the rise of the
Plus: Mountain Bike Revolution Food Fun for Kids Hats Off to Hats!
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The freshest seafood, locally sourced meats, Vermont artisan cheeses, locally gathered wild mushrooms and native fruits are artfully combined with fresh and seasonal vegetables and herbs from nearby farms. Dinner is served in our romantic dining room—275 Main—or perhaps in Tracks, our firelit tavern with classic pub fare and craft beers. The Pitcher Inn is a culinary “true north” for localvore Vermonters celebrating special occasions as well as those visiting the Mad River Valley renowned for an abundant variety of year-round activities. A Relais & Châteaux property and a Condé Nast Top 100 Hotel.
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28 Everyday Eden Planning the perfect ski day, whatever the conditions, from downhill to cross-country to backcountry By Peter Oliver Plus: A Day with the Big Dog
36 The Sugarbush Study Since 1971, Dr. Robert Johnson and his team have been conducting one of the largest studies on skiing and riding injuries in the world. By Candice White
42 Happy Trails The Mad River Riders and other stakeholders are spurring a mountain biking revolution in the Valley. By Kelly AUlt Plus: VMBA Festival at Mt. Ellen
48 The Rise of the PARKS Sugarbush passholder Alix Klein getting fresh tracks on Castlerock
How community and creativity came to define the terrain parks at Sugarbush By JOHN BLEH
Inside Lines 4 One on one with Win Smith, owner and
president Winthrop Smith Jr.
president of Sugarbush Resort
Food 6 the cHeese course
Artisan cheese making is helping the von Trapp Farm thrive for a third generation. Plus: Stops along the Vermont Cheese Trail
10 play with your food!
Amy Stackhouse HJvB
Camps and classes in the Valley where kids can put on their chef’s hat Plus: Kid-friendly dining
Wintertime 12 helping hand
contributors Kelly Ault Cory Ayotte John Bleh Kelly MacIntyre Peter Oliver
Training Ground 16 Trial By Snow
Summertime 20 cracking the code
A lesson with Roger King, Sugarbush’s new golf pro
Behind the Scenes 22 Water Works
The story behind Sugarbush’s water system
Mountain Life 26 #SBDISCOVER Style 34 TOP HATS Sugar-Kids 52 Mind games 12
Discover Sugarbush with a crossword puzzle, word search, riddles, and some jokes
56 Dining Directory 60 Lodging Directory Timeline 62 A quick history of Sugarbush Sugarbush Close-Up 64 Facts and figures about the mountain
34 2 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Roy Tuscany and his High Fives Foundation have helped more than 100 athletes recover from major injury and return to the sports they love. Plus: The U.S. Paralympic Adaptive Ski Race Camp comes to Sugarbush
In a one-of-a kind program hosted at Sugarbush, participants boost their leadership skills through physical and mental challenges. Plus: Corporate bonding
and the latest developments there
70 Events Calendar 2016–17 73 Closing Shot
staff Photographers John Atkinson Hans Jonathan von Briesen
contributing PhotographerS Eugene Krylov Jason Morris Michael Riddell Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
Sugarbush Resort 1840 Sugarbush Access Road Warren, VT 05674 800.53.SUGAR sugarbush.com
ON THE COVER WINTER: Snowboarder Seph Niquette in Riemergasse Park Photographer: John Atkinson SUMMER: Kelly Ault, third place age-group winner in the USA Cycling National Championship cross-country division, riding the Revolution trail Photographer: John Atkinson
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There is no question that last winter’s El Niño did not make for a
great ski season in the Northeast.
At Sugarbush, we had only 156 inches of snow at the summit and a mere 70 in the base area—far below our 250-inch norm. In fact, it was the second-lowest snowfall since Sugarbush opened in 1958. However, history shows that other meager snowfall years have been followed by average or above-average years. We certainly hope that history repeats itself. However, hope is never a method. The investment we made in upgrading our snowmaking system has paid dividends. Our new low-energy snowmaking guns Win picks a nice line through Slide Brook. and towers allow us to maximize the water that can be pumped up the mountain and converted into snow. This technology also allows us to use less electricity—a win against climate change. Last winter, we made significantly more snow but used 25 percent less electricity than two years prior. While we have the ability to make snow on 70 percent of our trails, not all are conducive to snowmaking. Natural snow is integral to the uniqueness of places like Castlerock. Fortunately, our location in Vermont is a great advantage: our northern location, higher elevation, and proximity to lake-effect snow from Lake Champlain usually allows for mountain snow even in tough winters like last year. This explains why we were one of the few ski resorts to be 100 percent open last season. Another advantage at Sugarbush is our strong sense of community, and we love to celebrate those from our area who have made a special difference to others. This issue of our magazine, for example, features an article about Roy Tuscany and his High Fives Foundation. After a catastrophic injury of his own, Roy dedicated himself to helping other injured athletes. We are proud and privileged to support Roy. We also talk with Dr. Robert Johnson and his colleagues Carl Ettlinger and Jake Shealy, who have been working at Sugarbush since the early 1970s, making invaluable contributions to skier and rider safety. Another community legend is John Egan, who grew up skiing here at Sugarbush. John loves to share that while he has skied all over the world, he calls Sugarbush home. John is available for private lessons, but do not be surprised if he just skis up to you and offers to show you some of his favorite spots. In addition to John, we have a terrific coaching team in our Ski & Ride School. My children, grandchildren, and I have all benefited from their instruction, and there are now three generations of Smiths enjoying the mountain. While I love the winter months, summer here at Sugarbush is wonderful too, though still somewhat undiscovered. I am very proud of the condition of our Robert Trent Jones Sr.–designed golf course. I’ve witnessed some spectacular weddings here, including mine and Lili’s five years ago. I can personally vouch for the beautiful venue, as well as the top-notch cuisine and service. Our craft brewers festival in June is not to be missed. Mountain biking grows each summer, and we look forward to again hosting the VMBA festival at Mount Ellen in July. If you have young children or grandchildren, give our day camps a try—they are tons of fun. We partner with one of the world’s top tennis programs, New England Tennis Holidays, which oversees our tennis offerings. And, of course, the Valley is filled with great places to dine, fabulous farms whose products are for sale at the farmers’ market and served in our kitchens, numerous swimming holes, and many other recreational opportunities. At Sugarbush, we like to say that Life is better here in the Mad River Valley. We try to better ourselves each year, and we invite you to do the same. The entire Sugarbush team is excited about the upcoming year—both winter and summer—and is committed to making your experience here unforgettable.
Win Smith President, Sugarbush Resort Win and his son Win, competing in the Fat Ski-A-Thon at Mt. Ellen last year
4 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
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Artisan cheese making is helping the von Trapp Farm thrive for a third generation.
by katie Bacon
hen Sebastian von Trapp was growing up on his parents’ small dairy farm, bought by his grandparents in 1959, he never imagined he would want to build a life there too. But after four years at the University of Vermont and five years working for a software company, von Trapp realized that he missed the farm and wanted to go back. The only problem was that the
small milking operation of around fifty cows couldn’t support anyone other than his parents. They had already transitioned the farm from conventional to organic milk, which commands a higher price. But even so, with fluctuations in the milk market, they didn’t have control over the price of their product. What they needed was a new product, and one for which they themselves could decide how much to charge.
Fast-forward about a decade: now, the milk from all the cows on the farm goes into four different kinds of von Trapp Farmstead organic cheese: Mt. Alice, a Camembert-style cheese, named after the peak overlooking the farm; Savage, a hard, alpine-style cheese, aged for eight to twelve months and named after the man who originally settled the farm in the 1700s; Mad River Blue, a mild, creamy cheese aged for about three months; and Oma, a Tommestyle cheese reminiscent of those made in the Swiss and French Alps, and named in honor of von Trapp’s grandmother. All the cheeses except for Mt. Alice are made from raw milk. Sebastian and his brother Dan developed the cheese business together, though Dan has moved on to other things and no longer 6 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
works on the farm. They added a cheesemaking facility onto the early-twentiethcentury milking barn and bought a variety of equipment, including white plastic molds in which the whey drains from the milk, leaving curds that harden into cheese, and a giant dumbwaiter to transport the cheese from where it’s made to where it sits a floor below, aging and getting brined in a warm, climate-controlled room. After spending hours per batch of cheese washing all the equipment by hand, they also bought a giant dishwasher. To learn the cheese-making business, Sebastian von Trapp spent time at farms in England and France, as well as almost a year working for Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont. (Von Trapp Farmstead’s Oma cheese is aged in Jasper
Hill’s extensive cellars, along with cheeses from about a dozen other small Vermont producers.) “Making cheese involves a very steep learning curve, and there wasn’t a ‘Cheese University’ where I could get a good education. I just had to pull together all the right things to learn how to make cheese and put together a business plan that would work on our farm,” von Trapp told me, on the sunny but chilly day in April when I visited the farm. I got a sense of some of what von Trapp has learned over the years when he took me into what he called the “laboratory” area of the business. There, he showed me the starter cultures for all their cheeses: different formulations of mold, bacteria, or yeast, in little plastic containers, most of them ordered from France. After the cows are
Sebastian von Trapp carrying a set of plastic molds where whey is draining from milk
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Stirring milk at von Trapp Farmstead
milked, the milk travels through sterilized pipes to a 400-gallon vat, where von Trapp or one of the other six people who now work at the farm add a tiny bit—maybe 40 grams, he estimated—of the cultures from the fridge. “Each cheese has a slightly different process,” he explained. “Different things happen in the vat, different temperatures, we cut the curd to a different size, we stir for different amounts of time. That all makes a difference in the final product.” How long the cheese is aged, of course, also has an effect on the taste. In the lab, von Trapp showed me a tasting panel of twelve samples of Mt. Alice cheese made on different dates. The newest was made
stops along the Vermont Cheese Trail You could spend many happy days driving and eating your way along the Vermont Cheese Trail, a collection of forty-eight farms throughout the state, from Spoonwood Cabin Creamery, within a few miles of Massachusetts, to Boston Post Dairy, up near the Canadian border. At many of them, you can tour the cheese-production facilities and taste the various cheeses (make sure to call ahead). Others, including von Trapp Farmstead, are smaller operations, where you leave money in a jar in exchange for cheese that you grab from the fridge. Here are a few favorite stops: At Cabot Creamery Cooperative, visitors can tour the factory in Cabot to see how the cheese is made, then try a range of the company’s cheddar and other varieties. More than a thousand dairy farms in New England and New York are part of the cooperative, and much of the milk is processed into cheese at the Cabot factory. (Cabot Creamery’s corporate offices relocated to Waitsfield in 2014.) Grafton Village Cheese Company, located in both Brattleboro and Grafton, is best known for its cheddar cheeses, from wax-encased Vermont-style cheddars aged from one year to more than five, to an English-style cheddar wrapped in cheesecloth and aged in a cheese cave in Grafton Village. Visit Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro for some of their Bayley Hazen Blue. While many of the cheeses aged at Jasper Hill are made elsewhere (including von Trapp Farmstead’s Oma), Bayley Hazen is made on-site. It’s been called “one of the most important American blue-veined cheeses” and was also named the world’s best unpasteurized cheese at the World Cheese Awards in 2014. Shelburne Farms has been making cheddar from the raw milk of its primarily grassfed Brown Swiss cows for the past thirty-five years. Their cheese-making process is on display in the Farm Barn, part of a larger complex in Shelburne that includes historic buildings, walking trails, and an inn. Thistle Hill Farm in North Pomfret concentrates on one kind of cheese only: Tarentaise, an alpine-style cheese made using the same traditional methods as on farms in the Savoie region of the French Alps. Like cheese from those farms, Tarentaise gains some of its distinctive flavor from being made in a custom copper vat, the only one in Vermont. 8 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
on April 12, the day before my visit. The oldest was from February 11, and there was a note next to it saying, “Taste at your own risk.” The workers there sample the cheese frequently, to make sure the taste is consistent, to figure out how to improve it, and to ensure that they’re aging it just long enough—for Mt. Alice, usually about a month. “Cheese is kind of like a living thing,” von Trapp said. “It’s got a life cycle; there’s an age range where it’s good to be consumed. Before that it’s ripening, developing; then the peak; then where it’s too ripe and it’s going south.” The differences between the cheese samples were dramatic. The youngest one had a mild, buttery, slightly grassy flavor, and a texture a bit like cheesecake. The next one I tasted was creamier and had a salty, nutty savoriness to it. That one, made on March 8, was, in von Trapp’s view, at the ideal age. Last, I braved the oldest cheese, which was gooey, with a slight tang of ammonia to it. “The thing about cheese is a lot of it is about personal preference,” von Trapp said. “Some people would love this cheese. It’s got a lot going on.” Von Trapp is thinking of adding more types of cheese to the lineup—maybe a Gouda or a cheddar—but not without more milk and a bigger facility. “It’s been really tough at times,” he told me. “Start-up businesses aren’t easy.” For now, though, he’s happy to have found a way for a third generation to make a living on this family farm. (Von Trapp Farmstead cheeses are available locally at the Waitsfield farmers’ market, Mehuron’s, the Warren Store, and the East Warren Community Market, as well as further afield in places like Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts, some Whole Foods Markets, and Murray’s in New York. The farm also sells meat from pigs who are fed on leftover whey from the cheese-making process, day-old Red Hen bread, and spent hops from Lawson’s Finest Liquids. And, yes, Sebastian von Trapp is the great-grandson of Captain von Trapp of The Sound of Music fame.) Katie Bacon, a writer and editor based in Boston, is the managing editor of Sugarbush Magazine. She is a former editor at the Atlantic and her work has appeared in the Boston Globe and the New York Times, among other publications.
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Play with your
Sugarbush Kids' Cooking Class Camps and classes in the Valley where kids can put on their chef’s hat
by cory ayotte
hands-on experiences involving the Valley’s locally sourced food by bringing it directly to kids. In kid-specific cooking classes and specialty food camps, it is now acceptable for kids to play with their food.
