, wings, and one of the best Vermont craft beer menus around. Specialty beer dinners featuring a local brewer on select evenings. Open winter and summer for lunch and après when Super Bravo spins, and dinner on select nights.
CA F E
Coffee, bagels, wraps, soups and salads served in a casual setting in the Farmhouse at Lincoln Peak. Winter only.
A llyn’s lodge
Hot cocoa, soups, sandwiches, brownies and beer by day, and elegant fireside dining by night via the Lincoln Limo cabin cat. Winter only.
Green Mountain LounGe Nachos, pizza, soups and sandwiches accompanied by creative cocktails and a range of Vermont draft beers in a lively bar atmosphere. Don’t miss $30 Thursday après-ski parties (non-holiday). Mt. Ellen. Winter only.
With breathtaking views of the mountains and the Valley, Hogan’s Pub serves up a variety of salads, specialty sandwiches, and burgers for lunch, and cold beer and cocktails for après. Open May through October.
Stop in and check out the new Chams and our other premier brands. Sales/Demos/Rentals/Pro ski and snowboard tuning/Accessories & Apparel
Post your Cham moments and
win good stuff.
Go online or call for details. 802-583-2511 | VermontNorth.com 48 Sugarbush Access Rd | Warren, VT 05674
Getting Schooled A bluebird day out on the mountain with Russ Kauff, the new director of Sugarbush’s Ski & Ride School. By Peter Oliver
Kauff with Bush Pilot instructors on Castlerock.
A radiant spring morning
was in the making when I met with Russ Kauff, director of the
Sugarbush Ski & Ride School, at the base of the Super Bravo lift. It was a collision of sparkling colors—the bluest of blue skies in tandem with the whitest of white snow. Our purpose: to ratchet up my skiing game a notch or two, not just by improving my technical proficiency but, more comprehensively, by lifting my time spent on the mountain into a higher, more holistic realm of pleasure and fulfillment. That might seem like a tall and existential order, but in his first year as director Kauff was thinking big in trying to reshape the Ski & Ride School’s central focus. To make this happen, a recalibration of the basic relationship between instructor and pupil would be essential, especially when skiers of a higher ability were involved. Resistance to “ski school” among high-level skiers has been a pandemic throughout the skiing world; the
Kauff and a fellow instructor working on knee and shin angles to create a powerful and efficient carved turn.
reasoning of advanced skiers is, with some logic, that the better a skier you are, the less instruction you need. In moving the Ski & Ride School forward, Kauff wants to shake the foundations of that mind-set. He wants to see a bond between school and skiers that extends throughout a full spectrum of skiing ability. In explaining his instructional philosophy, his discourse is peppered with the word “continuum”—as in the unbroken continuum of the learning experience from beginner to expert. By most objective and subjective standards, I am an expert skier. I can get down anything on the mountain. I even taught skiing for a year at Sugarbush and continue to teach cross-country skiing at Ole’s, across the valley. Several people have told me I am a “pretty” skier, a description that suggests at least some elegance and fluidity, although it’s a word just effeminate enough to discomfit my fragile male ego. That makes me a card-carrying member of one of Kauff’s target demographics: middle-aged male expert. The guy firm in his belief that he already has all the skills, who reflexively strides by the ski school desk wearing the blinders of know-it-all pride. The guy who has historically proved to be the hardest nut to crack for ski schools across the country. But I was game.
several people have told me I am a “pretty” skier, a description that suggests at least some elegance and fluidity, al though it’s a word just effeminate enough to discomfit my fragile male ego. This would be a variation on the ski school’s new “Early Access Privates” program—having the mountain and an instructor to yourself before the official lift opening. At midmorning, Kauff and I would have to share the mountain with a handful of other skiers, but still … Check the male ego at the door. Sign me up. In Kauff-speak, the rewards of taking a lesson at Sugarbush “are benefits that go far beyond technically skiing better. We want something that elevates the skiing experience, where there is no gap between learning and enriching.” What Kauff is shooting for, with any skier or rider who participates in the school’s programs, is to open the doors to exploring a bigger range of terrain and experience. “More” is an important concept—more mountain, more 24 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
control, more technical efficiency, more confidence, and, ultimately, more fun. Kauff wants the skiing experience to be, to use his own word, more “enriching.” He has several factors working in his favor. First and foremost is Sugarbush’s terrain, a fundamental attraction for him when he accepted the director job last year. In addition to his personal fondness for skiing the mountain’s extensive mosaic of variety and challenge, he is inspired by a bounty of instructional opportunity. New skier or rider starting from scratch on the beginner slope? Got the terrain for that. Want to work on rapid-fire, speed-control turns on a 40-degree slope through tight trees? Check that column, too, and pretty much everything in between. That variety of terrain translates into a variety of learning possibilities hard to find elsewhere, especially for advanced skiers, who can put all that terrain to use in programs such as the school’s celebrated Women’s Ski Discovery Camps and Bush Pilots program. These are just a few of the veritable smorgasbord of instructional choices available for more advanced skiers. Because tree skiing at Sugarbush is of the highest caliber, for example, the Tree Skiing and Riding Workshop gets my attention as a pretty tasty program. If I were still in my teens, I would probably demand that my parents enroll me in the winter adventure program. And although I am obviously not eligible, Essential Elements for Women strikes me as a concept that connects at just the right level for its target audience. Second, history is on Kauff’s side. Back in the day, forty or more years ago, when European instructors with clipped accents, debonair, old-world manners, and stylishly angulated turns were emblematic of ski instruction—when wedeling, not carving or freeriding, was the sport’s highest art form—Sugarbush was led by two of the best, first Stein Eriksen, fresh off Olympic and World Championships gold medals, and then Sigi Grottendorfer, a driving force behind the development of professional ski teaching in America. If you wanted to learn how to ski, Sugarbush was one of the places in the country to go. Of course, instructional methodology has changed radically since then, but the spirits of Stein and Sigi still resonate. “We want to capture the imagination of our guests the way Stein and Sigi did,” Kauff says. Third, he has a somewhat unlikely ally in John Egan. Egan has been something of an instructional iconoclast, having made his name as a progenitor of the extreme-skiing movement and as a ski-movie star, rather than as a force within the Professional Ski Instructors of America. Although he’s a gifted coach and instructor, Egan is neither a PSIA member nor someone who wants to feel boxed in by the guidelines and learning progressions of the PSIA method. In his Bush Pilots and other adventure programs for advanced and expert skiers, he defines instruction through his own terminology: “terrain management” rather than technique development. While Kauff is a fully certified PSIA guy who strongly supports the organization
Finally, there is Kauff’s own dedication to his profession. After graduating from college in New England, where he competed as an alpine racer, he did a brief stint in Vail in the early 1990s, working for what at the time was one of the best ski schools in the country. He soon returned to the East to work for five years as a collegiate race coach. There was a hiatus from professional skiing at that point, but the siren of the sport called him back, and after the turn of the millennium he jumped into the deep end of the instructional pool. He joined the Okemo Ski & Ride School in 2001 for Northern Hemisphere winter work, and spent Southern Hemisphere winters teaching in Wanaka, on the South Island of New Zealand, starting at an area called Treble Cone and more recently moving to nearby Cardrona. The result: twenty winters in the last twelve years spent as a coach and instructor, a condensed and complete immersion in his work. Put it all together, and it makes for a pretty attractive package. It was more than enough to persuade me to abandon middle-aged male-dom’s entrenched recalcitrance toward instruction and seek the path of enrichment and enlightenment. Pretty as my technique might be in the eyes of some people, it is undeniably old-fashioned. I last took a formal lesson back when bell-bottoms and listening to the Jefferson Airplane on my record player defined my cultural identity. Furthermore, in the years since I first learned to ski—before even the Stein era at Sugarbush—equipment has changed dramatically, especially in the last decade or so, and my technique has not kept pace. Most noticeable to me has been my inability to match the powerful and efficient carving turns of modern skiers using both skis. Such a technique would have been impossible with the equipment back in the Stein era. Nor would it have worked with teaching pedagogy of the time, which stressed maximum weight on the downhill ski as a fundamental axiom. I could see the incredible knee and shin angles that modern skiers create with their inside legs, and I tried to imitate those angles. But as usually happens when we go the self-education route (in skiing or other matters of life), we latch onto misguided cues and cling to them fruitlessly, believing they will eventually lead to a breakthrough. I was trying to create inside edge pressure by adjusting my knee and shin angles, and it wasn’t working. The tracks I would leave behind me in the snow were graphic evidence—a crisp, clean line where the outside ski had traveled, just a wisp of ski-on-snow contact where the inside ski had gone. So as Kauff and I boarded the lift, I asked if he could unlock for me the mysteries of modern, two-ski carving. Well, of course he could, explaining that “two-footed skiing” does not necessarily mean weighting both feet—rather it means being active with both feet, both legs, both skis. After we traversed to the top of Snowball, a wide, groomed intermediate trail, he gave me new cues to work with. Rather than focusing on leg angles, he said, think about bootcuff pressure, a half-halo arc traced evenly across the tongue of each boot from one side across the front and onto the other through the course of a turn.