Sugarbush Kids’ Cooking Classes On select evenings throughout the year, Sugarbush’s culinary team develops tasty, creative, hands-on culinary experiences that dive into different food cultures, including those of Vermont, Italy, and Asia. Students learn important kitchen skills, from vegetable peeling and proper oven operation to knife safety and food handling—all while they prepare a threecourse meal. (Previous menu items have included homemade pasta, potato wedge fries with homemade ketchup, salad with maple balsamic dressing, and maple pudding cake.) Fresh local ingredients are at the center of all the dishes the participants make. And who knows? The interactive learning experience might nudge a young chef or two toward a lifelong love for the culinary arts and good food. sugarbush.com/events-calendar 10 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
he Mad River Valley has been at the heart of Vermont’s local food movement for years, and local establishments offer unique
Prepping a rainbow pizza at the Sugarbush Kids' Cooking Class
Sugarbush Farm-to-Plate Summer Camp During this five-day program, campers visit the Barn Yard Camp in nearby Roxbury. While there, they mix traditional camp activities with working with food grown right here in Vermont. While honing their cooking skills, they learn about nature and get a chance to work with farm animals. Campers pick fresh veggies from the garden—tomatoes, lettuce, eggplant, cucumbers, and more. Using what they have harvested, the kids make items like cucumber-hummus cups, black bean dip and veggie sticks, rainbow spring rolls, and zucchini brownies for their families at the conclusion of the program. sugarbush.com/camps/adventure-camp
Fun Dining Spots for Kids American Flatbread (Waitsfield) While you wait for your table, head outdoors—a warming bonfire awaits you throughout the year, and volleyball and cornhole boards are available during the summer months. With plenty of room to roam, kids can run around freely while parents kick back and relax with a Vermont craft brew—and delicious pizza, of course. Mad River Barn (Fayston) Upstairs in the Pub & Game Room, you’ll find entertained kids and relaxed parents. Card games, a comfy couch with TV, foosball, air hockey, and shuffleboard tables create a fun and friendly dining atmosphere. Round Up on The River (Waitsfield) Every Wednesday from July to September, you can join local food vendors and musicians along the Mad River on Bridge Street in the Waitsfield Historic District for an evening of music, swimming, food, local beer on tap, and visiting with neighbors. The Store (Waitsfield) Located on historic Main Street in Waitsfield, The Store is a foodie paradise for kids (and adults, too). In The Kitchen, a welcoming open space located in the rear of The Store, the informative and entertaining chef John Lumbra teaches interactive, often family-oriented cooking classes. Classes such as Après Ski— Fondue and Panini (with comfort food like apple cider cheese fondue, grilled macaroni and cheese panini, and bananas Foster panini with caramel fondue) and Butter, Sugar & Sin— Sweet Crêpes (including maple cream mousse crêpes and caramelized apple in cinnamon crêpes) are particularly kid friendly. Families can also mark a birthday by cooking and then eating a custom-designed celebratory meal together. “Learn, Create, Eat” is the motto behind every class. Each participant leaves with a folder containing recipes of their creations, coupons to shop at The Store, and full stomachs. kitchenatthestore.com Cory Ayotte works for the marketing department at Sugarbush Resort and has experience at numerous ski resorts throughout New England.
Timbers Restaurant (Sugarbush) Take a break from your mountain adventures and recharge your child’s batteries just steps from the slopes of Lincoln Peak. With a special kids' menu featuring local Vermont products, there is something for everyone—even the pickiest of eaters. Zach’s Tavern at Hyde Away Inn (Waitsfield) Kids feel right at home in this casual setting with dinner choices like nachos, wings, and a grilled cheese with add-ins like fried onions, North Country smokehouse bacon, and avocado. The Blue Stone (Waitsfield) Known for their Old World hand-tossed pizzas, the Blue Stone also offers standard fare like burgers, salads, and wings. Special side entrance for takeout orders.
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Roy Tuscany and his High Fives Foundation have helped more than 100 athletes recover from major injury and return to the sports they love.
by john bleh
e’ve all had them: those sudden “Whoa!” moments of almost crashing while skiing. Maybe you were cruising too fast and caught an edge, maybe you almost hit a tree, or maybe you misjudged the landing on a jump. For most of us, the moment comes and goes before we have time to
process it. But others aren’t so lucky.
But Tuscany isn’t one to give up, and he immediately made a decision: through a simple action, a high five, he would try to make a connection with each of the doctors and other medical professionals who came into his room—he would try to get them to stay positive about him and the possibility of recovery. As it turned out, the doctors and physical therapists didn’t give up on him, and neither did the ski community. With the emotional and financial help of local skiers, community members, friends, and family, and through significant rehab and medical procedures, Roy stepped back into skis two years after his accident.
One of those athletes is Lindsey Runkel, who broke her T5 and T6 vertebrae while mountain biking in 2014, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Runkel was attemping a drop she’d never tried before, down about fifteen feet onto a tough section full of rocks and roots. As she was landing
< Roy Tuscany taking a run at Sugarbush
Or take Maxwell Elles, who was injured in 2013 when he hit a hidden ditch while snowboarding at Killington and broke his back. He received help from High Fives with funding, training, and rehabilitation therapy (including massage, acupuncture, and structural integration). “It’s difficult to explain the full effect of High Fives in my life,” Elles told me. “Not only have I been adopted into a family network of amazing people all around the world, so have my family and friends.” He went on to credit Tuscany. “Roy is as concerned with the wellbeing of my mom, dad, and brother as he is with the relevant issues in my life.” High Fives is based in Truckee, California, but it has strong roots in the Valley, with many locals and Sugarbush employees active and involved in the organization (and many of them sporting Big Truck hats with the High Fives logo). That’s because Tuscany spent most of his early ski career shredding terrain at Sugarbush as part of the Diamond Dogs, Sugarbush’s cream-ofthe-crop freestyle team. Sugarbush holds a kickoff party with Mad River Glen every November, “The Big Kicker,” which features presentations, raffles, and giveaways from High Fives with Tuscany on the stage. Later in the winter, Sugarbush hosts the High Fives Fat Ski-A-Thon off the Summit Quad at Mt. Ellen. (This year, the event moves to the Valley House Quad at Lincoln Peak.) Raising money for the foundation through pledges, more than a hundred skiers lap the chair all day, seeing how many circuits they can complete before the lifts close. Last winter the event raised over $150,000, with top fund-raising honors going to a pair of Sugarbush skiers named Rubi (twelve years old) and Mae (ten years
The U.S. Paralympic Adaptive Ski Race Camp Comes to Sugarbush Over three days in February 2016, thirteen athletes from the Northeast took part in the U.S. Paralympic Adaptive Ski Race Camp, hosted by Sugarbush, the High Fives Foundation, and Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports. World Cup Champion and ten-time U.S. National Champion mono-skier Chris Devlin-Young worked with campers on the fundamentals of skiing and advanced techniques in the racecourse, including gate training, tuning lessons, mono-ski setup, and video analysis. (Known by most as CDY, Devlin-Young has the longeststanding winning streak in U.S. Alpine Skiing history.) All of the invited athletes have suffered sports-related spinal cord injuries and are working their way back into competition. The High Fives Foundation paid all of the athletes’ expenses at the camp, which was based out of Mt. Ellen’s Vermont Adaptive center, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that empowers people of all abilities year-round through inclusive sports and recreational programming. Two athletes from the camp were awarded an invitation to the U.S. Paralympic Nationals, hosted at Loon Mountain: Greg Durso from Stony Brook, New York, and Emily Cioffi from North Easton, Massachusetts. JA
Tuscany was so overwhelmed by the community support he received that he was inspired to start a foundation to help athletes in similar situations. Named after that act of connection in the hospital, High Fives (founded in 2009) has so far helped 112 athletes across 23 states recover from major injuries and return to the sports they love. In the last year alone, High Fives received ninety-one applications from athletes and was able to approve sixty of them. The organization raises money through a combination of grants, individual donations, and events. Last year’s total was $1.1 million.
she realized she didn’t have enough speed; her front tire grabbed a rut, throwing her over the bars and straight onto her back. “I never thought I would be able to be as active as I am today, and I attribute all of that to High Fives,” she said. “They have given me my life back. They have supported my every athletic endeavor and even given me a chance to get more therapy than I would have been able to afford.” Now Runkel can be seen out on the ski slopes, surfing waves with other High Fives athletes, and traveling the country independently.
Take Vermont native Roy Tuscany. In 2006, in the Mammoth Mountain Terrain Park in California, Tuscany suffered a major crash: he gained a little too much speed while launching off a jump, and overshot the landing by several feet. He fell brutally hard. “When I went to sit up,” he later told the Burlington Free Press, “everything felt like a million pounds below my belly button. . . . I couldn’t wiggle my toes.” Lying in a hospital in Reno, Nevada, Tuscany was diagnosed with a burst fracture of his T12 vertebra, in his lower back, compromising 45 percent of his spinal cord. The injury left his lower body paralyzed, and doctors told him he would never walk, let alone ski, again.
old) Murphy, who together raised almost $21,000. (Rubi and Mae are the daughters of Jesse Murphy, director of development for the foundation, and Heidi Witschi, a member of the Sugarbush Resort Real Estate team.) Sugarbush and the High Fives Foundation stay connected in other ways as well. The resort has hosted the High Fives Charity Golf Tournament for several summers, with wacky rules for each hole, like using air guns to tee off or trying to hit an old Sugarbush gondola on the first drive. Sugarbush also helps sponsor a new BASICS film (Being Aware Safe in Critical Situations), released annually by the foundation and focusing on different aspects of skier safety. The partnership between Tuscany’s new foundation and his old home mountain should keep on growing along with the success of High Fives. As Tuscany continues to help athletes and build his foundation, he hasn’t forgotten about his roots. “When you make that turn at the corner of Route 100 and Route 100B, and you catch your first glimpse of Lincoln Peak, there’s really nothing like it,” Tuscany told me. “To this day I still get chills returning home and seeing
Roy Tuscany (right) with Jesse Murphy, HIgh Fives' director of development (left), and Rob DiMuccio (center), from High Fives foundation partner Smith Optics that view of my old mountain.” This past season, for the first time since his accident, Roy had a season pass to Sugarbush, thanks to his relationship with the mountain. “It felt so good to have a pass again to my favorite resort, my home resort, and the place that
made me the skier I am.” Even though he only ended up skiing five days, to him it was a magical number. High five. John Bleh has worked for various ski resorts throughout Vermont over the years. He currently works in communications at Sugarbush.
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In a one-of-a kind program hosted at Sugarbush, participants boost their leadership skills through physical and mental challenges.
By Katie Bacon
January's Abundance Leadership students testing out their snow cave
ix years ago, after dinner together in Allyn’s Lodge, Anthony Panos, an expert in corporate leadership and a longtime visitor to Sugarbush, started asking extremeskiing legend John Egan to tell him stories about his adventures. One particular
tale, about Egan’s attempt to summit Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak, grabbed Panos’s attention. As Egan told him about the failed expedition—in which one person died and several others, including Egan’s brother Dan, nearly died after they made the decision to head for the summit in the eye of a brutal storm—Panos started looking at the story through the lens of leadership. How did poor leadership undercut the expedition? How did good leadership decisions, by Egan and others, save some people who otherwise would have perished? The next January, Panos, his colleague Laura Freebairn-Smith, and Egan created the Abundance Leadership Immersion Program at Sugarbush—a four-day intensive workshop for executive managers that uses a case study of the Mount Elbrus expedition as a jumping-off point. “Abundance leadership” is a concept explored by Freebairn-Smith, who founded the Organizational Performance Group with Panos and wrote her doctoral thesis about the idea of abundance versus scarcity and their effects on an organization. Abundance leaders see the world optimistically, as full of resources, and believe that power and information can and should be shared. Scarcity leaders, on the other hand, feel the need to hoard resources and be in control. According to Freebairn-Smith’s research, abundance leadership leads to healthier, happier, and more successful organizations. Freebairn-Smith argues that the abundance-versus-scarcity model helps explain why some people seem like natural leaders and others don’t. “Why do some leaders create such joy, and people want to follow them anywhere? And others create this sense of deep discomfort and angst in their followers?”
As a stark way to understand abundance and scarcity leadership, the group examines the Mount Elbrus case study together. “It’s pretty obvious to see where our expedition falls apart,” says Egan. “So we relate this to the competencies you find in an organization.” Some of those who survived on Elbrus built snow caves to protect themselves from the storm. During the Abundance Leadership seminar, the participants are divided into groups and told to build their own snow caves. “We want them to feel what it was like for those people up there who had never tried to dig a snow cave, never tried to survive on their own,” says Egan. He and his colleagues look for examples of abundance and scarcity leadership in how JA
Throughout the program, the team tries to help people identify and develop the skills of an abundance leader. Each participant goes through an extensive 360-degree review by their colleagues before they get to Sugarbush. Once at the mountain, the group—usually about twelve people from a variety of companies around the country— faces a series of physical and mental challenges designed to test and expand their leadership capacity: hiking up the mountain on snowshoes; doing improvisational work to force them out of their comfort zone; crafting a life map to help examine the
branching decisions and events that got them where they are; and participating in intensive individual coaching sessions; among other activities. The goal is for people to understand themselves as leaders through their successes and failures. “We want them to be more connected with themselves, who they are and how they take that into the workplace,” says Panos. As one participant described it, “Basically you’re stripping down the onion.”
Corporate Bonding A selection of activities for corporate groups, on the mountain and in the Valley. ✔ Golf outing on Sugarbush’s eighteenhole Robert Trent Jones Sr.–designed course. ✔ Disc golf on the mountain, either on the super-easy nine-hole course in the base area (new in 2017), on the eighteenhole course at the base, or on the more challenging nine-hole course at the top of Gadd Peak (new in 2017). ✔ Team-building and leadership programs at EQnimity—working with horses as a way to improve collaboration and understand the power of nonverbal communication. ✔ Guided cross-country skiing, on groomed trails at Blueberry Lake or Ole’s, or through the backcountry. ✔ Cooperative cooking classes, either through Sugarbush or at The Kitchen at The Store. ✔ Group downhill skiing or riding lessons, and organized downhill ski races. ✔ Tennis tournament organized through New England Tennis Holidays. ✔ Yoga class on the deck of Allyn’s Lodge or by the pool at Clay Brook. ✔ Guided hike on the Long Trail, which runs along Sugarbush’s ridgeline.
Abundance Leadership coach John Egan
✔ Working on survival skills on a guided hike in the backcountry. 2016/17 17
The Abundance Leadership group dining fireside at Allyn’s Lodge the groups interact to create the shelters; later, they talk about those dynamics with the whole group. “It’s really interesting to watch,” Egan says. “We’ll have people say, ‘Okay, I was out of my comfort zone, and you’re right, I did act weird, and I did take it out on others.’ Or they might remember, ‘I just hung back and didn’t do anything because I saw that others knew what they were doing.’” An exercise such as this one,
Egan says, brings out competencies that are “displayed in our human nature, and when that comes into the business setting it can be very disruptive.” Ana Ignat, a department administrator at Weill Cornell Medicine, said that the snow cave exercise and the snowshoe hike set this program apart from other leadership programs she’s tried. “Doing the winter
activities outside pushed some people a little bit over the limit. The activities forced us to really look into ourselves and what each of us brings to the table.” For many of the participants, it’s not just the carefully planned-out exercises and the leadership coaching that’s helpful. It’s the abrupt break from the daily routine, in a beautiful place that gives them the time and space to think. Ignat particularly valued the group’s “phenomenal” dinner up at Allyn’s Lodge, where after a difficult day’s work of intense thought and evaluation, they could relax and eat a meal together on the mountain, in front of a fire, before skiing or riding in the cabin cat back down to Clay Brook. As Darius Paduch, the director of sexual health and medicine in the urology department at Weill Cornell Medical College, told me about his experience this past January, “As a leader I knew I needed to change, but it’s difficult to leave on Friday and come back on Monday changed. Taking these four days away taught me a lot of new ideas, and helped me see how others perceive me. It was the best money and time I’ve spent in a long while.”