I now had the tools to figure out a way through the carving conundrum that had bollixed me for so long. The transformation wouldn’t be instantaneous, of course, but it was as if I had been given a road map to follow, providing a clearer sense of where I was, technique-wise, and where I needed to go. So that’s what we worked on for two runs, making relatively long, moderately paced turns down Spring Fling, Lincoln Peak’s giant slalom trail. My brain issued orders to my lower extremities: Roll those shins in tandem, especially at the transition between turns. Feel that boottop pressure and feel those little toes getting into the act. As long as we skied at a tempo that gave me time to let the action flow easily, I could follow Kauff’s cues. But when we moved over to Downspout and Lower Organgrinder, tightening up the turn shape and accelerating the turnover rate, I regressed to old habits, essentially bouncing up from one outside ski and then down to the other. When you are burdened with several decades of habituation, you can’t expect a complete transformation in one or two hours. But we made progress. And beyond the technical details, something more important was forming: a bond between two guys engaged in an interchange of ideas and an exercise in puzzle solving. Kauff didn’t produce instantaneous and complete results in making me a better skier, but he gave me a keener awareness of what I was doing, and a feel for the natural movements of modern skiing. I now had the tools to figure out a way through the carving conundrum that had bollixed me for so long. The transformation wouldn’t be instantaneous, of course, but it was as if I had been given a road map to follow, providing a clearer sense of where I was, technique-wise, and where I needed to go. And to spend time on a gloriously beautiful day with the wisdom and expertise of a preeminent instructor focused entirely upon my needs … any skier, even a stubborn, expert male, should be able to find something very cathartic, and enriching, about that. The youngest Blazers getting on snow with Sugarbush instructors.
and its goals and methods, he still embraces Egan’s freewheeling, nonconformist approach. Remember, the goal is enrichment, not simply instruction.
A second cue was to use my pinky toes. In old-school skiing, you could probably have had your pinky toes amputated without any noticeable effect on your technical proficiency. Now, that onceexpendable pinky was being introduced to me as instrumental in modern carving—it proved to be a valuable indicator of whether I was active or passive with my inside foot and ski. 2013/14 25
“When was the last time you tried something totally new?” It’s a question I often ask beginners when they’re obviously selfconscious about taking their first cautious steps toward becoming skiers and riders. Those of us who are dedicated to these sports often take for granted how foreign some of the details of skiing and snowboarding can be to the novice, so it’s always my goal to help beginners understand that feeling a bit awkward at first is totally appropriate. After a very short amount of time, some of the stranger bits of skiing and riding become mundane (walking in ski boots, for example), and it’s amazingly fun to participate in that evolutionary process with our newest guests.
Sugarbush’s Ski & Ride School director russ kauff’s philosophy on learning.
As rewarding as that rapid evolution is for beginners and for those of us who teach them, it begs the question: Why is it that experienced skiers and riders lose sight of the joys of continuing to learn, explore, and evolve? Why is it that in sports where adventure is a natural and essential component, complacency becomes so normal, even acceptable? For decades, Sugarbush was not only a destination for skiing (and, eventually, for snowboarding)—it was a destination for learning. Generations of skiers from throughout the Northeast and the country would come to Warren, Vermont, to participate in learning as an essential component of their life as skiers. Doing so while in the company of so many others equally devoted to learning made the experience tremendously rewarding and contributed to the convivial atmosphere for which Sugarbush was justly celebrated. Taking a ski week at Sugarbush was simply part of what skiers did here, inextricably woven through how guests experienced skiing and winter life in our mountains.
The Schoolhouse—base camp for children’s day programs. 26 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Skiing and the ski industry have changed a great deal since the halcyon days when my predecessor Sigi Grottendorfer and his small band of international pros at Sugarbush were at the pinnacle of their profession. In many ways, it’s our own fault as an industry. Snowmaking, grooming, modern equipment, better clothing, and the blistering growth of the sport, not to mention the addition of snowboarding and its infusion of youthful energy
into the whole of the experience—all have made snow sports more accessible, simpler to do, and easier to do successfully. It’s terrific—we get to share our sports with more and more people. Still, there’s that issue of complacency. As the director of the Sugarbush Ski & Ride School, it is not my goal to return us to the glory days of the resort. It is true that at times the weight of history seems quite great here, almost as though the ghosts of Sugarbush past are roaming around the Valley House getting ready for the next Life magazine photo shoot with Stein Eriksen and his coterie of hobnobbers. That history is important—it informs who we are and how we think of ourselves as a resort—but it would be wrong to move the Ski & Ride School into the future by using nostalgia to fuel our engines. What interests me and our exceptional staff of pros, what drives us to extend our reach to an ever-growing number and array of guests, is to tap into the joys that come from learning, growing, and sharing that experience. As coaches dedicated to our own continuing development, we understand completely how it feels to be engaged in a learning process, and that understanding makes us better teachers and coaches. We offer a complete range of programs to guide our guests through their entire evolution as skiers and riders, and our professional staff is every bit as talented now as it was back in the days of Eriksen and Grottendorfer. From techniques for those first awkward moments on our purpose-built beginner terrain, to tactics required to charge through the steep bumps, dense woods, and gnarly crags that bless Sugarbush like no other resort in the eastern United States, the Sugarbush Ski & Ride School is uniquely positioned to reintroduce learning to everyone’s time in the mountains. If nothing else, I’d like to re-inspire our guests to seek out learning now, like they did back then. All of us are committed to the idea that learning elevates the entire mountain experience, making it far richer and far more rewarding for all ages and all levels of skiers and riders. We say at Sugarbush that you can “Be Better Here,” and that applies to all of us— guests and staff alike. Done right, the legends who populate our history and stare down from the photos on the walls of my office in the Valley House may just smile at our stewardship of their incomparable legacy here in the mountains of Sugarbush.
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Since its beginning in 1958, Sugarbush Ski & Ride School has inspired generations of skiers and riders to reach new heights—every day, all winter along. 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, of course, private lessons for the most intensive one-on-one learning. Book now for winter.
sugarbush.com | 800.53.SUGAR 2013/14 27
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The Mad River Valley in all seasons.
Snowliage. Photo: jeb wallace-brodeur
❮ John Egan finding Nemo, February 8, 2013. Photo: John Atkinson
Getting centered in the terrain park at Mt. Ellen. Photo: jeb wallace-brodeur
30 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Boys taking a moment to enjoy the sunset. Photo: eugene krylov
The sun sets behind Camel’s Hump. Photo: john atkinson
32 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Heading for the finish line at the Mad Marathon kids race. Photo: John atkinson
A downhill ride at Lincoln Peak. â?Ż Photo: Jeb wallace-brodeur 2013/14 33
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The Early Years of
Glen E llen
On the fiftieth anniversary of the development of Mt. Ellen, a look back at the carefree early days of a family mountain (with a few adult traditions). By Candice White
ynthia Greenfield remembers it well.
“Walt came home in December of 1961, and informed me that he was going to build a “Really?” Cynthia responded at the time. “What does that mean for me?” “It means we’re moving.” Walt replied.
“To Warren, Vermont. And you’re going to love it.” Greenfield was skeptical. Raised in New York City, Greenfield was an urbanite living in Connecticut and expecting her first child. Her husband, Walt Elliott, had spent time in South Africa in his youth, and had then gone on to earn an engineering degree from Cornell. They had met at Gustin-Bacon Manufacturing, an acoustic tile company based in New York, where Walt still worked. But not for long. What seems to have been more influential to Elliott than his urban existence was his presidency of the Stamford Ski Club. During his tenure, Elliott had been involved in building a ski lodge up at Killington, Vermont, just an hour south of what would become the Glen Ellen Ski Area. Greenfield remembers the drive up to her new home in Warren. The town was not much different in the early 1960s than it is today—a post office, a library, a fire station, an inn, and a general store. Elliott had rented a house next door to the post office. “In those days, I drove a sports car—an Austin-Healey. I drove up in January, and it was snowing,” Greenfield remembers. “The floors [of the house] went downhill. And the people were not that friendly … Where was Fifth Avenue?” The change from New York City to Warren, Vermont, was—and still is—stark. And the closest Cynthia Greenfield would get to Fifth Avenue would be Sugarbush, a ski resort just south of Glen Ellen that had opened a few years before and was already a weekend retreat for New York models, editors, and socialites. Walt Elliott, however, was founding a new and different ski mountain, one that would never aim to achieve the glamour of neighboring “Mascara Mountain.”
Fun Most people who were part of the early Glen Ellen years mention the cowbell, a gift to Elliott from Stadeli-Lifts. The cowbell hung in the bar on the second floor of the base lodge, then called the Golden Thistle. Elliott would end many of his days here, not unlike resort owner-operators today. “Walt would pull out the champagne,” Greenfield remembers. “You’d stand behind the bar and pull the cork. If it hit the cowbell, you didn’t pay for your drinks that night.”
A Family Mountain The ski area that Elliott conceived in the early 1960s would be, above all, a family mountain. Purchased from a private landowner with funds raised by Elliott and a small group of investors, Glen Ellen opened for business in December 1963, with twenty-eight trails, three chair lifts, and a T bar. Greenfield remembers that individual shares of the mountain were sold for $1,500 and included twenty years of free skiing; family shares sold for $4,500. Bud Lynch, who hailed from Stratton Mountain, designed the original trails. Area loggers cleared the land and sold off the wood. Greenfield oversaw food and beverage sales and, as she says, “watched the money.” Neil and Zip Robinson moved up from Bromley to run the ski school. Elliott’s training as an engineer was a useful background for running a ski area, and people who worked with him remember him being very hands-on. “He could do just about anything,” recalls Barbara de Lima, who was hired as his marketing assistant in 1969 and worked on and off for Glen Ellen and Sugarbush until 2009. “That man never asked you to do anything he wouldn’t do,” adds Bill Bozack, who joined Glen Ellen as an assistant ski patroller in 1965. (Bozack went on to become the national professional director of the National Ski Patrol and was named NSP Outstanding Professional Ski Patrolman in 1972. His wife, Mary Ann, became the second woman in the nation to be certified by the NSP.) Walt and Cynthia’s daughter Tracie Condon recalls riding the school bus to the mountain every day after school along with her younger sister, Dawn. Much of her childhood was centered there. And despite Cynthia Greenfield’s early impressions of Warren, Vermont, she, too, grew to embrace the new ski area. “I always felt it was a lot of fun,” she says, “and never minded working seven days a week after getting two kids off to school.” 36 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
“I remember one night opening a bottle, the cork hitting the [ceiling] beam, then the bell, and then falling right into Walt’s champagne glass,” recalls de Lima. Après-ski gatherings in the bar were a fundamental part of the scene back then. So too were the Sunday afternoon brunches, which Greenfield still remembers vividly. “In those days, we’d have a Sunday brunch,” she recalls, “a big buffet upstairs from noon until eight p.m. It was famous for the seafood Newburg with scallops and shrimp … scrambled eggs, bacon, rolls, and coffee.” The weekend visitors would have a hearty meal before loading up their cars to return to Connecticut, Massachusetts, or New Jersey, and the seats would then fill with staff coming off the mountain for the day, with big appetites and visions of pinging the cowbell. The Golden Thistle hosted a New Year’s Eve dinner dance each year, and Condon remembers folks “riding their snowmobiles up the mountain to watch the fireworks from the Glen House, and then skiing down afterward.” The Fasching Costume Ball, a party honoring the German Carnival season held around Fat Tuesday each year, was yet another opportunity for the mountain and its skiers to celebrate. Tony Egan, who had moved up from New York City in the early ’60s and managed public relations for Glen Ellen, recalls another tradition, the Gelandesprung Championship. (The title comes from the German word for “jump.”) “We’d build a takeoff area right off the base lodge, and watch a lot of people with no brains and big balls go off,” Egan says. “There were lots of spills. It was a great spectator event.” Another spectator sport, Pond Skimming, was held in the early days of Glen Ellen, and rumor has it that, along with the six-footthree Walt Elliott skimming (and coming up short), one of the ski patrollers participated in the event in the nude. Races were held between the ski patrol and the ski school each year, as well as slalom races pitting local restaurant waiters and waitresses against one another.
Over at Sugarbush, Norwegian Olympian Stein Eriksen promoted his signature style of skiing—graceful, and with a narrow stance— followed by Austrian ski racer Sigi Grottendorfer. Glen Ellen set itself apart in December 1968 by hiring French National and Olympic team member Pierre Stamos. Earlier that year, Stamos’s teammate Jean-Claude Killy had made a clean sweep of medals in the Olympics in Grenoble, thus drawing considerable attention to the somewhat unorthodox wide-leg stance of the French technique. Stamos brought with him a small group of French ski instructors and a bit of international intrigue. According to the Glen Ellen Reports, a 1968 brochure for the mountain, Stamos was “a handsome and charming 27-year-old bachelor.”
Walt Elliott had been an early proponent of ski racing, and Pierre Stamos’s arrival furthered Elliott’s interest. Glen Ellen was one of the first eastern resorts to adopt National Standard Race (NASTAR) ski racing, and it is said that Stamos may have been the NASTAR national pacesetter shortly after his arrival. In 1970, Glen Ellen won the privilege of hosting the USSA National Championships, planning to stage the downhill event on F.I.S., the slalom on Cliffs, and the giant slalom on Inverness. After the first two events went off without a hitch, the Inverness lift suffered a mechanical problem before the giant slalom race; neighboring mountain Mad River Glen stepped in to host the event, one of several examples of longtime collaboration between the two mountains.
“He certainly was Mr. Smooth,” recalls Tony Egan.
Elliott’s early support of the racing culture provided a welcome environment for the nascent Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS). Started in 1973, GMVS first began training at Mad River Glen, but soon moved to Glen Ellen. By the late 1970s, the school had started a relationship with the mountain management that would serve to fund and build necessary facilities for student training well into the future. Al Hobart, one of GMVS’s founders, recalls a deal over snowmaking: “Glen Ellen was looking for money. I gave them a loan to put in snowmaking on the top of Inverness so we could use the trail.” (Elliott was an early pioneer of snowmaking, installing his first guns on the number 4 lift, now the Sunny Double, in the late 1960s.) In 1982, GMVS helped fund the installation of a Poma lift specifically for student training on Inverness. And as recently as 2011, GMVS and Sugarbush co-funded the purchase of forty energy-efficient Snow Logic guns for additional snowmaking on Inverness. 2013/14 37
Heading to the bumps on F.I.S.
Cynthia Greenfield returned to New York in the late 1960s with her two daughters, leaving Walt to run the mountain with the team he had built. Walt and Cynthia divorced shortly after her departure. In 1973, Elliott sold the mountain to Fayston resident Jenna Van Loon. Elliott remained in Vermont, but died tragically in a plane crash in 1978. Van Loon’s ownership was brief, ending with a bank intervention. Former Canadian Olympic team member and Stratton Mountain manager Harvey Clifford bought the mountain from the bank and returned it to solid footing. Then, in 1979, Roy Cohen—who had purchased Sugarbush the previous year—made an offer to Clifford and took over Glen Ellen, changing the name of the mountain to Sugarbush North. The mountain was referred to as both Sugarbush North and Mt. Ellen going forward; since 2001, it has been called Mt. Ellen at Sugarbush.
ounge. ountain L
reen M ki in the G
A New Era
This season, Mt. Ellen turns fifty, with a weekend-long celebration scheduled for January 9–12. There will be discounted skiing as well as on- and off-slope events throughout the weekend that give a nod to the mountain’s past. It will be a time for veteran skiers and newcomers to come together and celebrate Walt Elliott’s vision—one that is still alive and well today. And with any luck, the mountain will have an opportunity to welcome characters from its storied past—owners, employees, pass holders, racers, and perhaps even the hallowed cowbell. 38 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
While Lincoln Peak at Sugarbush has benefited from an investment strategy that includes development of a slope-side hotel, private town homes, and an upgraded base lodge and skier services buildings, little has changed at Mt. Ellen. The base lodge is much as it was in the Golden Thistle days. Pond Skimming has moved to Lincoln Peak, as have the New Year’s Eve celebrations, but Mt. Ellen remains true to Walt Elliott’s original mission: the mountain is a family ski (and ride) area, offering affordable season passes, a variety of discounted ski days, and an après-ski bar scene that some claim is the best at Sugarbush.
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Top-Shelf Golf on the Side of a Mountain
Sugarbush Resort Golf Club, designed by the famed Robert Trent Jones Sr., challenges golfers with the variables of a beautiful mountain setting. By Peter Oliver Sugarbush Resort Golf Club’s seventh hole.
o walk onto the tee of the seventh hole at Sugarbush Resort Golf Club is to step up to the threshold of an almost otherworldly promised land. Ahead lies a panoramic sweep of ineffable Vermont beauty—the ski area to the left, the Northfield mountain range to the right, Hunger Mountain at center stage in the far distance. The landscape is a muscularly mountainous tour de force.