“Abundance Leadership changed my perspective of what leadership meant…”
O R G A N I Z AT I O N A L P E R F O R M A N C E G R O U P
Abundance Leadership Immersion Program
“These four days have been a life changing experience…”
A journey to achieve maximum leadership impact and organizational performance January 30 – February 2, 2017 with John Egan at Sugarbush Resort
“I am anxious to get back to work and successfully integrate my learning.”
18 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
the code A lesson with Roger King, Sugarbush’s new golf pro
by Peter oliver
A golfer practices his swing during a lesson with Roger King.
s a kind of rite of initiation for Sugarbush’s new head golf professional, Roger King, I presented him with a golfing challenge equivalent to cracking the Enigma code: repair my seriously problematic driver swing. If he was up to solving that convoluted riddle, well . . . surely he was a genius, and a perfect choice for the job.
After a year at Northeast Missouri State, the Illinois native embarked on the nomadic life of the fledgling teaching pro, spending winters in Florida and summers in New England, at courses from Massachusetts to Maine. It wasn’t just about teaching hackers like me; after he signed on at Barre fourteen years ago, he immersed himself in all aspects of the golf business—teaching, retail sales, membership management, corporate sales, and marketing. In between all those duties, he managed to fit in enough practice 20 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Not that I should have had any doubts. King, most recently the general manager of the Country Club of Barre, arrived at Sugarbush with a well-credentialed resumé. He was highly respected by his peers as president of the Vermont Professional Golf Association, and a guy who had already proven his chops.
PGA Pro Roger King and competitive playing time to win the 2012 Vermont PGA Match Play Championship. Perhaps most important, he is a people person, a great character asset in a job that, from the course to the practice range to the pro shop, is decidedly people
oriented. “I love the customer interaction,” says King, who by his own account enjoys meeting new people and seeing them get better after taking lessons. Tackling my driving deficiencies, then, would be right in his wheelhouse. We had just met, and getting better was all but assured, given the technical nadir from which we would be starting. At the heart of all good instruction is the bond nurtured by a teacher with his pupils. As King and I set up on the practice tee, he settled comfortably into connecting with me while analyzing my flaws and guiding me toward corrections. Without hoopla or grand philosophical pronouncements, he flowed smoothly into the process of tightening the loose technical nuts and bolts of my swing. There was none of the know-it-all self-
He spoke with clarity and courtesy in noting immediately that my alignment—aimed too far right—was out of whack. Misalignment was coupled with a lack of lower-body engagement, and King talked about “building a ground floor” in my swing— activating the bigger, stronger muscles of my legs and hips. Over time, straighter, longer drives would be the payoff. My efforts to incorporate King’s recommended changes were often comical, but he remained patient and encouraging as I flailed in attempting corrections, at one point even making a complete whiff at the ball. In tone, he managed to find a nice balance between professionalism and humor in critiquing my swing. It was all extremely helpful—but did not, in King’s assessment, necessarily take full advantage of his expertise. A slender man, he is not a big hitter and has thus built his own competitive success around honing his
play within 100 yards of the green. “I don’t care how good your putting and short game are,” he says; if you give him a little time to fine-tune all the short but delicate shots that are critical to lowering your score, “you’re going to get better.” He also enjoys the cerebral part of the game, likening it to a chess match. Golf, he says, is about “having the discipline to play to your strengths”—to know when to be aggressive and when to be conservative, to be clearheaded about the risk-reward evaluation in choosing a shot. He likes conducting on-course clinics that focus less on swing technique—something you can tinker with on the practice range— than on decision making. When is it smart to go for the green with a long iron, and when does it make sense to lay up? When should you go for a lofted flop shot, and when should you go for a low-trajectory pitch? Given your own personal skill set, what chance do you have of executing any particular shot successfully? When should you risk a challenging shot, and when does a different, more manageable shot make sense?
assurance that some golf professionals let slip into their teaching methodology. He went about his business with a calm and unassuming demeanor.
King adjusts a golfer's putting stroke. Golf is a game, not just an athletic activity, and tactics and technique need to find a happy medium. But hitting long, straight drives sure helps, and King sure helped me. I went from the lesson to the first tee and striped my first drive high and straight, just left of the fairway center. But after three-putting the first green, I realized that there was still plenty of work to do. Next up: tapping into King’s short-game expertise.
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Behind the scenes
Water Works The story behind Sugarbush’s water system
By Kelly macintyre
Clay Brook at Sugarbush
t’s a bright early-summer day when I drive to meet Gene Martin, Sugarbush’s director of utilities and chief wastewater operator. My mission is to get a handle on the process involved in water and wastewater treatment at Sugarbush, and today it’s not hard to think about water. As I sail up the Access Road, the Clay Brook is running contentedly, on its way to the Winooski River and eventually Lake
Champlain, and the trees are still wet from the heavy rains the day before.
When I arrive, Martin is standing in front of the wastewater treatment facility with Doug Kyser, assistant chief wastewater operator, no doubt discussing the myriad testing and maintenance tasks they’ve already completed today. Sugarbush’s water system essentially has three components that operate as private companies owned by Summit Ventures: Mountain Water Company (MWC), Lincoln Peak Wastewater Treatment (LPWWT), and Mountain Wastewater Treatment (MWT). Mountain Water Company is concerned with the acquisition, treatment, storage, and distribution of drinking water for all of Sugarbush, including the SHaRC (Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center) and the homes on Village Road. LPWWT collects and processes all wastewater from the Schoolhouse and the Clay Brook, Rice Brook, and Gadd Brook complexes, and has additional capacity for future development. Mountain Wastewater Treatment collects and processes all the remaining wastewater that runs down drains, sinks, toilets, and 22 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
manholes at the resort. It’s a daunting task, when you consider this: water usage at Sugarbush during February 2016 was 1,888,270 gallons. And certified water and wastewater operators are in charge of more than just collecting and processing water—they are responsible for protecting human health and the environment. It’s not a nine-to-five job. During emergencies, like a fire or a water main break in the middle of the night, Martin and his team have to be there to route water to where it’s needed the most. The task becomes even more daunting when you consider that Martin and his team of four employees also operate numerous other water and wastewater facilities, including those for Mt. Ellen, the Sugarbush Inn, and Sugarbush Golf Club. Water is collected from thirteen bedrock wells scattered throughout the mountains above the base area, and from the Clay Brook, whose water is filtered and treated at a recently rebuilt facility several steps from the new Valley House Quad.
The first step in obtaining water for the mountain is pumping it from the wells. Martin and I ascend the steep dirt roads in his truck until we reach the top of Village Road. We park, admire the view, and walk into the woods a few hundred feet, until we come across an unassuming metal device that looks like a cross between a fire hydrant and a parking meter. “That’s a well?” I ask. “That’s a well,” he responds. It’s a far cry from the wood-and-fieldstone structure with Lassie barking next to it that I had pictured in my mind. Sugarbush’s wells are strategically scouted out by professional hydrologists and require permits for every step of their construction. It can take three to four years of planning, permitting, drilling, and construction before a well can be used as a water source. (A fourteenth well, intended to provide water to the resort’s next phase of development, is currently being permitted.) (cont'd on p. 25)
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(cont'd from p. 22) The well water is pumped from depths of up to 800 feet and then is treated for any bacteria with chlorine; at the same time, the water’s pH level is adjusted with soda ash, to keep the water from corroding the old lead pipes. (Last fall MWC started adding orthophosphate, a food-grade substance, to further reduce the potential for lead in drinking water.) The water is then stored in a network of five underground reservoirs that communicate electronically and replenish each other’s supplies when they run low. To supplement well water, surface water is taken from Clay Brook at a site just next to the Valley House Quad. This water requires more careful treatment than the essentially pristine groundwater pumped from the wells, as water from the surface is exposed to more natural contaminants, like particulates and bacteria. MWC water is tested frequently in accordance with federal and state standards, which mandate sampling for a range of contaminants including coliform, lead, and copper. Just as important as clean drinking water is how the water is left after it’s used: treatment of wastewater is an essential aspect of the resort’s environmental mission. The two by-products of this process are treated
water—which, when processed properly, is safe to release into the environment—and what Martin poetically calls the “blanket of sludge”—the solid refuse carted away by truck to a Montpelier treatment facility.
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The idea is to separate and clean the wastewater, a comprehensive process that involves filtration, aeration (to promote bacterial and physical breakdown), and disinfection. The aeration is done in two ways: inside with big industrial mixers, and outside in open-air lagoons. Wastewater from the Schoolhouse, and the Clay Brook, Rice Brook, and Gadd Brook developments is routed to a facility off Inferno Road (LPWWT), where it is stirred by giant mixers and aerated by industrial bubblers, like an oversized fish tank. As we stand on a grate watching the machine do its thing, it is surprisingly odorless. Wastewater from the buildings constructed before the Clay Brook complex is sent to an older treatment facility behind SHaRC (MWT), where wastewater is aerated in Sugarbush’s outdoor lagoons.
At LPWWT, the wastewater also goes through anaerobic (non-aeration) cycles, in which the liquid is left to sit while the bacteria do the work. If the bacteria are sluggish, sugar is added to the mix. (If anyone at Timbers is missing a 400-pound sack of white sugar, check with Martin and his team.) Finally, the mix is left to settle and decant—a term some may recognize from the wine world, wherein sediment is allowed to sink to the bottom of a container in order to separate it out. The top few feet are skimmed from the surface and sent through a sand filtration system, then zapped with UV light to kill any harmful bacteria, and finally distributed into leach fields, a few cleared acres that are deemed fit (by the state) for the release of treated water.
Gene Martin collecting water samples from Clay Brook
Because things tend to dry up on the mountain in the summer, from June through November Sugarbush holds all of the treated water from MWT in a tank instead of discharging it. In order for treated water to be distributed effectively, there must be ample naturally occurring surface water for it to mix with and disperse into. It is not your average water tank: it is a 9.1-milliongallon, open-air stadium of a tank. It is so large, it has dam permits.
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We decide to check out the tank stationed near SHaRC behind a set of shallow, rock-lined pools. On the way I pick a tiny wild strawberry as a snack, but decide against eating it as I remember we are standing on a very green stretch of grass between two “lagoons”—the industry term for untreated wastewater. I climb a ten-foot ladder while Martin steadies it so I can look inside. “Intimidating” isn’t the word for the experience—it is, in fact, thrilling to peer over the edge of such a large industrial structure in the middle of a natural haven like Sugarbush. I shout my name, and it returns to me in an echo three times. The huge tank is a reminder of the size and importance of the job of managing Sugarbush’s water system. Yet if all is working as it should—clean water in, and clean water back out—few beyond Martin and his staff give the process a second thought. What does command attention around the resort are the many clean streams and brooks, part of the ecosystem that provides the drinking water for close to a half-million guests every year. Kelly MacIntyre is a writer and photographer living in Colchester, Vermont. 2016/17 25
#SBdiscover Over the course of last year, members of the Sugarbush community posted over 3,200 photos on social media with the hashtag #sbdiscover. Here are some of our favorites . . .
@_jhayy 26 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
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Planning the perfect ski day, whatever the conditions, from downhill to cross-country to backcountry
By Peter Oliver
have had great days, plenty of them, stitched into an embroidery of memory spanning a half century of skiing in the Mad River Valley. I can remember an early-November storm—two feet of new snow and all of Sugarbush an untracked, unmogul-ed field of dreams, populated by just a handful of local skiers turned euphoric by the miracle of an out-of-the-box weather event.
Or a New Year’s morning, with post-midnight revelers still asleep, when the wind had deposited three feet of new snow on the left side of Organgrinder—a day when I got first tracks with two friends, rode the empty Heaven’s Gate lift back to the top, and had only our own tracks to cross on our second run. Or a spring day when a ground fog slithered over the snow surface in whorls of gray paisley, creating the surreal illusion of powder skiing in ten inches of fog instead of snow.
The author starting off his ski day on Lincoln Peak's Spring Fling
Days like that are freakish phenomena arriving out of the blue, as matters of meteorological dumb luck. They are rare threads of memory embellishing decades of possibility. In between, however, are the many, many days of everyday skiing—satisfying and sometimes exquisitely so, but not necessarily vivid enough to produce longlasting wows that forever color memory. The great days are easy. But how’s a guy supposed to make the most of all those tweener days? I sometimes log a seasonal total of 100 or more on-snow days, and they aren’t all punctuated by exclamation points of crazy good weather or snow. Maybe it’s a little cold; maybe it’s little warm. Cloudy, sunny, snowy, windy, or, God forbid, wet—who knows? Maybe the snow is crusty, slushy, sunbaked, bumpy, powdery, hard-packed, or all funked up in a grab bag of snow mutations. Snow and weather dovetail in a movable, ever-changing feast. What’s a skier to do?
A snowy morning run at Sugarbush whatever conditions might be in the offing. And throw in snowboards, of course, too. Among the variables someone like Gary factors into his daily what-to-do, whereto-go decision: downhill, uphill, flat, time of year, time of day, slope exposure, snow depth, recent snowfall history, temperature, grooming, time available, energy level. What works on one day, or at one time of day, or for a particular type of snow, might not work so well in another situation.
in the spring sugaring season, when winter relinquishes its frigid grip and the meltfreeze cycle of late March and April takes over. At that time of year, late morning is the power hour, when the frozen, overnight snow softens to a velvety corn before turning to a thick mush. But snow on the liftserviced mountain is almost always—almost always—best first thing in the morning. After an overnight storm, of course, the morning lift opening provides entry into untracked euphoria; dawdle for not very long, and scribbles of other skiers’ tracks are everywhere, blemishing the powdermorning perfection at the start of the day. In a word (or a favorite powder trail name)— Paradise! Soft, fat skis are the tool of choice. I might take them to the more lightly traveled Mt. Ellen, where Tumbler and Hammerhead, protected from the wind, hold the new snow beautifully. On your average, powdery weekday morning, I can usually fly solo, tumbling and hammerheading more or less all by my lonesome.