That was very much what the original course architect, the late Robert Trent Jones Sr., had in mind. Commissioned in 1961 by the Herman family, who were the owners of the Sugarbush Inn at the time, Jones was assigned to transform a hundred or so mountainside acres into an eighteen-hole championship layout. (At the time, the inn was not affiliated with the ski resort.) A hallmark of Jones’s design philosophy, according to his profile in the World Golf Hall of Fame, was “a fanatical devotion to preserving the land’s natural beauty.” Of course, with views like the one from the seventh tee—or from the fourteenth fairway, or the seventeenth green, or almost anywhere on the course, for that matter—he had great material to work with. Still, he made the most of it. “I know my father was very proud of the design,” says Jones’s son Rees, who worked as an understudy for his father for ten years before becoming one of the world’s most respected course architects in his own right. “He wanted to make the golf course not just a test but also an experience.” In other words, playing a course like Sugarbush was not just about the golf itself but about the more encompassing experience of spending time in a breathtaking environment. But while Jones might have had inspiring natural backdrops at his disposal, he was also confronted with the inherent challenge of trying
Ladies driving at the second tee.
to shape a golf course from a mountainous setting that might have seemed to discourage course building. In recent years, golf courses coupled with ski areas have become ubiquitous, but that wasn’t the case in 1961. The topographical severity of the ski world was largely terra incognita for golf course architects accustomed to working with far gentler tracts of land. The elder Jones was famous for saying that a fundamentally welldesigned golf hole should yield a hard par but an easy bogey. But with the inevitability of sloping fairways, blind shots, elevation changes to confound yardage calculations, and the near presence on every hole of dense woods to suck in errantly struck balls, staying true to the second half of that guiding principle wasn’t easy. “It was a rugged site,” says Rees, “and routing”—the exact mapping of each hole—“was important.” Almost 400 vertical feet of elevation change from the Sugarbush site’s high point to its low point had little precedent for Jones; in a 450-course portfolio, the only mountain course that Rees could recollect was the famed layout at the Broadmoor resort in Colorado, which Jones helped to design and rework. And while that course might have comparable mountain backdrops, the actual lie of the land is flatter and more open than the Sugarbush terrain. There were a few other hiccups in the design and construction process; according to R. J. Austin, Sugarbush’s vice president of golf and fitness, the tee for the third hole was originally supposed to be well back of today’s tee. The only problem? The inn didn’t own the land and the right to build there. The third hole was shortened and ultimately built as the hole that it is today. The course opened for play in 1962 as a 6,524-yard layout, with signature features of a Jones course in evidence: big, undulating greens and tee boxes with multiple options. Jones had a particular fondness for diabolically challenging greens; according to Rees, 44 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
his father “thought greens were a form of hazard.” By modern standards, the Sugarbush greens featured a tremendous amount of slope. But if big breaks were to be a part of the Sugarbush putting game, they were mitigated, says Rees, by the fact that greens fifty years ago were designed for putting speeds far slower than on greens built today. If the slope of Sugarbush greens were to be coupled with the fast, closely cropped surfaces of modern greens, putted balls would fly by holes at an uncontrollable speed.
Jones was assigned to transform a hundred or so mountainside acres into an eighteen-hole championship layout.
A hallmark of Jones’s design philosophy, according to his profile in the
World Golf Hall of Fame, was “a fanatical devotion to preserving the land’s natural beauty.” Combine those design components with the variables of a mountain setting, and the result is unique. Austin calls the complex puzzle presented by the Sugarbush course “ever-changing on every hole. You could play the course ten ways to Sunday and never get the same score. It offers so many opportunities to test your game.”
By the late 1970s, however, the Mascara Mountain image had begun to fade. The Hermans were ready to sell the inn and the golf course, and they found ready buyers in 1977 in a group of Bermudian resort developers. Jay Young, a principal in the Bermudian group, says the hope was to recapture some of that bygone glamour. “There had been a name and a reputation, and it didn’t have that anymore,” says Young. “But it had the potential for getting it back.” The new owners were more familiar with building resorts in the Caribbean than running them in Vermont. But with the political unrest on islands such as Jamaica at the time—Young says he got tired of having to carry a pistol with him wherever he went—buying holdings in the Sugarbush area represented an effort to shift at least some of the group’s resort focus to a less politically volatile region. Still, they wanted the golf course to be a centerpiece in the fostering of what Young calls “an international atmosphere.” Toward that end, they hired as the new head pro Michael Busk, who had made a name for himself at the famed Mid Ocean Club on Bermuda. They hired Algie Pulley, a well-known course architect, to produce a course-improvement plan. Pulley’s recommendations weren’t followed at the time, although one of his principal ideas—to add more forward tee boxes for women and shorter hitters—would eventually come to fruition years later. But, according to Mark Grenert, the course superintendent from 1976 to 1984, the Bermudians didn’t give up on the idea of tweaking the course layout. Frank Duane, himself a highly respected architect who had been Robert Trent Jones’s boots on the ground during the original course construction, was called in to make the course more playable for higher-handicap golfers. It made good business sense; because of its inherent difficulty, says Grenert, “a course that had been designed to draw hotel guests was actually driving them away.” Traps were added in places and removed elsewhere, mowing patterns were changed to enlarge greens and bring the fairways closer to the tees, and trees were trimmed to push back the encroaching forest. Whether or not Young’s international atmosphere was achieved is open to question, but Sugarbush retained at least some of its celebrity allure during the Bermudian years. Grenert remembers Carl Yastrzemski, the Hall of Fame Red Sox player, arriving at Sugarbush in the late 1970s, not long after his retirement from baseball, in a Lincoln Continental loaded with golf balls. Balls began flying off-line almost immediately, and, says Grenert, Yastrzemski “never made it to the twelfth tee” because he ran out of balls. (continued on p. 46)
B asic T raining For the first half hour of my lesson with Sugarbush’s vice president of golf and fitness, R. J. Austin, I thought I was on a game show. Rather than simply having me step up to the tee and then correcting my technical flaws after I had whacked a few balls, Austin bombarded me with questions. What’s the difference between a driver and a pitching wedge? (Answer: Shaft length, club-face loft.) Why are pro golfers more consistent than amateurs? (Answer: On every shot, pros focus on a target.) And on it went, one question after another. At first, the grilling flustered me, especially when answers proved slow in coming. But the beauty of the method gradually grew on me. The process forced me to work out in my own mind the fundamentals of a sound golf swing. And while correcting flaws is an essential part of any lesson, Austin wanted to start by first embedding in my mind the basics of good golf for any golfer—chest alignment and foot position in lining up to hit the ball and good shoulder turn upon starting the swing. The question-and-answer session was a great way of going about it. Austin was also astute in using analogies he knew would be helpful in my case—comparing the physical and mental processes of good skiing to good golf. He knew I was a skier, and he knew that tapping into my skiing experience could be relevant in improving my golf game. For example, picking a target before hitting the ball, he said, wasn’t much different from choosing a line through the moguls before starting down Stein’s Run. I then went on course and double-bogeyed the first two holes I played. No instant gratification there. But I quickly got better. And as I focused on a few of the swing components we had discussed—creating a forward shaft angle at impact and not reaching for the ball, for example—I was armed with technical ammo that I knew would have me firing pars and birdies soon enough. Final Q-and-A: What’s the best way to improve your golf game? Answer: Take a lesson.—PO john atkinson
he 1960s, of course, were a time of high and youthful exuberance in the life of Sugarbush. Both the ski area, then less than a decade old, and the golf course had the sexy allure of newness. Sugarbush was chic. The ski area was attracting the rich and famous of that era—Hollywood stars, famous politicians, high-society figures, business moguls—earning in the process a compelling nickname: Mascara Mountain. The golf course was built to tap into that celebrity cachet at a time when the Sugarbush Inn was perhaps the most fashionable place in the Valley to stay.
R. J. Austin giving a lesson to the author. 2013/14 45
In another incident, Grenert went up to a well-heeled corporate tycoon while he was in the middle of playing a round. The man had arrived with an entourage of bodyguards, and as Grenert approached, “suddenly, six guys came out of the woods with guns,” he says. When you are a man of unfathomable wealth, you apparently can’t take chances, even deep in the forest of central Vermont. The Bermudian era lasted until 1984, when the inn and the course were sold to Claneil, the pharmaceutical company that owned the ski resort at the time. It was the end of an era of sorts but also the beginning of a new one— the union of the ski resort and golf course under the same ownership, which continues into the present.
ees Jones (who has skied at Sugarbush but admits that he has never played golf here) says that one of the things that impresses him today about the course is how true it has remained over the years to his father’s original design. Still, various changes have been instituted— “renovations to enhance the game,” as Austin puts it. This is nothing unusual; even the world’s greatest courses, designed by the greatest architects—Pebble Beach, for example, or Augusta National—have periodically been subjected to makeovers. Sugarbush is no exception, but the makeovers have been unusually minor. In some cases, change has been unavoidable. The eleventh green, for example, was once guarded by a fronting pond, adding intimidation to a relatively short par 3. But after a 1998 flood blew out the small dam that created the pond, acquiring the permits to rebuild the dam presented an unresolvable roadblock. Now a stream runs in front of the green where the pond once was—not as intimidating, but perhaps a return to the natural beauty that Robert Trent Jones originally had in mind. As Austin points out, “golf courses are living, breathing entities” that naturally and inevitably change over time. Greens settle in some areas or get pushed up in others, producing ever-changing contours. Elm trees that once separated the third and fourth fairways succumbed to disease. The battle to hold back the forest along the fairways has been ongoing; 46 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Grenert recalls that, during his time as superintendent, a few renegade members would surreptitiously do their own trimming to improve shot angles or open up landing areas and sight lines. (The subrosa tree trimming was behavior no doubt borrowed from the habit of Sugarbush skiers to clear branches and brush to create private, skiable lines in the woods.) New forward tees added in the last few years on the third, sixth, tenth, twelfth, and sixteenth holes have heeded the redesign concept Algie Pulley had in mind thirtyfive years earlier to make the course more playable for shorter hitters. The two nines have swapped positions; what is now the front nine was originally the back nine, and vice versa. Improved drainage has helped relieve the sogginess that in the past plagued some low collection areas; improved irrigation has relieved the need for water in higher and drier parts of the course. Because of changing mowing patterns, some greens have become larger and some smaller. And so on, as any golf course might evolve and mature with the passage of a half century.
But by and large, Rees Jones is correct— the layout is very much the same as it was when the course first opened in 1962. None of the holes has been dramatically reconstructed, and no new holes have been added. Sugarbush President Win Smith says that additional forward tees— on the eighteenth hole and possibly the fourth and fifth holes—are in the works, as is additional drainage management. But Smith adds, “I think it is important to keep the integrity of the original Robert Trent Jones course.” An avid golfer who puts in about twenty rounds a year at Sugarbush, Smith has been to many of the world’s great courses but still reserves a special appreciation for the masterwork that Jones created here. “I haven’t been on another mountain course that is so beautiful,” Smith says. And his appreciation rises to its zenith when he stands on the seventh tee at the height of the fall foliage. In the pink, crimson, and golden hues of autumn, the promised land reveals itself in its full, majestic glory.
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Construction begins on Rice Brook Residences, private homes linking Lincoln Peak Village to historic Sugarbush Village.
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.
Su mmit 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Chez Henri, a Parisian-style bistro, opens in what is to become historic Sugarbush Village.
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. — Patrick Brown 48 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
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Mad River Green Shopping Center, Waitsfield, VT
802-4 9 6 -3635
92 Stowe Street, Waterbury, VT 05676 Located in the Old Gristmill above Hen of the Wood
WWW. TERIMAHERINTERIORS. COM
CAT SKI VT
The Lincoln Limo is available for: Remote Fireside Dining Sunset Groomer Rides Powder Morning First Tracks Kids Cat Parties Private Parties at Mt. Ellen in April SUGARBUSH.COM
802.583.6590 2013/14 49
Snow is plowed into piles in the middle of tree and grass swales of the parking lot, as well as in grass ditches along the sides.
Clean Water Is Good Business
As the snow starts to melt,
runoff flows along the swales in the middle and along the sides of the lot.
Sugarbush recently completed a large part of a multi-year water-quality remediation project that significantly improved the health of nearby streams. It was the first project of its kind in Vermont and led directly to the removal of a stormwaterimpacted waterway from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ list of impaired waterways. Here’s how it works. Rainfall and snowmelt create polluted runoff by picking up particulate matter, including road salt, sand, and gravel, as the water moves over the ground toward brooks and streams. That runoff ends up in local rivers and, ultimately, in Lake Champlain. In order to ensure that streams remain healthy, the main parking lots at Sugarbush use a series of management practices to treat the runoff of nonpoint source pollution before it reaches waterways. Through these best-management practices of groundwater infiltration, filtering runoff through grass swales, and stormwater ponds, Sugarbush is able to keep its stormwater runoff clean and maintain the water quality of the nearby streams.
In 2012, Sugarbush and partner Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., received the
The grass and trees slow and clean the stormwater before it reaches the brook in two ways: • By slowing down the runoff, much of the water has a chance to seep into the ground. • Once in the ground, the water is filtered through the subsurface geologic layers or taken up by the surrounding vegetation.
Some of the sediment in the water that remains pooled in the swales filters down into the grass. The runoff is then directed toward stormwater grates, which drain to collection ponds called
stormwater ponds. There are several stormwater ponds in the Sugarbush base area to treat and detain runoff.
In the stormwater ponds, the remaining sediment settles to the bottom of the pond.
Clearer and cleaner water at the surface of the pond is piped to the closest stream or brook.
NSAA Climate Challenge In 2012, Sugarbush joined the National Ski Areas Association’s Climate Challenge— a voluntary program dedicated to helping ski areas assess, target, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reap other benefits in their operations, such as reducing costs for energy use. Energy Savings Sugarbush purchased forty ultra-high-efficiency snow guns in 2012, resulting in an estimated annual energy savings of 556,424 kilowatt hours. That’s enough electricity to power eighty Vermont homes for an entire year. Source: http://www.eia.gov/electricity/sales_revenue_price/xls/table5_a.xls Waste Diversion Sugarbush diverted 117 tons of waste from landfills and composted a total of 8 tons of waste in 2012.
for the development and implementation of one of the first successful water-remediation plans in Vermont, as detailed above.
Closed Loop Recycling: “Power of Three”—How It Works Closed loop recycling at Sugarbush means that less waste enters landfills. The system is a simple partnership between three companies: Casella Waste Systems (CWS), SCA, and Foley Distributing. Pickup: Sugarbush’s waste company, CWS, collects recyclables and sorts the material using state-of-the-art technology. Process: Sorted recycled paper travels the short distance to SCA to be made into various paper products. Provide: Closing the loop, Foley Distributing delivers these paper products back to Sugarbush to be used at the resort. — Patrick Brown
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ADVENTURE CAMPS hike bike swim zipline golf tennis rock gym bungee trampoline
WEEKLY SUMMER CAMPS Available for kids ages 3-17 Mini Adventure Camp Adventure Camp Mountain Bike Adventure Camp Junior Tennis Camp Junior Golf Camp
Also available: First Timer to Advanced Mountain Bike Clinics/Programs Private and Group Lessons
For reservations and more information, visit SUGARBUSH.COM or call 800.53.SUGAR.
Kingsbury ConstruCtion Co., inC. Working with Sugarbush to make their visions become a reality. Let us help you build your dream too!
Performing quality work for Sugarbush and the Mad River Valley since 1978. Allow us to help you grow your ideas! Kingsburyconstruction.com (802) 496-2205 2013/14 51
family fun at Sugarbush
Family Fun Night.
Family activities and kids events are plentiful at Sugarbush, from Kids Pizza and Movie Nights to events like dog sledding and Kids Torchlight Parades. All told, the mountain plays host to more than 100 family-focused events each year. BY KYLER TURNBULL Community Weekend Family Fun Nights Come up to the mountain for a memorable foliage celebration over Columbus Day weekend. The event schedule includes a cooking demonstration with Executive Chef Gerry Nooney, a dog-friendly foliage hike, pumpkin carving and face painting, and a locavore harvest dinner buffet. Be sure to stick around on Sunday for the Mad River Path Association’s 5K and 10K Mad Dash followed by Sugarbush’s First Annual Family Oktoberfest. (October 12–14, 2013.)
This family-friendly festival includes face painting, street performers, live music, and delicious food in the Gate House Lodge at Lincoln Peak. There is a little something for everyone at this festive carnival. Adults can relax to the live music and enjoy a frosty beverage while kids indulge in the festival activities, including the ever-popular Balloon Man. No reservations are required, but fun is promised! (December 31, 2013; January 18, 2014; and February 15, 2014.)
Murphy Moose at Torchlight Parade.
Junior Castlerock Extreme jeb wallace-Brodeur
Kids Pizza and Movie Nights
No parents allowed at the kids-night adventure! While parents get a chance to go out on their own, kiddos ages six to twelve will enjoy crafts, pizza, and kid-friendly movies—with fresh popcorn, of course—at Sugarbush Health & Racquet Club’s Adventure Zone. For just $30 kids can share an entertaining night of laughs and learning with the Sugarbush Children Programs team. Parents can make dinner reservations at Timbers or another Valley restaurant while the younger family members have their own night out. (Christmas week, Martin Luther King weekend, President’s week, and select Saturdays.)
Kids Torchlight Parades
VINS Large Birds of Prey Performances
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Pond Skimming. sandy macys
Observe live raptors and learn about their habits from the experts at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. Come to the Schoolhouse at Lincoln Peak during holiday weeks for a live thirty-minute presentation with eagles, hawks, owls, and more, followed by an up-closeand-personal bird-on-glove demonstration. This interactive performance allows audience members to learn about the raptors native to the Vermont wilderness. There are only 100 tickets available, so be sure to make reservations for this fan favorite in advance. (Christmas week, Martin Luther King weekend, and President’s week.)
For junior extreme skiers and riders only! Kids ages eight to thirteen can compete in the most extreme junior freestyle competition in the East. As a part of the Ski the East Junior Triple Crown tour, the Junior Castlerock Extreme is a qualifier for the main event in March—the Castlerock Extreme, where both adults and top juniors compete. This popular competition always sells out, so preregister your junior athlete early to secure a spot. (February 8, 2014.)
Want to know what it feels like to be involved in a real torchlight parade? Kids from three to twelve are invited to hop on the Welcome Mat during holiday weeks to participate in Sugarbush’s own version of a great tradition. This beloved event is a great spectator opportunity and family activity. Warm up after the parade and smile for pictures with Murphy Moose over cookies and cocoa in the Schoolhouse. (December 31, 2013; January 18, 2014; and February 15, 2014.)