In the morning on non-powder days—the great majority of days—swaths of fresh The answer comes in a guiding principle corduroy left by overnight groomers are still at the heart of everyday skiing: make largely unsullied by the sliding urgency of ski the most of the snow conditions on any edges. Carving skis are the tool of choice. given day, or at any given time of day. In In the latter days of my skiing life, I am that regard, I take the ecumenical finding the leisurely pleasure approach favored by many of my of engaging an angled, carving Mad River Valley brethren: all kinds The ski-on-corduroy sound alone, edge with a smoothly groomed of skiing are welcomed into the mix. surface to be increasingly and To illustrate the point, I introduce like the muted fluttering of a card incredibly soul satisfying. The as Exhibit A my good friend Gary ski-on-corduroy sound alone, in the spokes of a spinning Kessler. Gary, who lives in Fayston, like the muted fluttering of maintains a stockpile of eight pairs a card in the spokes of a bicycle wheel, is a form of of skis to cover all Valley skiing spinning bicycle wheel, is a possibilities. (“I used to have ten form of musical inspiration. musical inspiration. pairs,” says Gary, betraying the guilt On a clear day, I’ll start on of an inveterate gear-aholic. “But I sun-bathed Birch Run, then got rid of two pairs last winter. I guess I am move over to Snowball and still-shadowed I am not so extravagant in my gear cache; cutting down.”) Spring Fling, with its boulevard-wide, onI have a mere six pairs of skis to choose Why so many skis? In a valley with two from. (I think the only skis not represented the-fall-line, north-facing pitch. There I major downhill ski areas encompassing in Gary’s or my portfolio are 250-centimeter can roll my edges over through big, loopy, thousands of skiable acres, two cross- jumping skis, since there is no ski jump in wide-radius turns, pushing the accelerator country areas with close to 100 kilometers the Mad River Valley, other than the one with as much gusto as my aging legs dare of groomed trails, and a virtually limitless built for the Gelandesprung Championship to entertain. •
backcountry, a gear variety pack opens many doors. The possibilities: powder skis, carving skis, telemark skis, cross-country skate skis, classic cross-country skis, alpine touring (or randonnée) skis, offtrack touring skis—whatever is needed for 30 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
at Mt. Ellen each winter.) I start with a basic template—on most days, my go-to plan is to head to Sugarbush first thing in the morning, then move on to other snowbound forms of fun from there. It is a template from which I might stray occasionally, especially
Even on a busy weekend, the first hour or two on the mountain is never crowded, and in the age of high-speed, detachable lifts, what was once a full day of skiing can be jammed into a couple of hours. In the usual absence of any early-morning lift line, I
what can be one of the resort’s most jawrattling runs.
Win Smith and his dog Rumble
A Day with the Big Dog Sugarbush president Win Smith has had his share of dreamy ski days. After all, he logs as many as 130 ski days in the season—plenty of opportunity for good things to happen. But when asked to recall one day in particular, he thinks back to a morning when eight to ten inches of new snow covered Castlerock’s Middle Earth after a rare overnight grooming job had left the subsurface deliciously bumpfree. The result was Elysian flotation down can spin through five or six laps an hour on Super Bravo, a turnover rate that might slow a little only if I mix in bumpier favorites like Lixi’s Twist or Domino. By the time the rest of humanity makes its way to the mountain later in the morning, I can have close to 20,000 vertical feet under my belt. I’m ready to shift skiing gears, usually to cross-country skating. • Time out for a little background. I have been downhill skiing since I was seven and only came to cross-country skiing—skate skiing in particular—later in life. I quickly became hooked. For fifteen years, I have been working and teaching skiing at Ole’s Cross Country Center, based at the Warren– Sugarbush Airport, across the valley from the ski mountain. I am a skating apostle, and I want to spread the gospel. And so . . . together, downhill and crosscountry skiing fuse for me in a harmonic balance—yin and yang, sweet and savory, mortise and tenon. Here’s an important truth within that balance: when the snow is great for downhill skiing, it is often too soft for good skate skiing, and when conditions are too hard and slippery for good downhill skiing, the skating can be fantastic. Perfect. Another truth, and the reason I usually downhill ski before heading to Ole’s: given the enormous difference in skier traffic (up
Last winter, Smith recorded 116 days on the mountain. He is not a multiple-choice skier like so many other Mad River Valley residents. Although cross-country skating remains a must-do on his bucket list, liftserviced downhill skiing is his thing. He likes to get to the mountain early, before the lifts begin spinning, “to get a sense of what the day is going to be,” then devises a game plan accordingly. The Valley House area is a favorite morning playground, where fast cruisers on Snowball and Spring Fling provide unblemished grooming and sunrise views to the east. However, “if Stein’s has been groomed and has powder, that’s definitely my first choice.” Still, he will sometimes start on the sunny to 8,000 skiers on a busy day at Sugarbush; maybe 300 on the busiest day at Ole’s), the snow at Ole’s usually stays fresher longer. What’s more, snow on the flatter crosscountry terrain doesn’t get scratched off and pushed downhill by sharp metal ski edges or snowboards. It stays in place for most or all of the day. No need to rush to Ole’s early in the morning to be assured of agreeable conditions. After completing a morning session at Sugarbush, I am likely to stop by the Warren Store for a sandwich on the great French bread that the team in the bakery makes daily. I am a glutton for the Smoke on the Water—smoked salmon and Boursin with capers and red onions— but I like the Number Six, too, which combines roast turkey with cranberry mayo. Fortifying stuff before heading five minutes up the road to Ole’s. A quick change of gear reminds me of two more truths: cross-country equipment is blessedly light and comfortable compared with downhill skis and boots. My entire skating setup—skis, bindings, boots, and poles—weighs not much more than a single downhill boot. And cross-country skiing is one of the best ways to stay warm on a cold winter day; sustaining an average heart rate of 120 beats or more per minute, my body becomes a cardiovascular furnace. I shed the thicker layers of insulation
side of the mountain, enjoying Sleeper— like so many kids do—as a sun-mottled natural terrain park of rolls, fall-offs, and jumps. “There are so many good options,” says Smith. “I don’t want to become a creature of habit.” That’s why you might also find him at Mt. Ellen on Hammerhead or Tumbler— or rummaging around in the woods alongside. The absence of skier traffic at Mt. Ellen may not be good for business, but for someone who loves skiing as much as Smith does, it is chicken soup for the soul. But a steep trail like Stein’s or Middle Earth with fresh powder after fresh grooming—that’s something truly special, dessert topped with sweet whipped cream. And you’re bound to get a few runs like that every year if you spend as much time on the mountain as Smith does. needed to withstand the chill of lift riding and downhill skiing, and dress myself in lighter stuff to lessen the chance of overheating. At Ole’s, I am likely to run into other members of the ecumenical congregation— friends like Audrey Huffman (a Sugarbush employee who designs this magazine) or Mike and Joanie Kavanaugh, who all are multi-ski devotees. Their daily game plans are often similar to mine, though possibly rearranged by personal preferences. Audrey likes to swap back and forth between telemark and skate skis, while Joanie and Mike rank skating above all other forms of sliding on snow. Joanie’s take on a perfect day (or perfect afternoon): “skate skiing on a bluebird day with no wind and fresh snow.” You can’t beat that. I might join Audrey or the Kavanaughs on the Deer Run trail, five miles of blissful skating terrain rolling gently through woods and farm fields, with expansive views of Sugarbush, Mad River Glen, and Camel’s Hump as a backdrop. As Joanie rightly says, “What makes a perfect ski day is the company you’re with.” • Not everybody abides by my perfect-ski-day formula. For example, my friend Rob Rosen likes to flip my daily plan; I’ll often see him arrive early in the morning at Ole’s with 2016/17 31
his alpine boots slung over his shoulder, intending to head for Sugarbush later in the day after about fifteen kilometers of skating. Jon Jamieson, another guy with more skis than he knows what to do with, also prefers the cross-country-first approach. “It’s great to get the snow at Ole’s when it’s fresh,” he says, because there is something almost intoxicatingly special about laying the edge of a skating ski onto untracked corduroy. After that, he is likely to head for Mt. Ellen, where, equipped with alpine-touring gear and climbing skins, he’ll ride the lift to hike the long ridgeline to Lincoln Peak, then ski down to Castlerock Pub for a well-earned beer. Every once in a while, he’ll switch it up by starting (as early as 5 a.m.) or ending the day with a hike up on skis to the Mt. Ellen summit, followed, of course, by a fast descent. “Mt. Ellen is the one with the payoff, because it has the killer views,” he says. “Sunsets over the Adirondacks are stunning.” I am not one to follow Jamieson’s lead and ski down after dark with a head lamp. But like Jamieson, I am always thinking of the day’s final decision: where to go for après-ski. I’ve had a few memorable moments on that front,
But these days, when the afternoon sun is bright and warm, I might gather with friends on the stone terraces at the Lincoln Peak base, for noshing on food and beverage director Gerry Nooney’s scrumptious pizza while indulging in one or two of the fabulous brews concocted by my neighbor, Sean Lawson. Lawson’s Finest Liquids is developing a national reputation, and for good reason. If a die-hard wine lover like me can take a liking to Sean’s well-tempered beer, he must be doing something right.
The author topping off a perfect ski day at Timbers with friends
Then it is off in the evening alpenglow to the comforts of home and the furry welcome of my faithful canine sidekick, Trombone. At that point, exhaustion and the Lawson’s I’ve savored will likely drive me very early to bed. There I will drift quickly into the unconscious, flitting across a starry dreamscape of memorable ski days yet to come.
too—playing skittles many years ago in the basement of the Tucker Hill Lodge, dancing deep into the evening on the roof of the former, and sorely missed, Blue Tooth, basking in spring warmth on the great second-floor deck of the Mt. Ellen base lodge.
Peter Oliver is the author of six books, and his feature articles have appeared in many national publications. In 2012, he was named by readers of Vermont Sports magazine as the best Nordic instructor in the state.
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32 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Style. Top Hats (1)
(1) Lengenda (4) MinI by Starling Hats Warren Store, Warren Sugarbush Adventure Gear, Warren (6)
(2) Handmade 100% Wool Cap by Vermont Artisan Betsy Beresford Artisansâ€™ Gallery, Waitsfield
(3) Eugenia Fur by Toni Sailer Sportive, Waitsfield
(5) Frenzy (6) Rowe by Pistil Designs Warren Store, Warren (7) Alpine Hat of the Menâ€™s Collection by Skida Sugarbush Adventure Gear, Warren
(8) Classic Collection by No Hats 4orty Bridge Boutique, Waitsfield
Photography by Jason Morris. Styling by Nadine Rowell.
Since 1971, Dr. Robert Johnson and his team have been conducting one of the largest studies on skiing and riding injuries in the world.
By Candice White
n a sunny morning this past April, Dr. Robert Johnson sat on a swivel chair in front of a computer at Sugarbushâ€™s University of Vermont Medical Center Orthopedics Clinic. Johnson, a tall
figure sporting eyeglasses and a head of thick, white hair, was poring over data collected from the past few weeks. At his fingertips was a trove of information that he and his team have been collecting since 1971: comprehensive data on injuries to skiers (and, in recent decades, to riders) and analysis of how those injuries were caused. This wealth of information has informed some of the most groundbreaking studies on skiing and riding injuries and prevention in the world.
Dr. Johnson at the UVM Medical Center Orthopedics Clinic
The Sugarbush Study
Bob Johnson grew up in Iowa Falls, Iowa. His initiation to skiing did not foreshadow a groundbreaking career in the ski industry. At age twelve he was given a six-foot-long pair of skis, slid down a hill, attempted to jump a creek, and broke the skis in half. Johnson graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and subsequently earned a medical degree from the University of Iowa. He did not attempt to ski again until his early thirties, when he was in the Air Force, serving as chief of orthopedics at the USAF hospital on Loring Air Force Base in Maine. That second introduction to skiing resulted in a “blackand-blue bruise from my hip down to my 38
The original testing equipment knee,” Johnson recalls. He was going to return to Iowa after the Air Force, but the position he planned to take lost its funding, and he found himself accepting a job at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Johnson had envisioned a sports medicine career in Iowa concentrating on football, but his relocation to Vermont necessitated a change in disciplines—Vermont colleges are not known for their football teams. Johnson began practicing orthopedic surgery at Medical Center Hospital of Vermont (now UVM Medical Center) in August of 1971. That same fall, Dr. John Saia, a family-practice doctor in the nearby Mad River Valley, suggested to Johnson that he open an orthopedic clinic in the area; at that time, the Valley had three ski areas and no clinic. In December of that year, Johnson opened shop in a partial room at Glen Ellen (now Mt. Ellen), laying the groundwork for the analysis and treatment of on-snow injuries that would come to be known as “the Sugarbush study.” Johnson began a grueling winter schedule of working at the hospital during the week and at the ski area’s orthopedic clinic on the weekends. Forty-five years later, he is still at it. • Shortly after meeting at the clinic, Johnson and I drive over to Mt. Ellen to meet one of his two key research collaborators since 1972, Carl Ettlinger. As we approach an unassuming building just past the base of the Sunny Double lift, Johnson jokes that Ettlinger has been under strict orders to “clean the place up and turn on the heat” so it is appropriate for visitors. (Comfort is not high on Ettlinger’s priority list.) The building is, in fact, three trailers fused together, and it offers sufficient space for Ettlinger to carry out his research.
courtesy of karl ettlinger & jasper shealy
courtesy of karl ettlinger & jasper shealy
The research trailers at Mt. Ellen In the clinic, Johnson works with a small group of colleagues who check in and treat patients, collect information, and perform X-rays, all with a calm that mirrors Johnson’s placid demeanor. The staff moves between two large, open rooms. One room is lined with medical beds occupied by patients, often accompanied by Ski Patrol members who have escorted them down the mountain. The second room, toward the interior, is where Dr. Johnson (or his colleague of twenty-six years, Dr. Stan Grzyb) attends patients, which could involve casting a tibia fracture, wrapping a muscle, treating a shoulder or wrist dislocation, or diagnosing a potential torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). (Patients are also seen by orthopedic residents and fellows.) There is virtually no turnover in the clinic staff: Bobby Foster has been a medical and research assistant at Johnson’s side for close to forty years; Steve Mason, a research and X-ray technician for over twenty years; Lynne Brophy, a research assistant for seventeen years; and Carol Blair, an X-ray technician and research assistant for close to fifteen years.
Ettlinger's son, Kris, demonstrates how to use the Vermont release calibrator. Ettlinger came on the scene one year after Johnson, fresh out of a master’s program in engineering at UVM, where he had collaborated with a PhD student on the engineering of ski bindings. (Ettlinger’s own master’s thesis was entitled “On the Prevention of Ski Injuries.”) His life’s work has been devoted to analyzing the relationship between the ski boot, the binding, and the ski—and how making adjustments to those elements can influence and reduce the risk of injuries in skiing. He runs a company called Vermont Safety Research, based in Underhill. Ettlinger plays something of the “mad scientist” role in the Johnson triumvirate (the third is Jasper Shealy, a professor emeritus at Rochester Institute of Technology who holds a PhD in industrial engineering), and as he takes me on a tour of the lab where he has been conducting his research for over forty years, he talks in a steady stream, handing me pamphlets and booklets like Alpine Binding Installation and Inspection and Tips for Knee-Friendly Skiing, while listing the many programs he, Johnson, and Shealy have influenced through their work: the International Society for Skiing Safety (ISSS), the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), and the International Standardization Organization (ISO), to name a few. I lose track of time in the tiny quarters, perusing part of Ettlinger’s collection of ski equipment that dates back to the 1950s, inspecting a machine called the Vermont release calibrator (the ski installation and inspection station he created), and listening to Ettlinger talk about the early days of his collaboration with Johnson and Shealy. Shealy, known as Jake, spent his graduate school years studying the systemsengineering side of “how and why accidents
Since the early 1970s, Johnson, Ettlinger, and Shealy have published over a hundred articles, papers, abstracts, and book chapters on the prevention of ski injuries. Johnson has been awarded more than $2.5 million in research funding to study issues such as knee and ligament injuries along with ACL reconstruction and rehabilitation, from organizations like the National Institutes of Health and the Arthritis Foundation. He has been awarded more than thirty-five academic awards and honors over the course of his career, and has chaired various organizations, including the ISSS and the American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine. • When Johnson and his colleagues first started in this field, the predominant injury was the broken ankle. As the sport and equipment evolved, the broken ankle was replaced by the broken tibia. Johnson and his colleagues treated the injuries, studied the data from those injuries, and drew conclusions concerning ski binding release systems and the compatibility of boots with bindings (or lack thereof). They asked questions such as: How could the injury have been prevented? Was the binding set to release properly? Did it release as it was supposed to? Their research findings exposed a variety of scenarios. For example, some bindings were designed so that the center of rotation was inappropriately placed, preventing the binding from releasing in certain situations; other bindings were incompatible with
occur,” and both his graduate and doctoral theses focused on ski injuries. In the Sugarbush study trio, Shealy directed the statistical analysis, Johnson presided over the orthopedic clinic, and Ettlinger collected data from both the injured and a control group. They sought information like boot height, skier foot length, boot-to-binding friction, ski length and dimension, binding release test results, and environmental conditions. All this information was used to draw conclusions on the cause of the injury—and on how it might have been prevented. In Shealy’s words, “It was only by the use of the Sugarbush study that both the medical and mechanical aspects of the injury equipment could be observed simultaneously.”
Ettlinger and Johnson analyze a ski binding. the boot toe piece, forcing the boot and binding to jam together and prevent release. Findings like these drove Johnson, Ettlinger, and Shealy to collaborate with several other entities (including the National Ski Areas Association and Skiing magazine) to create a set of national standard ski shop practices as well as a ski shop standards course. (This “Ski and Snowboard Mechanics Workshop,” originally run by ski industry impresario Jerry Simon, was taken over by Ettlinger in
“"The evolution of changes and upgrades to binding safety has been coming from here— from Carl and Dr. Johnson and Shealy,”" says Brook Weston, owner of Mountainside Ski Service in Warren. 1990 and subsequently sold to SnowSports Industries America in 2015.) First released in the early 1970s, these standards contained instructions for conducting release checks on skis and boots; since the early 1990s, it has included the tuning of snowboards. Not only did the standard shop practices teach ski shop technicians how to inspect equipment to prevent injuries, the standards also began to influence the ski and binding manufacturers to make improvements in their designs. “Learning by doing was key,” recalls Ettlinger. “Everyone in the workshop was able to tighten the screws”—literally—“and see what it feels like to apply the necessary, but not excessive, torque to the binding.” The workshops were collaborative. Shop owners and technicians merged with binding manufacturers in an environment of shared learning.
“The evolution of changes and upgrades to binding safety has been coming from here— from Carl and Dr. Johnson and Shealy,” says Brook Weston, owner of Mountainside Ski Service in Warren. One significant change to emerge from conclusions drawn from the Sugarbush study was the evolution of low-friction materials in binding systems, important for a consistent release of boot from binding. Weston sends his binding mechanics to Ettlinger’s workshop each year, and refers to the Alpine Binding Installation and Inspection booklet as his bible. Countries that follow standard shop practices—including the United States, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland—have seen a significant decrease in lower leg injuries since the 1970s. And as Johnson’s team observed in a 2009 paper, “countries that do not adhere to ISO/ASTM standards have a two- to five-fold higher risk for tibia fractures than those observed in the US.” For his work on writing ASTM standards for ski binding test devices, adjustment of alpine binding systems, and shop practices, among others, Ettlinger was presented with ASTM’s Award of Merit in 2011. Some of the conclusions reached by Johnson and his colleagues addressed proper fitting of equipment: “Poor boot fit is a major factor leading to lower leg fracture and sprains, especially in children,” and, “Young children need the best possible equipment available.” Reading this forced me to recall the day back in 2005 when my four-year-old daughter broke her leg while skiing on Crackerjack at Mt. Ellen. How much attention had I given to her equipment fit and inspection that year—or, more truthfully, had I even had it inspected? As boot-binding compatibility and binding 2016/17 39
release systems improved, Johnson, Shealy, and Ettlinger saw the risk of lower leg injury drop by half every six years for the first seventeen years of the study. “Early on, our goal was to prove how to get rid of the tibia fracture, the skier’s injury. We worked to show how appropriate modification of the equipment would allow it to release when it needed to,” recalls Johnson. The team concluded in a 2000 paper that there was “little doubt that the major factor in improvements [was] better designed and functioning ski boot binding systems.” However, as the rate of lower leg injury began to plateau, a different injury began to emerge. Johnson recalls seeing “alarming increases in rates of severe knee sprains.” The team conducted many studies where they attempted to link binding settings to ACL injuries, but overall concluded that there was no link. “Releasable bindings for Alpine skiing have helped to reduce the risk of many types of skiing-related lower leg injuries but have not been very effective in reducing the risk of injury to the ACL of the knee,” Johnson, Ettlinger, and Shealy wrote in the journal Sports Health in 2009. But the binding improvements seemed to have left the door open for a different type of injury. So Johnson and his colleagues continued researching the problem. In the winter of 1992–93, at Sugarbush alone, Johnson and his colleagues recorded 128 ACL injuries. ACL sprains and tears, which had been creeping up each year since the late 1970s, had reached epidemic proportions. When asked how the team made headway on the ACL injury, Johnson remembers, “Carl went berserk and pestered people to death.” He refers, admiringly, to the information Ettlinger was able to uncover that allowed the team to study the injury. Ettlinger went out and conducted interviews with people who had injured their ACLs or had seen people injure them, and obtained videotapes of injuries from both ski races and relaxed family ski outings. The team analyzed the injuries Johnson was seeing in the clinic, as well as the data leading up to the injury, and made some conclusions. “We recognized two mechanisms of ACL injury: the phantom foot, and the boot induced,” recalls Johnson. The phantom foot injury can be described as the tail of the ski (the “phantom foot”) causing an ACL tear when a skier falls in 40 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
a backseat position with the inside edge of the downhill ski engaged. The boot-induced injury is caused when a skier lands a jump on the tails of his skis, with knees locked and legs straight, thus causing the boot to hit the calf muscle and drive the shin forward, tearing the ACL. That following season, Ettlinger’s team introduced an “ACL Awareness Training” program for ski patrol and ski school staff at twenty participating ski areas. The program involved instructing participants in “avoiding high-risk behavior,” “recognizing potentially dangerous situations,” and “responding quickly and effectively whenever these conditions are encountered.” Through instruction and video analysis, the participants were coached to develop a personal strategy for responding to the
Over the course of the three-year study, a total of 179 serious knee sprains were evaluated. ACL injuries declined by 62 percent in the study group; there was no decline in the control group. various scenarios for potential ACL injury. Some key components of the training to avoid injury included: don’t straighten your legs when you fall; don’t try to get up until you’ve stopped sliding; when you’re down, stay down; and try not to land on your hand. Another twenty-two ski areas were assembled to form a control group. Over the course of the three-year study, a total of 179 serious knee sprains were evaluated. ACL injuries declined by 62 percent in the study group; there was no decline in the control group. • Bob Johnson and his colleagues have spent over half their lives studying skiing injuries, shop practices, tibial plateau fractures, and ACL sprains; in recent years they’ve started examining riding injuries and helmet usage as well. The Sugarbush study, which they began in 1971, is still going strong. This past spring, friends and colleagues gathered at Sugarbush’s Gate House Lodge to honor Johnson for the work he has contributed to
the industry. Several hundred people filled the room. Win Smith, president of Sugarbush, thanked Johnson for the remarkable contribution he has made to the sport. Parker Riehle, president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association, presented to Johnson, on behalf of the National Ski Areas Association, an Impact Award, for his “substantial contribution to NSAA and the ski industry.” Jake Shealy and Carl Ettlinger gave a presentation identifying the highlights of their team’s research over the years: their study has spanned more than eight million skier visits and almost 30,000 injuries, and they estimated that the Sugarbush study, by leading to specific steps to avoid injury, has saved American skiers tens of billions of dollars in medical expenses—not to mention saving them from the pain and inconvenience of an injury. Perhaps most telling of all were the personal tributes from Johnson’s longtime colleagues on the clinic staff. Bobby Foster spoke first, poking fun at himself for having been hired “only because the attractive woman in the bar who was offered the job didn’t show up.” He then went on to tell of his default responsibility of informing Johnson of staff antics “the mountain” may have been concerned with, such as a bikini-clad medical student sunbathing on a gurney outside the clinic. Other staff members followed Foster, laughing as they told stories about working with Johnson, who has characterized his career as “a hobby that went out of control.” It wasn’t so much what Johnson’s colleagues said, but more the emotions they struggled to keep in check when they spoke. It was clear to the crowd in the room that Johnson’s work has benefited not just the thousands of patients he has treated through the years, but also the committed team that has dutifully surrounded him for decades. To have made an impact on an industry to the extent that Johnson and his colleagues have influenced skiing is remarkable; to have done it in a manner that is compassionate and fun is of another level entirely. Candice White has written for publications that include Vermont Life, Mothering online, and Seven Days Vermont. She has worked at Sugarbush since 2008.
Naturally Epic Photo credit: ÂŠBrian Mohr/EmberPhoto
Margo Wade and her son Ross ride Fayston’s Revolution trail. The Mad River Riders and other stakeholders are spurring a mountain biking revolution in the Valley.
By Kelly Ault
I eagerly pedaled my mountain bike under the hardwood canopy of the Green Mountain National Forest at the Blueberry Lake trail network in Warren. This cloverleaf-shaped network was one of the
more refreshing places to be on a steamy Memorial Day. My friend and I were following a colorful trio of twelve-year-old boys up the switchbacks of the Lenord’s Loop trail. The five of us weren’t alone in starting the holiday on trails and ending with a dip in the adjacent pristine lake. The diversity of other riders that day—from a twoyear-old child balancing a Strider bike along the Tootsie Roll trail to a retired professional downhill racer flowing through Suki’s Alley—clearly illustrated the accessibility of these woods to a wide variety of ages and abilities.
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The new trails at Blueberry Lake have inspired a whole new generation of riders in the Valley. I marveled at the brilliantly built trail network. By appearance, the smooth berms and wide corridors gave off an impression of easy riding; however, the undulating trails were deceptively arduous. Trailside wildflowers, including jack-in-the-pulpit and red trillium, provided me a welcome distraction from the taxing climbs. Observing the crumbling rock wall boundaries of a former farm pasture turned my thoughts to the land’s human history. I noticed natural features that had thoughtfully been turned into trailside amenities, such as a rock “bench.” My sightseeing ended when the trail dipped into a descent. I happily followed the boys as they pumped berms and sprang from trailside boulders. •
The Mad River Riders, a thirty-year-old recreation organization that manages more than forty-five miles of multi-use trails for biking, hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing in the Valley, stepped forward to work with the Forest Service on leading many aspects of the project. “When an organization can provide a unified voice to the Forest Service, we are able to be more effective and efficient at addressing their needs,” Knox said. The Mad River Riders are, she continued, “a phenomenal partner . . . in seeking funds, designing new trails, completing 44 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Knox described a process that began well before the designation of a trail system for the parcel in 2011. “Public feedback had highlighted a lack of beginner and intermediate trails in the Mad River Valley, and it was a goal from the start to help fill that void,” she said. Another goal was to maintain the ecological integrity of the area; to that end, the Forest Service and the Mad River Riders brought in the professional trail-building legends Hardy Avery of Sustainable Trailworks and Brooke Scatchard of Sinuosity. Avery’s and Scatchard’s reputations for trail design across Vermont have made them household names. Both apply guidelines from the International Mountain Bike Association, a national advocacy, education, access, and trail-building organization, such as building contour trails to minimize tread erosion and avoiding the fall line or flat areas to ensure proper water drainage. These standards not only ensure sustainability, but they also make the trail ridable for beginner and intermediate riders while still enjoyable for advanced riders. This “has kept people coming back,” said Knox. “It is a small trail network, but people are willing to travel here to introduce new riders [to the sport] or to enjoy a change of pace from the steep, technically difficult trails that exist in many areas of Vermont.” These new trails have inspired a whole new generation of riders in the Valley. “I can’t count the number of young or new riders I meet who talk about learning to ride at Blueberry Lake,” Knox said. • The iconic Lareau Farm sprawls along Route 100, marked by cultivated fields on the Mad River and a smattering of historic buildings including a barn, farmhouse inn, outdoor shelter, and the famous American Flatbread restaurant. Beyond cords of firewood stacked at the edge of the forest, a mounted bike wheel marks a trailhead, hinting at the unusual nature of this working farm. The trailhead is the access point to the Revolution trail, a multi-use corridor built in 2012 and 2013 through a model partnership between American Flatbread, the Featherbed Inn, the Dana Forest Farm, and the Mad River Riders. The project fulfilled a multidimensional vision by adding
an intermediate-level trail to the mostly expert-level trail network in the Valley. The new trails also link a business located at the bottom of the Valley to isolated trails on state land situated high on the hillside. Clay Westbrook, the president of American Flatbread, said the working farm was a natural partner. Part of their business approach “is to attract people to the farm by offering recreation or experiential visits.” Hosting a family-friendly trailhead was one way to do that. Although it’s too early to measure the financial impact on the business, Westbrook said that early indications point to increased inn reservations and diners. “The positive benefits certainly outweigh any possible concerns.” It is clear that the longtime owners of the Lareau Farm and founders of American Flatbread, George Schenk and his wife (also named George), are involved for reasons that go well beyond expanding their own patron base. Westbrook reflected the Schenks’ community philosophy in explaining that a vibrant trail network has untapped potential for leveraging economic vitality across the Valley. “Weddings and skiing are great for the economy, but we have to diversify” the reasons people visit, he said. He pointed out the opportunity to attract new community members who have the flexibility to work from home or are looking for places to which they can relocate their business. “There is a whole generation that is influenced by recreational amenities . . . in deciding where they want to live and raise a family.” • Early in May, I met up with John Atkinson, executive director of the Mad River Riders JA
The popular trail network at Blueberry Lake didn’t happen overnight, and it took the proverbial village. Holly Knox, the trails and recreation coordinator for the Green Mountain National Forest, explained that the project would not have happened without local, town, and regional support. The Forest Service conducted field trips with local officials and interested members of the public, but “without a partner that was willing to adopt the trail system . . . we likely would have walked away,” she admitted.
maintenance, and resolving local issues.”