This adored (and feared!) annual springtime tradition is sure to deliver an afternoon of enjoyment for every member of the family, spectators and participants alike. Pond Skimming is a must-try competition at Sugarbush. Throw on your wackiest costume and prepare to take on the pond. Only a few will make it, but all will enjoy trying. Take the plunge as a family for this spring event. (March 29, 2014.)
Murphy’s Word Scramble Unscramble each word below to help Murphy find a chair lift to ride to the top of the mountain. The circled letters unscramble to name his final destination. Hint: You can find the names of Sugarbush’s chair lifts on the trail map on pages 62–63.
ylealV Hesou ______ _____
e Ml e c W o t m a _______ ___
tnrho xLNy _____ ____
atGe usHoe ____ _____
upeSr oBarv _____ _____
e l i a gl V l o D b u e _______ ______
tNohr geRid _____ _____
e dlS i o B k o r _____ _____
Murphy Moose. mary simmons
Murphy’s Word Search
Glissading near Gate House Lodge.
John Egan coaching a young mountain biker.
Flipping on the bungee trampoline.
Y B D D P N C K R S L E E P E R O U X F R R O R A U R C O X I B R A M B L E S U S A M O R R A O T F I R E W O R K S S K P V I C A M C R A R U M B L E U M M M B G O N P D I K E N M U R P H Y M O O S E R N O I I R E L I T G C U A W S R A M Z E E I R S T R T M P H N O D N E I I B G R N T M E X J S R K O G W F D O D F O N D V I S M O A A E I X E I N F D R N T S O O F H E I C C T T R S I L L E D A L W W E G V S J K A X A O R U E H O E O M G N K I S J N U S E F G H E N L C W R L A S A S N L D O B D N I A S I R P R A U I P L T T A E R O A N R D E T O I D O F N O F N R E A D G M T O R P K O E S M T R U W G X G I R D H N S P E G S H L E F Z T O S U V O N D I E L L I V S L L I P S F N S D N L S S E N R E V N I S I G I S K S R E D A E H P C G L L A B W O N S Z E M E R T X E K C O R E L T S A C B P G BRAMBLES BRAVO CASTLEROCK CASTLEROCK EXTREME COFFEE RUN CRACKERJACK DOG SLEDDING DOMINO DOWNSPOUT EXTERMINATOR
FIREWORKS FIS GLADES GONDOLIER GRADUATION HEADER HOT SHOT INVERNESS JESTER MIDDLE EARTH
MOONSHINE MURPHY MOOSE ORGANGRINDER PANORAMA PARADISE POND SKIMMING RIMRUN RIPCORD RUMBLE SIGIS
SLEEPER SLOWPOKE SNOWBALL SNOWFLAKE SPILLSVILLE STEINS SUGARBEAR SUNRISE TORCHLIGHT
Word Scramble answers: Valley House. Summit. Super Bravo. North Ridge. Welcome Mat. Inverness. Castlerock. Slide Brook. North Lynx. Gate House. Village Double. Heaven’s Gate.
DEAL$ in the Valley
Everybody loves a good deal.You know that. We know that. So a trip to Sugarbush and the Mad River Valley is that much sweeter when you have a little inside information. Here’s a guide to some of the best deals in the Valley. By john bleh Taco Tuesday at Zach’s Tavern Located at the Hyde Away, Zach’s Tavern hosts visitors from far and wide throughout the winter and summer thanks to its close proximity to Mad River Glen and Sugarbush’s Mt. Ellen. It’s Tuesday, however, that often brings out the local crowd for their Mexican-inspired taco night. $2 tacos, $5 margaritas, discounted beer specials, and other Mexican cuisine create a fun and inexpensive night for all. valley night at Big Picture Café & Theater A true Valley landmark, the Big Picture Café & Theater is home not just to the only nearby movie theater but also to a vibrant café serving a bounty of locally grown foods (much of it coming from Waitsfield’s Small Step Farm). Every Wednesday night is Valley Night, with live music, $4 Switchbacks, and $2 PBRs. Free Cooking Demonstrations and Cocktail Tastings Enjoy samples and instruction as Sugarbush Executive Chef Gerry Nooney and Timbers Restaurant Manager Marcus Champoux host a series of entertaining cooking demonstrations and cocktail tastings throughout the year—and all of them are free. Themes from this past season included “All About Apples” and “Smoking and Grilling.” And don’t miss Chef’s Choice on Mondays at Timbers (non-holiday weeks)—a fixed three-course menu for $25. Waitsfield School Ski and Skate Sale As the days grow colder and the snow guns start blasting, attention shifts toward skiing and riding. The Waitsfield School Ski and Skate Sale has you covered, with everything from skis and boards to boots and jackets. There’s no better deal on used equipment, and there are great prices on new equipment as well. Skis can be found for under $100 if you get there early, with other gear and equipment even cheaper than that. The sale has been a Valley institution for more than thirty years, and typically takes place on the first weekend of hunting season in November. Sugarbush—For20s Pass This pass gives twentysomethings a break. The For20s season pass is only $299 at its lowest price (the earlier you buy, the more you save). For another $80 you can ski at Mad River Glen midweek as well.
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Great gear at great prices at the Waitsfield School Ski and Skate Sale.
Mad River Glen—Roll Back the Clock Day It’s no secret that skiing continues to get more and more expensive as the years go by. But how much cheaper was it sixty-six years ago? Our friends at Mad River Glen roll ticket prices back on January 28, 2014, to their 1948 rate of just $3.50. It doesn’t matter what the conditions are, this is a deal worth taking advantage of. Baked Beads Sales On both Memorial Day and Columbus Day weekends, Baked Beads hosts a huge clearance sale right in Waitsfield. Products range from bracelets and earrings to scarves and pashminas, and they all make great gifts. Opera Rehearsals The Green Mountain Opera Festival presents a unique opportunity to experience opera for free. From late May through mid-June, opera lovers and opera neophytes alike can attend several open rehearsals—the cast won’t be dressed up, but the show is still certain to be beautifully entertaining. Last year, performances included Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring. $30 Thursdays at Sugarbush For only $30 per person, skiers and riders can shred Mt. Ellen all day in the winter, and golfers can play the links at Sugarbush Resort Golf Club (foursome required). Non-holiday Thursdays beginning January 9, 2014, on the mountain, and starting on the first open Thursday in spring 2014 on the golf course. Mad Bus During the winter, the Mad River Valley’s Mad Bus provides free transportation service to many points in the Valley. Wait for it at any designated bus stop, including those at both local ski resorts. As an added bonus for night owls, the bus is on call Saturday nights and will pick you up and drop you off most anywhere in the Valley. For schedule details, go to gmtaride.org. Hostel Tevere Hostel Tevere in Warren offers some of the cheapest lodging available—if you don’t mind the hostel tradition of sleeping in a room with others. Pricing typically falls in the low- to mid-$30s range; plus, there’s an excellent restaurant and bar in the same building. Sunday brunch is an area favorite, and the bar regularly hosts local bands.
BREAKFAST & LUNCH: 8AM – 2:30PM DAILY DINNER: 5 – 9PM WED–SUN
Sugarbush Health & Racquet Club (SHaRC) is a fully-appointed year-round fitness and racquet club. Whether you seek group classes, personal training, tennis or swim instruction, family entertainment, or relaxation, a visit to SHaRC promises to enhance your Sugarbush experience. Open to members and non-members alike. MASSAGE & BODYWORKS POOLS & HOT TUBS SPin CLASSES VALLEY ROCK GYM PERSOnAL TRAininG SQUASH & RAQUETBALL GROUP FiTnESS & YOGA CLASSES CARDiO & WEiGHT TRAininG EQUiPMEnT PHYSiCAL THERAPY BY BACK TO ACTiOn TPi–PERSOnAL TRAininG FOR GOLFERS nEW EnGLAnD TEnniS HOLiDAY inSTRUCTiOn
Discover the best ride in the Valley. Leave your car behind and hop on the FREE Valley Floor Shuttle! Serving Mount Ellen, Lincoln Peak, Bridges Resort, American Flatbread, Pizza in the Valley, Mint, and more!
For more information, call 802.583.6700 or visit sugarbush.com
For GMTA MadBus route and schedule info: 496-RIDE (7433) • gmtaride.org 2013/14 55
photo: Deshler Photography
ExquISITE HANdcrAfTEd grANolA ANd cHocolATES SINcE 2003
T he C hoc ola t e B ou t ique wi t h a n Edg e Nutty Steph’s chocolate factory transforms into a family-friendly, European-style pub every week from 6 PM – 12 AM called Bacon Thursday. It is a weekly event with fresh-cooked plates of five different local bacons, plus beer, chocolate fondue, homemade sodas, wine, hot music, live conversation, and a killer house salad. Nutty Steph’s - an experience like no other. Handcrafted granola, chocolates, and a mountain of fun. NoGMo Fair Trade
SATURDAY, JUNE 14, 2014 LINCOLN PEAK SUGARBUSH RESORT SUGARBUSH.COM 56 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
located just off Hwy 89 Exit 9 on route 2 in Middlesex next to red Hen Baking co. call 802.229.2090 or visit our online store at
w w w. n u tt y s t e p h s . c o m
dining in the mad river valley at
Mad river valley
275 Main Street
Sourcing as much high-quality food from Vermont and the Mad River Valley as possible, Timbers features items such as dry-aged steaks, locally raised meats, and seafood in an atmosphere modeled after a nineteenth-century Vermont round dairy barn. Enjoy General Manager Marcus Champoux’s handmadecocktail list and carefully chosen wines. sugarbush.com / 802.583.6800
Nutty Steph’s chocolate shop transforms every Thursday into a family-friendly, European-style pub called Bacon Thursday. Taste five varieties of farm-fresh bacon, chocolate (for dipping!), beer, wine, and homemade sodas. Enjoy the sounds of the raucous piano, live conversation, and bawdy songs from the Bacon chef. nuttystephs.com / 802.229.2090
275 Main Street at the Pitcher Inn features dishes thoughtfully prepared with fresh local ingredients, served in an elegant candle-lit dining room, and supported by an award-winning wine cellar. Dinner served Wednesday to Monday. Reservations suggested. pitcherinn.com / 802.496.6350
Big Picture Café & Theater
A vibrant café serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. Coffee/espresso, full bar, and vintage soda fountain. Homemade desserts, bread, and famous maple-glazed donuts. First-run and arthouse theater (drink-in/dine-in theaters), live music/events, and a community gathering space. bigpicturetheater.info / 802.496.8994
Tracks at the Pitcher Inn offers a casual menu featuring fresh, local ingredients, local beers from Lawson’s Finest Liquids and Hill Farmstead, and creative cocktails served in the comfort of a cozy, firelit lounge. Dinner served Wednesday to Monday. Reservations suggested. pitcherinn.com / 802.496.6350
Featuring farm-to-table cuisine, Zach’s Tavern is a local favorite and offers a relaxed setting, Vermont craft beer, the American Wine List, and Mason jar cocktails. Families welcome. Open seven nights (food served from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.). At the Hyde Away Inn on Route 17, Waitsfield. hydeawayinn.com / 802.496.2322
Delicious coffee, breakfast on the deck, sandwiches. Come down for local buzz around the potbellied stove and sample our local produce, cheese, beer, and boutique wines. “It’s not just a store, it’s a living, breathing Vermont Spirit. You’ve got to make a stop at this eclectic deli.”—Boston Common Magazine, September 2006. warrenstore.com / 802.496.3864
Castlerock Pub Castlerock Pub is the perfect place to take a break during a day of skiing or mountain biking. Featuring a great vibe and good people, Castlerock’s better-than-bar-food menu features locally produced Neill Farm burgers, delicious sandwiches, and local craft brews. Open yearround when Super Bravo spins. sugarbush.com / 802.583.6594
Hogan’s Pub With breathtaking views of the mountains and the Valley, Hogan’s Pub serves up a variety of salads, specialty sandwiches, and burgers for lunch, and cold brews and cocktails for après. Try the melted blue cheese and onion Neill Farm burger, from cows raised only a few miles away. Summer only. sugarbush.com / 802.583.6723
Sunrise Cafe Coffee, bagels, wraps, soups, and salads served in a casual setting in the Farmhouse. Winter only. sugarbush.com / 802.583.7444
Sugarbush’s original après-ski hot spot serves up an eclectic lunch menu with items such as quesadillas, wraps, and salads, along with a funky bar scene. Open Fridays to Sundays, and all week long during holidays. Winter only. sugarbush.com / 802.583.6786
Mutha Stuffers is a year-round New York–style eat-in deli located in Sugarbush Village. Open until midnight on Friday and Saturday. Ski-in/skiout. Serving a full line of Boar’s Head Provisions. Ask for Dino. muthastuffers.com / 802.583.4477 2013/14 57
“Best One Stop Shopping in Vermont”
West Hill House (802) 496-7162
– Yankee Magazine
“275 Main at the Pitcher Inn is a jewel of sophisticated dining. This may be Vermont’s best restaurant.” – The New York Times
THE PITCHER INN HAS BEEN WELCOMING GUESTS SINCE 1850. ORIGINALLY A SIMPLE INN, IT NOW COMBINES VERMONT CHARM WITH THE COMFORTS OF A RELAIS & CHATEAUX PROPERTY. A CONDE NAST TOP 100 HOTEL. 275 MAIN OFFERS ELEGANT DINING UPSTAIRS, WHILE TRACKS, ON THE LOWER LEVEL, SERVES A CASUAL LOUNGE-STYLE MENU. OPEN WEDNESDAY – MONDAY
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.”
One mile from Sugarbush 2 minutes by shuttle bus Great Ski Packages 9 unique guest rooms with steam shower and/or Jacuzzi, really comfortable beds, gas fireplaces, TVs, free phone calls & WiFi Delicious Breakfasts 3 large common areas with bar, fireplaces, games,
– Boston Common Magazine
HD TV and pool table A Select Registry B&B Shareholder owned
Shareolder owned Mad River Glan shae
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.
sugarbush.com | 800.53.SUGAR
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lodging in the mad river valley at
CLAY BROOK HOTEL & RESIDENCES
Clay Brook’s slope-side residences range from studios to five-bedroom suites and deliver a level of service, luxury, and convenience that sets them apart. Each room is furnished with hardwood furniture, custom cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and Wi-Fi. Private concierge services, valet and underground parking, ski and boot valet, heated outdoor pool, and hot tubs. sugarbush.com / 800.537.8427
Classic country charm in an affordable package. Every stay includes breakfast and access to the Health & Racquet Club. Onsite casual dining is available (winter only). Conveniently located less than one mile from the lifts and on the Mad Bus route. sugarbush.com / 800.537.8427
Choose from an array of one- to four-bedroom mountainside condos located within the Sugarbush Resort area. Each individually owned condominium is managed by the resort and features a full kitchen. Many units are ski-in/ ski-out and have a fireplace or woodstove and a balcony and/or sundeck. Health & Racquet Club access and Mad Bus transportation included. sugarbush.com / 800.537.8427
Mad river valley BEAVER POND FARM INN
Five minutes from the lifts, let the historic charm of this 1840s, quintessentially restored farmhouse inn rejuvenate your spirit. Gourmet breakfasts, afternoon treats, and views of snowy hills leave you feeling pampered. Enjoy a glass of wine or a Vermont craft beer by our fire or hot tub. beaverpondfarminn.com / 802.583.2861
Featured on Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” for the past five years, the Pitcher Inn features eleven uniquely designed and appointed guest rooms, each a reflection of Vermont life and offering the amenities and services expected of a Relais & Châteaux member. pitcherinn.com / 802.496.6350
THE BRIDGES RESORT
TUCKER HILL INN
The Bridges is ranked among the Top 50 U.S. Tennis Resorts by Tennis magazine. Featuring twelve tennis courts (indoor and outdoor), three pools, fitness center, hot tub, massage and acupuncture, and an on-site bistro, the Bridges offers year-round fun for the whole family. bridgesresort.com / 802.583.2922
Recommended by the Boston Globe, the Tucker Hill Inn is nestled on fourteen peaceful acres five minutes from Sugarbush. Deluxe rooms with fireplaces, and family and individual rooms. Full breakfast included. Hiking/snowshoe trail, pool, and tennis courts (seasonal). Rooms from $139 to $269 per night. tuckerhill.com / 802.496.3983
WEATHERTOP MOUNTAIN INN
Located in the heart of Vermont’s Sugarbush and Mad River Valley, the Garrison offers condos, studios, and motel rooms. Units both small and large available. Includes our indoor heated pool, tennis, and washer and dryer. All just five minutes to skiing. garrisoncondos.com / 802.496.2352
Not your typical country inn ... Asian antiques and art, eclectic evening dining, and thoughtful amenities to enhance your holiday. Eight tastefully decorated guest rooms, expansive great room with fieldstone fireplace, well-equipped game room, hot tub, sauna, A/C, and Wi-Fi. weathertopmountaininn.com / 802.496.4909
HYDE AWAY INN
WEST HILL HOUSE BED & BREAKFAST
Comfortable, unpretentious ten-room lodge. We offer varying set-ups, and families are welcome. Close to Sugarbush and Mad River Glen. Rates from $119 to $199; midweek discounts. Home of Zach’s Tavern, featuring farm-to-table cuisine and Vermont craft beers. Located on Route 17 in Waitsfield. hydeawayinn.com / 802.496.2322
Award-winning B&B next to Sugarbush offering hospitality and great food. Comfortable beds, fireplaces, en suites with jacuzzi and/or steam shower. Three public rooms with fireplaces, movies, games, and pool table. Enjoy wine, Vermont beers, and single-malt scotch from our bar. westhillbb.com / 802.496.7162
MAD RIVER INN
WILDER FARM 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. madriverinn.com / 802.496.7900
“Where farm fresh meets fashion forward.” With the Wilder Farm Inn’s relaxed vibe and fresh decorating, it’s apparent that Grandma doesn’t live here anymore. We serve scratch-made dishes from local, organic, and foraged ingredients on our handmade pottery (studio on-site). Let us share the Valley’s best spots with you. wilderfarminn.com / 802.496.9935 2013/14 59
In 2006, Sugarbush completed construction of Clay Brook Hotel & Residences and the Gate House Lodge. Four years later, two more skier-services buildings—the Schoolhouse and the Farmhouse— were added to Lincoln Peak Village. And this winter, the new Rice Brook Residences—fifteen new homes in three buildings—will connect Lincoln Peak Village and historic Sugarbush Village. They are part of a larger-scale project that will include up to ninety new spaces for residential and commercial use. Sugarbush continues to invest in improvements at both Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen. This year, the resort has purchased additional energy-efficient snowmaking equipment and two new groomers. To alleviate congestion on peak winter days, additional seating has been added to Gate House and Mt. Ellen base lodges, and more parking spaces have been added. New road-paving projects have been completed at the entry to Lincoln Peak and Sugarbush Health & Racquet Club (SHaRC), as well as over at Mt. Ellen. And SHaRC has received much-needed improvements, including a new roof, a refurbished entryway and women’s locker room, and upgrades to exercise equipment. Linking Sugarbush history, the authenticity of the Mad River Valley, and the modernity and style 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. 60 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Taking the plunge in a local swimming hole. mary simmons
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 longtime Warren resident who 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.