Brooke Scatchard excavating a new trail
trails, particularly on public land,” he said. The Mad River Riders successfully worked with the state on reinstating access to mountain biking in Phen Basin. (Today, one of the expert-level trails in the basin, Chain Gang, is a rider favorite, and major reroutes to improve the trail were started in 2015.)
Echoing Knox’s point about the dearth of trails for beginners and intermediates, Atkinson told me that if you wound back the clock a few years, you’d find that nearly all the trails in the Valley had a reputation as “hard to find, follow, and ride.” Landowners were drawn to the community approach of opening up more types of terrain to more types of riders. Atkinson described how the popular concept attracted enough donations and in-kind contributions, including volunteer labor and equipment, to expeditiously build the trail. Today, Lareau Farm’s Revolution is one of the most popular trails in the Valley for bikers and walkers, second only to Blueberry Lake.
The next big step came in 2006, when the Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) received official recognition by the state of Vermont as “trail stewards,” which meant that the statewide organization and its regional chapters could be potential partners with public land managers in the building and maintaining of local trails. This included trail permissions for the Mad River Riders, as an association chapter, making mountain biking a designated recreational use on an existing network within the Howe Block of Camel’s Hump, in addition to the trails in Phen Basin.
Near the top of the trail, we stopped at a junction and Atkinson pointed out a rough path cut through thick ferns. The positive response to the Revolution trail had reenergized conversations with private landowners and spurred an improved trailplanning process with public land managers. I was looking at the early construction phase of two new trails, aptly named Evolution and Evolution Phase II to symbolize progression on many levels. The Evolution trails will provide a key link between Revolution and other popular intermediate and expert trails in Camel’s Hump State Forest, such as Enchanted Forest and Cyclone, eliminating an unpopular climb up Dana Hill Road. • The relationships between mountain bikers and public land managers haven’t always been so strong. According to Atkinson, 1999 marked a turning point for trail access. The catalyst was trail closings in Phen Basin, part of Camel’s Hump State Park, which shut down access to trails that mountain bikers had been using without permission. Atkinson described the situation as a “wakeup call that trails could be lost if we weren’t involved.” Although it had always been a goal to gain official access to protected lands, “it was Phen Basin that started the process of how we propose to build and maintain
“We had spent years building and maintaining trails on state lands . . . and could prove we had the knowledge, community, and the capacity to be legitimate,” Atkinson explained. “We could point to these official permissions on public land, which made talking to other public land managers—as well as private landowners—about projects much easier.” Jason Nerenberg, the Essex District stewardship forester for the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, pointed to the cooperative relationship between his agency and mountain bikers as one that has ended up benefiting the landscape. “Mountain bikers know the trails better than we do and are our eyes and ears,” he said. “By calling attention to something, more work gets done. And they have energy to do a lot of maintenance.” Many considerations go into building and maintaining trails, but Nerenberg described a process in which everyone puts their heads together to figure out the best approach. The state’s interdisciplinary district stewardship teams make sure that projects avoid sensitive areas, such as those that are prone to erosion, or home to endangered species or unique habitat features. The state trail crews work with the Mad River Riders and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps in aspects of design and construction. “If we can address our primary [ecological
(and Sugarbush photographer and snow reporter), in the American Flatbread parking lot. As we biked up the Revolution trail, he acknowledged that the trail was intentionally named for the marked effect the project had in expanding trail access for various abilities, as well as in forging model partnerships.
VYCC is an important partner in the process of trail building. and regulatory] concerns, while at the same time making a trail more ridable and fun by adding a [natural] feature here or there, we are hitting it all,” Nerenberg said. Nerenberg is optimistic about another generation of trail development in Phen Basin that could connect to other parts of the Valley’s network. The long-range management plan for Camel’s Hump State Park is pending approval. “The Mad River Riders have an extensive vision for trails” in the park, Nerenberg said. “If they are designed in the right place with consideration for other values”—like water quality and wildlife—“we apply for recreation grants . . . and start building.” • Adam Greshin, the co-owner of Sugarbush Resort and a Vermont state representative, told me that when he and his wife purchased land in Warren that included trails by Eurich Pond, one of the first calls he received was from a group of mountain bikers. They were curious, he said, about “our intentions for allowing mountain biking . . . which we fully supported.” Over the last eleven years, Greshin has witnessed firsthand how much the mountain bike scene has evolved. He cited a key trend that he feels bodes well for the Valley’s future: an embracing of public access and trail building on private land. “Vermont has a long history of people using private property for recreation purposes,” he told me, but “landowners across the state are increasingly posting their land, essentially taking it out of public use.” In the Valley, though, he has seen a “slow but noticeable reversal in this trend,” due to a “demonstration by recreation users” that they can responsibly ride on private land “as well as the general sense that recreation 2016/17 45
is important to the community and the state.”
The Vermont Mountain Biking Festival Comes to Sugarbush
VMBA’s vision behind the event is to bring riders together while showcasing model mountain biking trails and work by mountain biking chapters around the state. Matt Klein, president of the Mad River Riders, sees the festival as a great way to let more riders know about the Mad River Valley’s growing trail system. Riders got a chance to try out the “wider, flow trails that more people can ride comfortably, as well as the surrounding expert-level trails on more rugged terrain.”
Land conservation organizations are also playing a role in securing recreational access to trails. After longtime landowner Skip Tenney donated his 280-acre hill farm in Fayston, the Vermont Land Trust brought in a new farmer to steward the revival of agricultural activity and the protection of productive forestland and ecological resources. As part of the conservation package of the land, the trust engaged several partners, such as the Catamount Trail Association, the Mad River Path Association, and the Mad River Riders, to enhance vital links in the local recreational trail network, including by rerouting Techie—a popular expert-level trail—and the Catamount Trail to bettersuited locations, as well as by identifying a future site for a small parking lot on Marble Hill Road, which can be used to access the network.
But more importantly, he sees the festival as a chance for mountain bikers to get together to have fun. “We wanted people to learn the trails and appreciate the natural beauty of this place that we call our backyard and enjoy every day,” he said. Adam Greshin, the co-owner of Sugarbush, agreed that the festival was a “way to broadcast to the riding community, that the Mad River Valley is a point on the map that they should consider. Now that we have more variety to offer in our trail system, we hope riders see this as a unique destination that deserves their attention.” (The 2017 VMBA festival is planned for July 21–23 at Mt. Ellen.)
“When we consider an opportunity to conserve a working farm or forest, we strive to balance many objectives which are important to Vermonters, including wildlife habitat and water-quality protection, local food production, sustainable forestry, and, certainly, recreational access to land,” said Liza Walker, the Mad River Valley director for the Vermont Land Trust. “The presence of local partners, such as the Mad River Path Association and the Mad River Riders—who can design, build, and manage the trails and respond to the needs of the landowners—is absolutely essential to the success of this effort.”
This past July, the Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) brought its annual festival to Sugarbush. True to form, the festival was an amalgamation of activities, from vendor bike demos, to clinics, groupled rides, downhill mountain biking, activities for kids, food, and live music.
Matt Klein at the VMBA festival 46 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Another conservation project in 2016 has created excitement among trail users. The Trust for Public Land purchased 2,085 acres in Duxbury and is transferring it to the state of Vermont as an addition to Camel’s Hump State Park. The property—known as the Dowsville Headwaters, a tributary of the Mad River—includes areas that have long been frequented by mountain bikers and other recreationists. Plans are under way to secure new access to these trails as part of the state park from Dowsville Road, Ward Hill Road, and Sharpshooter Road. The multi-tier partnerships—between nonprofit organizations, the Forest Service, and the towns of Fayston, Warren, Waitsfield, Moretown, and Duxbury, as
well as other key entities—drive the vision, negotiations, and logistics behind these trail networks. However, financing the purchase, development, and maintenance is also critical to success. Foundations are key, such as the Winthrop H. Smith Family Foundation, which supported the projects at Blueberry Lake and in Dowsville. Other funding sources from the Forest Service, Recreational Trail Program grants, the Mad River Valley Recreation District, the Mad River Valley Rotary, and private donations have paid for everything from professional trail builders and staff time to signage and free programs for kids and women riders. As Atkinson put it, “It’s one thing to build a trail network, but it’s another thing to take care of it over time. We need to think about the long-term capacity and funding needs of the system.” • Matt Klein, president of the Mad River Riders, sees the stars aligning for the next decade of multi-use trail development in the Valley and across the state. He described a short-term focus on building “connector” trails. “We plan to link the Blueberry Lake trails to Warren Village and then the rest of the Valley. We want the Revolution and Evolution trails to lead riders all the way up to Sugarbush.” Although the trails at Sugarbush are mostly gravity oriented, requiring downhill bikes and a trail pass, popular intermediate cross-country trails encircle the resort, allowing riders to utilize resort amenities. According to Klein, longer trail options could attract tourists to stay and eat in the Valley, thereby benefiting the economy. Additionally, more options make the area “a place for locals to get into the sport or work on bike-handling skills on any given day,” boosting community health. “It’s already noticeable this year how many more bikes you see on cars and how many kids you see on bikes.” These ambitions are not so far-fetched. Klein pointed to the Mad River Riders’ track record in doubling trail miles between 2006 and 2016, and their relationships with more than three dozen landowners and land managers, connections that are based on trust and mutual respect. Membership in the Mad River Riders encompasses
more than 200 bikers and hikers, and collaboration with local trail stewards and other associations is leading to creative ideas for working together to best serve the community. Project locations already abut trail networks in neighboring communities, which Klein believes will lead to increased cohesiveness with VMBA chapters and networks in Waterbury, Duxbury, Northfield, Hinesburg, Huntington, and Stowe. Like the Mad River Riders, other VMBA chapters, including the Stowe Mountain Bike Club and the Waterbury Area Trails Alliance, are forging ahead with numerous trail projects, with public and private landowner relationships and sustainability trail design at the core. Back at the intersection of the Evolution trail, Atkinson pivoted his bike to face back down Revolution as he exuded enthusiasm for what he sees as abounding opportunity. “We are helping lead the way in terms of access to the four main types of land in Vermont— national forest, state forest, town forest, and private land. We’ve developed a successful relationship with all these landowners and land managers.” Atkinson’s rationale for why trails are good for the community is convincing: “They are a sustainable public resource that is free, always open, highquality, and accessible for all abilities, offering health, educational, and economic benefits to the community.” Atkinson and I began our descent, training our eyes ahead on the unfolding switchbacks and roller coaster–like undulations. We found balance points over the pedals as we navigated sturdy bridges and shallow stream crossings. Exiting the forest, we rolled past the staked bike wheel to stop in the American Flatbread parking lot, grins on our faces. One thing was clear: there is plenty of momentum for the future of mountain biking both in the Valley and across Vermont. Kelly Ault is the public engagement director of the Vermont Early Childhood Alliance and a freelance writer. She and her husband took their twelve-year-old sons riding across the country last summer, documenting their adventures on www.thedirtpack.bike. At the 2016 USA Cycling National Championships, she placed third in the cross-country event for the category 1 45–49 age group and second in the enduro event for the 40–49 age group. She lives in Middlesex, Vermont.
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5/27/16 1:19 PM 2016/17 47
e h t e of
s i R The
How creativity and community came to define the terrain parks at Sugarbush
By John Bleh
hen I was in college at the University of Vermont (Class of 2011), most of the people I knew skied at Stowe; Sugarbush wasn’t really on my radar screen. You see, terrain park riders—the
keystone species in the college ski and ride environment—had a huge influence on other college kids. Even though I wasn’t much of a park guy (barely landing 360s was about as far as I went), I tended to go where the masses went. In my college days, that wasn’t Sugarbush.
Diamond Dog development team member Hazel Harris in Riemergasse Park
In the years following my graduation, Sugarbush PARKS emerged from the woodwork, drawing a large share of the Vermont college market. TransWorld Snowboarding magazine named it a Top 5 East Coast Park in 2012, knocking out the larger and better resourced Killington. Why? What had changed? To understand, here’s a little historical context. When freestyle started getting big in the 1990s, there weren’t a lot of eastern resorts on the bandwagon. But Sugarbush had Gondolier (at Lincoln Peak), one of the first dedicated freestyle terrain parks. Big local names like Seth Miller, Seth Neary, and Jesse and Lucas Huffman started flocking to the resort. The combination of the dedicated freestyle park, Sugarbush’s intense, big-mountain terrain, and the exploits of local pros helped put Sugarbush at the forefront of the freestyle scene. But after the American Skiing Company purchased the resort in the mid-’90s, they hired an outside group to build a snowboardonly terrain park on Snowball (also at Lincoln Peak). Over the next few years—due mainly to lack of care and promotion—the freestyle scene at the mountain declined. Things started turning around a few years after Win Smith and Summit Ventures purchased the resort. The new owners hired Tony Chiuchiolo as manager of the resort’s terrain parks, someone who had grown up shredding the Sugarbush park terrain and had a good idea of what freestyle skiers and riders were looking for. Crucially, he was also willing to listen to their feedback, and he worked to provide the types of features and atmosphere they wanted, not what he thought they wanted. Under his leadership Sugarbush became known for having unique features and approaching park layouts in an unusual way. And it was all being done in-house. Chiuchiolo helped to create a sense of
Things have changed. These days, the Sugarbush terrain parks are alive with college kids, as well as families escorting their kids down the trail. Cheers echo from the chairlift as skiers and riders perform cool tricks, flocks of riders approach sets of features in unison, and kids hang out on the bleachers at the base of the trail, to the steady beat of music.
Former PARKS manager Tony Chiuchiolo (center) and two of his staff dressed up for a PARKS event community for the riders, and focused particularly on attracting college students, leading Sugarbush’s college marketing efforts and traveling to college events to let students know about the mountain. “I figured out which skiers and riders were the leaders at these schools and recruited them to help get people to us,” Chiuchiolo told me last spring. “It all came down to providing these kids with a place to come together.” He also managed to bring the UVM Snowboard Team over to Sugarbush from Stowe, and other college students followed. Chiuchiolo built a dedicated park posse around him—skiers and riders who were involved in the park culture, knew what he had done, and would know how to continue it even after he was gone. (He left Sugarbush in 2014, but returned in 2016 as events manager.) Today, Sugarbush PARKS is managed by Trevor Borrelli, one of the members of Chiuchiolo’s old core group. Borrelli, who lives in the Valley with his wife and their two dogs, didn’t grow up skiing or riding, though he did play competitive ice hockey and race BMX bikes. When he eventually tried snowboarding, he fell in love with the freedom and self-expression the sport allowed. As Sugarbush started to reemerge on the terrain park map, he made the move from the town of Stowe to the Mad River Valley. Borrelli has been with Sugarbush PARKS for seven years, and 2016–17 will be his second year as manager. His first year
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wasn’t easy: in one of its worst snowfall seasons, Sugarbush wasn’t able to open the Riemergasse Park (now the main terrain park area) until January. (While January was late for Sugarbush, most parks in the East opened later, and with fewer features.) Even after the opening, continuous freeze/ thaw cycles made it tough to maintain the terrain and build new features. But the Sugarbush PARKS crew, a group of about fifteen staffers, persevered: both of their Mt. Ellen terrain parks, Riemergasse and Sugar Run, were open almost all year, with smaller parks at Lincoln Peak open in the early and late season. • For Borrelli and his crew, the day starts early. They gather at the “park shack,” a small building at the base of Riemergasse, to boot up and review the terrain park grooming plan. Everyone gets out on the hill to fix any hazards from the prior day before heading to the base lodge for a hearty breakfast. From there the crew is split into shifts raking out features, which they typically do a couple times a day. Each night, Borrelli’s grooming team resurfaces the parks. In the early building stages, workweeks usually hover around 80 to 100 hours. At any one time the parks typically have around sixty features, and Borrelli and his team don’t let things grow stale—about ten new features rotate in during a season. Along with building new features, the crew recycles outdated rails and boxes, chopping them up, reconfiguring them into another creation, or scrapping them for raw materials. This all happens at the base of Riemergasse,
A lot of the inspiration at Riemergasse comes from urban settings. One of the park’s staples is its plaza-style sets, with features combined to emulate cityscapes. The head of the Parks crew told me that whenever he’s in a city, he can’t turn his brain off: he’s constantly looking around, finding ideas in the architecture. in what the Sugarbush PARKS crew refers to as the “chop shop”: their in-house welding bay, fully outfitted with an inventory of steel, plywood, and tools. The idea stage is first, where they think through their current fleet of features and determine what’s missing or where industry trends are moving. Ideas then move to paper and the CAD program Google SketchUp to determine how much of each material will be required, which angles to cut, and so forth. Rich Picarelli, another core crew member and the lead fabricator (with a degree in product design/ development and technology studies from Keene State), then meticulously levels and squares each piece during the welding process. Picarelli has the second-longest tenure on staff, following Borrelli, and came to Sugarbush from Granite Gorge in New Hampshire. It was there, during college, that he started working at terrain parks and mastering his fabrication skills. • The first time I saw Riemergasse, I thought how similar it felt to a skate park. It’s true—a lot of the inspiration at Sugarbush comes from urban settings. One of the park’s staples is its plaza-style sets, with features combined to emulate cityscapes. Borrelli jeb wallace-brodeur
PARKS features plaza-style sets designed to emulate cityscapes. 50 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
told me that whenever he’s in a city, he can’t turn his brain off: he’s constantly looking around, finding ideas in the architecture. “There’s a lot you can pull out of urban settings,” he said. “Skateboarders take advantage of what city architecture has to offer—why can’t we do the same?” Typically he’ll take a photo of an object, maybe a city railing or a staircase, and return to the crew and SketchUp to see if it’s possible to insert that rail, staircase, or other feature into the park. The inspiration has led to some crazy features, like the Catfish Rail, a forty-two-foot-long expanse of metal, or Wallenburg, a pyramid-shaped hit inspired by a feature in a Chicago park. “Planning, planning, and planning,” Borrelli said. “I can’t stress enough that having a plan is the most important part of the job. We have a lot of different moving parts, and planning saves time and money, and helps keep everyone safe.” For example, when building most new features, the crew creates a list of materials that documents everything the piece could entail, right down to the nuts and bolts. For each new feature, the crew also takes into account the easiest form of promotion: video. Features and lines are set with consideration for how a friend might film you. Thanks to that kind of planning, the park has an almost endless stream of video content coming out of it, both from sponsored park riders and the public, giving exposure to the skiers and riders who want it. One of the most popular edits is the Bush League video series, which features a mashup of park footage with different riders. These videos stay fresh because you can approach a run through the park hundreds of different ways, thanks to the numerous rails, boxes, and other features scattered across the trail. While the park also has some big jumps, there’s not one specific linear run that most people take, unlike in
The SideSurfers Banked Slalom event a typical terrain park. This layout promotes conversations between riders on what type of line to take, as enthusiasts argue over the best order of operations. Phototographs are another source of promotion. A lot of good photography comes out of the park, and is featured on Facebook, Instagram, and on freestyle-oriented websites like Newschoolers.com. Ashley Rosemeyer serves as the resident park photographer, in addition to her photography work at a Burlington studio and for Too Hard, an all-female snowboard squad. • Beyond the DIY working style of the park crew, “what really separates our park from others is the community,” Borrelli told me, echoing Chiuchiolo. “Having a group of guys and girls passionate about being here is key, but that doesn’t mean it’s an exclusive club. It’s just as important to make first-timers to the park feel welcome.” That’s not always the attitude when it comes to terrain parks. Moving the park to the Riemergasse trail at Mt. Ellen a few years ago was integral to the park’s community feel. The Sunny Double, one of Sugarbush’s only remaining original chairs (the Village Double is the other), runs right up the trail, providing an opportunity for spectating, cheering, filming, and good-natured ribbing. Riemergasse and the beginner-oriented Sugar Run Park on the adjacent trail make up their own
neighborhood at Mt. Ellen. Park riders can hang out all day and lap features without having to leave the Sunny Double area. Last spring, I spent the day hanging around the park during the SideSurfers Banked Slalom competition, a snowboard-only event complete with race gates, banked turns, and fun jumps. About two minutes into my visit, while standing near the finish line, I began to sense what Borrelli was talking about. Conversations between riders on the lift and on the ground were constant: chatter about the course, call-outs to each other, and enthusiastic cheers for riders as they competed. Most surprising to me was the age range of the competitors—not just teens and millennials, but riders as young as six and as old as fifty. Sugarbush parks do not have the biggest jumps, the largest budget, or the greatest expanse of terrain. What they do have is something a lot of other parks lack: heart and creativity. An extremely loyal and passionate crew provides the foundation for a landscape where almost any feature is possible, given the imagination. It took years to pull this together, but creating a welcoming environment, amid a constantly evolving landscape, has brought many skiers and riders to Sugarbush, both on the park terrain and across the resort. This time, thanks to the park crew’s continuous desire to push the envelope, that influx doesn’t seem in any danger of slowing down.
Volkl, K2, elan, Head & Burton
HigH Performance rentals Volkl & rossignol
sPort rentals (standard fleet) Head, Burton, & rossignol
beginnerSPecific equiPment Head & Burton
snowshoe rentalS Located in The Farmhouse at Lincoln Peak
802.583.6504 2016/17 51
Discover Sugarbush! Crossword Puzzle
Across 2. ride down a snowy hill in this 3. dunking place on a hot day 4. kids’ favorite hot winter drink 5. smooth mountain bike corner 8. fresh fallen snow 9. frozen water 10. snow bump 11. bonfire treats 13. large hibernating animal 15. snow sport 17. hiking trail marker Down 1. snow house 2. snow travel footwear 4. snowman’s nose 6. game, set, match 7. fun narrow bike trail 10. large animal with antlers 12. mountain top 14. smoothed snow trail 16. birdies and slices game
I’m usually found on a mountain but I’m not a yeti I’m long and thin but I’m not a hiking trail I help you to go downhill fast but I’m not a set of wheels I get put on your feet but I’m not a pair of socks I help you slide on frozen water but I’m not a pair of ice skates... What I have a chain but I’m not a prisoner I have a frame but I’m not a photo I have wheels but I’m not a car I have a saddle but I’m not a horse I have pedals but I’m not a piano... What
am I? Answers on p. 54
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monday - saturday 9:30 am - 5:30 pm sunday 10 am - 5 pm 10 am -3 pm (summer)
everything from sofas to slinkies 5 out of 4 people shop here! something for everyone
Rt. 100/Mad River Green Waitsfield, Vermont 802-496-6055 vtcollection.com
miska and Lily are Waiting for you
Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center (SHaRC) is a fully-appointed year-round fitness and racquet club. Whether you seek group classes, personal training, tennis, swim instruction, family entertainment, or relaxation, a visit to SHaRC will enhance your Sugarbush experience. Open to members and non-members. MASSAGE & BODYWORKS POOLS & HOT TUBS SPin CLASSES VALLEY ROCK GYM PERSOnAL TRAininG SQUASH & RAQUETBALL GROUP FiTnESS CLASSES YOGA & PiLATES CARDiO & WEiGHT TRAininG TPi–PERSOnAL TRAininG FOR GOLFERS nEW EnGLAnD TEnniS HOLiDAY inSTRUCTiOn
For more information, call 802.583.6700 or visit sugarbush.com
on an environmentally-friendly SEgway
Segway Tours and Electric Bike Rentals & Sales
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There are many activities, events and animals to discover at Sugarbush year-round – can you find them hidden in the letters?
ADVENTURE BEAR BLAZER BOUNCE CAMP CASTLEROCK CLIMB COOKING EASTER FIREWORKS FOURTH OF JULY MAD DASH MINI BEAR MOOSE
MOUNTAIN BIKE MOUNTAIN JAM MOVIE MURPHY OKTOBERFEST PARADE PIZZA POND SKIMMING RAIL SKIATHON STEINS SUGAR BEAR SUGARING TIME TORCHLIGHT
What did the big furry hat say to the warm woolly scarf? “You hang around while I go on ahead.” How did the big mountain know that the little mountain was fibbing? Because it was only a bluff. Crossword Puzzle Answers. Across: 2. sled. 3. pool. 4. cocoa. 5. berm. 8. powder. 9. ice. 10. mogul. 11. smores. 13. bear. 15. skiing. 17. blaze. Down: 1. igloo. 2. snowshoe. 4. carrot. 6. tennis. 7. singletrack. 10. moose. 12. summit. 14. groomer. 16. golf. What am I? Answers: Skis, Bike
Q W Z S T S W E E R M Y T L G K C X E F D O C C K S T M K A A O H N S L U R C M Y K F O K I I E D I R E I P I N U R N O M T A O E J A D I C B M B M R T I A U O G O Z K S I A T H N M N B R N U D E O S R B U I K S V L H I S H I E A Z M B B E P E P N H L I O K O S C V A F G C I S M J R C G T G E S M X N D Q S T D U S N I S F Q D H A D V Z C A M P V X N P S N T K E A T C N I F O U R T H O F J U L Y G R S T C O I K N U S V C F Y X Z M O E N O T U P M C V Y J M I N I B E A R D M I W K C O R E L T S A C O G L E C A K Y R E U A N E T R L A P M G I Q C R U A B A R Q B X R F A W J S K Q O Y A M F U S G I D E A S T E R R J J G F P H D H I P U F M Z A Z Z I P L P P R Q S L N I O K S D K W L P K O F A H X N F I L J O B N X A Q C L R B X S X J B F A W O R K N Y P L E A R S D B X Z S O R E Z A L B D P J
Thank you to Sugarbush Resort for providing us with a world-class training venue!
GREEN MOUNTAIN VALLEY SCHOOL Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center (SHaRC) offers an array of
winter activities for kids of all ages.
swimming pool & hot tub rock climbing tennis, squash & racquetball kidsâ€™ adventure Zone bungee tRampoline gaga ball bounCe HouSe baSketball
Fostering a life-long love of learning, sport, and adventure Alpine and Nordic Ski Academy for grades 7-12
www.gmvs.org 802.496.2150 sugarbush.com
Adventure CAmps Mini Adventure (ages 3-5)
theMed SuMMer CAMpS (ages 6-17) Adventure Mountain Bike Adventure Rock Climbing Water Exploration Outdoor Skills Farm-To-Plate Junior Tennis Junior Golf
802.583.6700 | sugarbush.com 2016/17 55
DINING DIRECTORY RESTAURANT
275 Main at the Pitcher Inn Elegant farm-to-table cuisine and fine wine in a sophisticated setting. $$$$ 802.496.6350 “This may be Vermont’s best restaurant,” writes the New York Times. pitcherinn.com American Flatbread Farm-to-table pizza baked in a primitive wood-fired earthen oven. $$ 802.496.8856 americanflatbread.com Big Picture Café & Theater The Valley’s unofficial cultural center and café, open seven days $$ 802.496.8994 a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. bigpicturetheater.info The Blue Stone A rustic pizza shop and tavern in the heart of Vermont. Featuring $$ 802.496.3499 Old World hand-tossed pizza with a New World local twist. bluestonevermont.com The Butchery Full-service butcher shop and fish market featuring local meats $$$ 802.496.FISH and Wood Mountain Fish. thebridgestreetbutchery.com Castlerock Pub Classic Vermont-influenced pub menu with outstanding craft $$ 802.583.6594 beverages. Open winter and summer when Super Bravo spins. sugarbush.com Chez Henri
Parisian bistrot in historic Sugarbush Village since 1964. Winter only.