A zip-line ride on a sunny day. john atkinson
Summer downhill mountain biking at Lincoln Peak.
Getting comfy with Lincoln Peak’s cow.
Launching off “the Church.”
A family ski day at Mt. Ellen.
There is something for everyone at Sugarbush. 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 that minimize long lift lines in the base area. Lincoln Peak is home to the legendary terrain of Castlerock Peak. Its narrow, steep, and winding trails offer seasoned experts a challenge and an old-time New England ski experience. Powder hungry? Get up early for first tracks on the Lincoln Limo. When it’s snowing, the twelve-passenger snowcat heads to the top as early as 7 a.m., before the lifts even open.
From slope-side luxury to quaint country living, the Sugarbush Vacation Team will find something to suit your family. The slopeside Clay Brook Hotel & Residences offers sixty-one suites, ranging from slope-side kings to five-bedroom penthouses, 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—has the cozy charm of a Vermont country inn with all the services of a resort. 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.
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, where it’s not uncommon to see three generations of skiers recapping the day’s exploits. Mt. Ellen is where you’ll find the Riemergasse Terrain Park, recognized in 2012 as one of the top five 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. 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.
Lincoln Peak Village. 2013/14 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 youâ€™ve arrived, Green Mountain Transit offers free public transportation services in the winter season within the Mad River Valley region via the Mad Bus.
Burlington: 46 miles
Boston: 180 miles
New York City: 300 miles
Montreal: 139 miles (224 KM)
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578 Skiable acres
1,4 83 base
53 2,600 269 20 elevation
miles of trails
OPERATING HOURS & CONTACT INFO
LIFTS (16 TOTAL) 7 quads (5 high speed)
Weekdays: 9 AM – 4 PM Weekend/holiday: 8 AM – 4 PM Season: mid-November – April
3 surface lifts
calendar 2013-14 Brew-Grass Festival.
Castlerock Extreme. Pond Skimming.
New Year’s Eve.
10/12–14 Community Weekend
Celebrate the height of foliage season in the Mad River Valley with fresh local foods, Win’s annual resort update, kids camps and hikes, pumpkin carving, live music, scenic lift rides, and a dogfriendly family hike. Also enjoy the Family Oktoberfest on Sunday, with Bavarian-inspired food, drink, and music.
11/17 The Big Kicker
Kick off the winter season at the Big Kicker. Join Mad River Glen and Sugarbush Resort to celebrate the upcoming 2013–14 ski and ride season with a party that includes a Mad River Glen/Sugarbush freestyle team exhibition, an all-star lineup of ski movies, music, beverage specials, and a presentation from High Fives Foundation. Fun for the whole family.
12/7 The SugarBash
Throw on your best retro ski gear and boogie the night away at Sugarbush’s birthday party. Live music from the Grift—and costume contest at 8 p.m.
12/9 A Taste of Timbers
Sample items from the Sugarbush culinary team’s new winter menu.
12/22–31 Holiday Week Celebration
Celebrate your holiday slopestyle. Meet a team of sled dogs during the Christmas Eve dogsled demonstration, enjoy après-ski live music all week, and send the kids to Pizza and Movie Night in the Schoolhouse (no parents allowed!). The fourth Annual Dog Parade kicks off the New Year’s Eve celebration, followed by the Family Fun Night with street performers or Timbers’ elegant dinner, and a spectacular fireworks display.
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1/9-12 Mt. Ellen 50 th Celebration
Mt. Ellen turns fifty this year! Join us as we revisit many time-honored Mt. Ellen customs, including a discounted ski day on Thursday, onand off-mountain events throughout the weekend, and the Elliott Sunday brunch buffet.
1/17–20 Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend
A long weekend of live music, family activities, and fireworks. The World Bazaar will return this year with international vendors, familyfriendly food, and performers.
2/2 USSMA Sugarbush–Mad River Glen Randonee Race
This endurance race benefiting the Green Mountain Club begins at Mad River Glen, climbs up and over to Sugarbush’s Mt. Ellen, runs through the Slide Brook wilderness area, and finishes at Lincoln Peak.
2/8 Junior Castlerock Extreme
The most talented young skiers and riders in the Northeast (ages thirteen and younger) take on Sugarbush’s famous peak in the fourth Annual Junior Castlerock Extreme. A qualifier for March’s Castlerock Extreme and a stop on the Ski the East Freeride Tour. Be sure to register early—the 110 registration slots sold out last year.
2/15–23 President’s Week
Check out this marathon of mountain fun, featuring our annual Torchlight Parade and Fireworks, ice sculpting, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science’s live bird show, ski films, a wine tasting at Timbers, and much more.
3/8 Castlerock Extreme
Gear up for the sixteenth year of this on-mountain Sugarbush favorite— the Castlerock Extreme presents a true challenge as competitors take on the daunting Lift Line run.
3/15 Sugaring Time Festival
This spring tradition celebrates the start of the sugaring season. Sample maple syrup–inspired foods and specialty drinks and take part in the day’s events, including a maple culinary demonstration and cocktail tasting hosted by Executive Chef Gerry Nooney, a resort-wide scavenger hunt for maple nips (with prizes), local farmers’ market, live music, and more.
3/21–23 Nantucket Weekend
Nantucket Island Fever spreads to Sugarbush this March! Nantucket’s official radio station, WACK FM, hosts a variety of island businesses at Sugarbush for live music and beach party activities, including a beverage tasting from Cisco Brewers.
3/29 Pond Skimming
Springtime at Sugarbush brings with it a long-standing tradition— braving ice-cold water! Throw on your best costume, tuck, and attempt to cross a 120-foot pond. Or stay dry and join the crowd to watch from the sidelines. Contests are judged on style, costume, and splash. Winner takes home a shiny new pair of K2 skis.
4/20 Easter Celebration
Begin your Easter Sunday with a sunrise service at Allyn’s Lodge, followed by egg hunts and a gourmet brunch at Timbers.
7/6 Mad Marathon
Billed as the “World’s Most Beautiful Marathon,” this challenging race sends runners by farms, along rolling dirt roads, and inside covered bridges throughout the Mad River Valley. Run as a whole marathon, half, or relay.
8/1–31 Festival of the Arts
A monthlong celebration of art in the Mad River Valley, featuring a “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 much more.
8/29–9/1 The Green Mountain Stage Race
The largest Pro-Am road stage race east of the Mississippi, this four-day event attracts close to 1,000 cyclists, who take on some of the Northeast’s most scenic and challenging terrain.
Re cu rring E ven ts 1/16, 2/17, and 3/15 Tour de Moon
This Sugarbush favorite features an after-hours skin up Mt. Ellen, dinner and beverages in the Glen House, and a ski or ride down—all under the full moon. Reservations required.
12/29, 1/25, 2/22, and 3/8 Timbers Wine Dinners
The fourth annual brewfest features more than twenty local and regional brewers, three live bands, and multiple local food stations. Last year’s festival sold out, so get your tickets early. Tickets go on sale May 1.
Timbers Restaurant hosts a series of dinners with specific wine pairings each month throughout the winter season. This unique culinary experience allows guests to experience an intimate wine tasting over a five-course meal hosted by wine experts. $100 per person. Reservations required.
7/4 Independence Day Celebration
12/27, 1/19, 2/17, and 3/15 Castlerock Pub Beer Dinners
6/14 Sugarbush Brew-Grass Festival
Celebrate the Fourth Mad River Valley–style with Warren’s iconoclastic parade and festival, a spectacular air show, the Waitsfield farmers’ market, live music, and Sugarbush’s largest fireworks show of the year.
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.
Winter 2014 Collection In Store Now
Visit Burton.com to find a Dealer near you.
Published on Oct 7, 2013