China Fun Standard Chinese; takeout only. $ 802.496.7889 Common Man Contemporary American cuisine prepared by chef-owner Adam $$$ 802.583.2800 Longworth. Full bar, diverse wine list, and warm hospitality. commonmanrestaurant.com East Warren The Valley’s local food co-op, providing local, organic, and specialty $$ 802.496.6758 Community Market items from cheese and eggs to beer and bakery items. Open daily. eastwarrenmarket.org General Stark’s Pub Full bar and table service for lunch and après in winter; $$ 802.496.3551 Thurs.–Sun. 4–8 p.m. in summer. In the Mad River Glen Basebox. madriverglen.com Hogan’s Pub Seasonal lunch menu, local burgers, well-stocked bar, and $$ 802.583.6723 long Valley views. Summer only. sugarbush.com Home Plate Family-friendly Vermont-style grill with a touch of diner, featuring $$ 802.496.9300 great food and exceptional service. homeplatevt.com Hostel Tevere Full bar with great local draft beers and live music. $ 802.496.9222 hosteltevere.com Local Folk Smokehouse Serving house-made BBQ Cajun burgers and more, plus $$ 802.496.5623 twenty-five local and regional drafts. localfolkvt.com Mad River Barn Pub with burgers, entrées, and local brews; family-friendly dining. $$$ 802.496.3310 Open seven days a week. madriverbarn.com Mad Taco Offering some of the most authentic Mexican fare in Vermont, as well $$ 802.496.3832 as a small selection of fine craft and Mexican beers and tequila. themadtaco.com MINT Vegetarian/vegan cuisine located in historic Waitsfield Village. $$$ 802.496.5514 mintvermont.com Mix Cupcakerie Home-baked enormous cookies, wedding and birthday cakes, $$ 802.496.4944 bars, and pies in Waitsfield’s Village Square. Open daily. mixcupcakerie.com Mutha Stuffers Eat-in or takeout deli serving full line of Boar’s Head products $$ 802.583.4477 and local Vermont beers in historic Sugarbush Village. muthastuffers.com Paradise Deli & Market Grocery store and deli. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner takeout. $ 802.583.2757 Located on the Sugarbush Access Road. Peasant Traditional rustic European food, open Thurs.–Mon. after 5:30 p.m.; $$$ 802.496.6856 reservations recommended. peasantvt.com Pizza Soul Authentic hand-crafted, thin crust, gourmet pizza, calzones, $$ 802.496.6202 and strombolis, in historic Sugarbush Village. pizzasoul.com Reks Year-round family-friendly restaurant with a bar and arcade, $$ 802.583.3232 in historic Sugarbush Village. Skinny Pancake Serving sweet and savory crepes with local sustainable products. $$ 802.583.7444 Located on the first floor of the Farmhouse. skinnypancake.com Sweet Spot Café, ice cream, and spirits. Made-to-order custom cakes. $$ 802.496.9199 Located on Bridge Street. sweetspotvt.com Terra Rossa Ristorante Italian/Mediterranean/American cuisine in a family-friendly, $$$ 802.583.7676 relaxed, and casual atmosphere. terrarossavermont.net Three Mountain Café Breakfast sandwiches, lunch to go, pastries, sweet treats, $ 802.496.5470 espresso, and coffee. threemountaincafe.com Timbers Restaurant World cuisine with a Vermont twist. Slopeside. Breakfast $$$ 802.583.6800 and dinner year-round; lunch during winter holidays. sugarbush.com Tracks at the Pitcher Inn Craft beers, fine wine, and imaginative pub fare. $$$ 802.496.6350 pitcherinn.com Warren Store Sumptuous baked goods, prepared foods, artisanal beer, and plenty $$ 802.496.3864 of wine choices. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and staples. warrenstore.com Zach’s Tavern Farm-fresh local fare featuring creative entrées, sandwiches, $$$ 802.496.2322 at Hyde Away Inn burgers, wings, and salads. hydeawayinn.com Waffle Cabin Belgian waffles with a variety of sweet and savory toppings. $ 802.558.5691 Located in the Sugarbush base areas. $: budget $$: affordable $$$: moderate $$$$: fine $$$$$: luxury 56 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
Come visit us at Lincoln Peak, right across from the Schoolhouse! Also visit our other locations at the Burlington Waterfront, Downtown Montpelier, Hanover NH, and the BTV International Airport!
• Thurs-Sun, 5:00-9:30pm • All Natural Pizza Baked in a Wood-Fired Oven • Farm to table cuisine • Local craft brews on tap • Nightly AprÈs ski bonfire
ph: (802) 496-8856 americanflatbread.com
L a r e a u Fa r m • $85-$135/night, Hearty farmhouse breakfast incl. • Minutes from Sugarbush & Mad River Glen • Stay 3 nights, 4th night free • Families & Pets accommodated
ph: (802) 496-4949 lareaufarminn.com
A llyn’s lodge
The Waitsfield Wine Shoppe offers one of the largest selections of quality wines in Vermont. With over 900 Wine facingS in all price ranges and over 300 Select craft beerS, it is your one stop shoppe for fine wines and beer.
h Established 2006 by Joan Wilson Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 3
WaitSfield Wine Shoppe 4330 Main Street • Waitsfield, Vermont 802-583-9463 (Wine) www.waitsfieldwine.com
ElEgant mid-mountain dining Private dining for groups of 12 or more. Ride the Lincoln Limo cabin cat or take a private guided hike/skin to the lodge located at the top of Super Bravo lift. Winter only. For reservations, please call 802.583.6505 or visit sugarbush.com.
Indulgence is better at Sugarbush Farm-to-table cuisine with fine wines in an atmosphere modeled after a nineteenth-century dairy barn. Vegetarian and gluten-free options available. Open year-round for breakfast and dinner, and lunch during holiday periods. 58 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
A diverse bar food menu with local Neill Farm burgers, creative sandwiches, wings, and an extensive Vermont craft beer menu. Open winter and summer for lunch and après when Super Bravo spins, and dinner on select nights.
Reservations recommended 802.583.6800 sugarbush.com
Built in 1839, this spirited country store combines an eclectic deli and bakery, an award winning wine shop, Vermont artisanal beer and plenty of local color. From penny candy to contemporary clothing and gifts...” With magnificent views of the mountains and the Valley, Hogan’s Pub serves up a variety of salads, sandwiches, and burgers for lunch, and cold beer and cocktails for après. Open May through October. Located at Sugarbush Resort Golf Club
Open 363 1/2 days a year! Located 1 mile south of the Sugarbush Access Road off Route 100.
“Best One Stop Shopping in Vermont” – Yankee Magazine
warrenstore.com 802-496-3864 2016/17 59
LODGING DIRECTORY INN/HOTEL
1824 House Comfortable country inn. Warm breakfasts, hearths, and hospitality. $$$ 802.496.7555 1824house.com Battleground
Two- to four-bedroom condominiums, sleeping four to twelve. Fully equipped.
Beaver Pond Farm Inn
Quintessentially restored, beautiful B&B with hot tub. $$$ Also available as a house rental.
Bridges Family Resort & Tennis Club
Couples or family getaway, one- to three-bedroom condos with tennis, $$$ pools, and fitness classes.
Clay Brook at Sugarbush Luxury slopeside one- to five-bedroom residences $$$$ with year-round outdoor heated pool and hot tubs.
Eagles Resort Freestanding, Swedish-design, two-bedroom homes. $$$ 802.496.5700 eaglesresortvt.com Featherbed Inn
Charming Waitsfield bed and breakfast with fieldstone fireplace, $$–$$$ and home-baked pies on Saturdays.
Hostel Tevere Thirty beds of European hostel–style lodging; shared $ bathrooms and common spaces.
Hyde Away Inn
Family-friendly nine-room inn with casual accomodations. $$ Farm-fresh restaurant and classic local tavern.
Inn at Lareau Farm
Family- and pet-friendly farmhouse with hearty breakfast, minutes $$ from Sugarbush and Mad River Glen.
Inn at Round Barn Farm Luxury country inn, twelve rooms with private baths, $$$$ steam showers, and whirlpools.
Mad River Barn Family-friendly lodging with onsite restaurant, pub, and game room. $$$ 802.496.3310 madriverbarn.com Mad River Inn Relaxed atmosphere, with outdoor hot tub and BYOB lounge $$$ with pool table.
Set in a nineteenth-century farmhouse, a homey B&B with views $$ of the Green Mountains.
Mountain View Inn
Beautiful inn with cozy rooms and delicious breakfasts. $$ Minutes from skiing and town.
Pitcher Inn Relais & Châteaux luxury with eleven well-appointed, $$$$$ unique guest rooms and exquisite dining.
Comfortable and affordable family-friendly inn $$ minutes from the mountain; winter only.
Sugarbush Resort One- to four-bedroom privately owned condos, on or near the mountain. $$$ 800.53.SUGAR Condominiums sugarbush.com Sugarbush Village One- to four-bedroom condos, sleeping one to twelve. Fully equipped. $$ 802.583.3000 Condominiums sugarbushvillagecondos.com Sugar Lodge
One-half mile from Lincoln Peak. Family-friendly, $$ modern hotel rooms with great ski packages.
Closest inn to Lincoln Peak; nine great rooms, creative full $$$ breakfast, and outdoor hot tub.
Tucker Hill Inn
Peaceful country B&B lodging close to Sugarbush. $$$ Fireplace rooms to multi-person suites.
Historic inn within minutes to mountains, centrally located, $$$ walk to shops and dining.
Warren Falls Inn & Hostel The Olsen House, a post-and-beam structure built in 1971, offering $ single beds and private rooms with shared baths and communal kitchen.
Newly renovated (2016), standard efficient rooms decorated with $$ rustic farmhouse–chic décor. Only three miles from Sugarbush.
Weathertop Mountain Inn Eclectic and spacious European-style inn. En-suite guest rooms. Hot tub, game room, and evening dining West Hill House B&B
Award-winning B&B next to Sugarbush, offering comfort, hospitality, $$$ and great breakfasts year-round. Complimentary shuttle.
800.800.3625 weathertopmountaininn.com 802.496.7162 westhillbb.com
White Horse Inn A twenty-six-room B&B at the entrance to Mt. Ellen at Sugarbush ski area. $$
Wilder Farm Inn
Where farm fresh meets fashion forward. Beautiful rooms, $$$ delicious breakfast, and wood-burning fireplaces.
Yellow Farmhouse Inn
King and queen beds, private baths with Jacuzzis, and gas stoves; $$$ on shuttle route.
$: budget $$: affordable $$$: moderate $$$$: fine $$$$$: luxury 60 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
WhiteHorseInn-SugarbushAd_Layout 1 7/22/14 11:23 A
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At the entrance to Sugarbush Mt. Ellen & just 5 minutes from Sugarbush Lincoln Peak & Mad River Glen, our 26-room Inn serves a full breakfast in a homey setting at affordable rates. Serving Vermont beers & wines. Perfect for groups.
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Damon and Sara Gadd, along with Jack Murphy and Lixi Fortna, open Sugarbush Resort. Sugarbush boasts the “greatest vertical rise in the East” thanks to its top-to-bottom gondola. The resort installs a Carlevaro & Savio double chairlift, opening up the legendary Castlerock area. This area was immediately known for its expert ski terrain. That reputation continues today. Walt Elliott opens Glen Ellen Ski Area. Complete With a newly rebuilt access road, a top-to-bottom gondola, with Scotch-themed trail names, Glen Ellen claims a new Valley House chairlift, and varied terrain, Sugarbush “the greatest vertical descent in the East” with its quickly attracts throngs of New York glitterati. Vogue tiered lifts to the 4,083-foot summit of Mt. Ellen. magazine dubs Sugarbush “Mascara Mountain” because
of its glamorous guest list, including actress Kim Novak, the Kennedy clan, musician Skitch Henderson, and fashion designer Oleg Cassini.
Olympic Gold Medalist Stein Eriksen serves as director of the Sugarbush Ski School. Each Sunday afternoon he entertains the Sugarbush faithful with his signature flip on skis. Roy Cohen purchases Sugarbush (in 1977) and Glen Ellen (in 1979). The two areas join under the Sugarbush name. Glen Ellen is renamed Sugarbush North to reflect the union. (In 1995, it is again renamed Mt. Ellen.)
‘83 ‘84 ‘90
Three new chairlifts are installed at Mt. Ellen— including Green Mountain Express, at that time the fastest quad in the world, transporting skiers at 1,100 feet per minute.
Chez Henri, a Parisian-style bistro, opens in what is to become historic Sugarbush Village.
Sugarbush is featured in Warren Miller’s film Ski a la Carte. Trails highlighted in the segment include a powdery Murphy’s Glades, Organgrinder, Birdland, and Middle Earth.
American Skiing Company purchases Sugarbush and makes major infrastructure investments including installing seven new lifts, three of which are detachable quads. The Slide Brook Express ferries skiers back and forth to newly renamed Mt. Ellen. Snowmaking improvements include a new 25-million-gallon pond and miles of pipe. Warren Miller films local legends John Egan, Doug Lewis, Jesse Murphy, Sally Knight, and Seth Miller at Sugarbush for the film Snowriders.
Summit Ventures, a small group of local investors led by Win Smith, purchases Sugarbush.
Lincoln Peak Village opens to the public. The new facilities include Gate House Lodge and a luxury hotel and restaurant complex: Clay Brook and Timbers Restaurant. The new village is modeled on the traditional style of Vermont farmhouses, barns, and schoolhouses. Housing children’s programs and skier services, the Schoolhouse and Farmhouse open, rounding out the base facilities at Lincoln Peak Village. Construction is completed on Rice Brook Residences, private homes linking Lincoln Peak Village to historic Sugarbush Village.
Sugarbush purchases 414 low-energy snowmaking guns, completing a five-year, $5 million plan to upgrade the mountain’s snowmaking program.
Roy Cohen sells Sugarbush to ARA Service. ARA removes the three-person top-to-bottom gondola. Super Bravo and Heaven’s Gate chairs are installed and uphill capacity increases fourfold. With a plan to operate as a four-season resort, Claneil Enterprises purchases the mountain, Sugarbush Inn, the racquet club, the golf course, and numerous condo and townhouse developments.
Summit Ventures begins to lay the groundwork for a new master plan for the resort that closely reflects the values and philosophies of the original owners, as well as the character and style of the Mad River Valley and Vermont.
The Gate House area opens with a new double chair, spreading skiers around the mountain, opening up more beginner terrain, and allowing ski-to access to Sugarbush Village.
The original Valley House lift is replaced with a fixed-grip quad, more than doubling its uphill capacity. Construction is completed on Gadd Brook Slopeside, sixteen private homes at the base of Lincoln Peak named after the resort’s founding family.
44 SUGARBUSH SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE MAGAZINE 62
Working with Sugarbush to make their visions become a reality. Let us help you build your dream too!
Proudly Announces Its Real Estate Team With Members Consistently Recognized by Chambers USA and Best Lawyers in America A Full-Service Law Firm Committed To Providing Unparalleled Personalized Service Since 1955 802.658.0220 | www.gravelshea.com
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In 2006, Sugarbush completed construction of Clay Brook Hotel & Residences and Gate House Lodge. Four years later, two more skier-services buildings—the Schoolhouse and the Farmhouse— were added to Lincoln Peak Village. Rice Brook Residences—fifteen new homes in three buildings—were completed in 2013, connecting Lincoln Peak Village and historic Sugarbush Village. And in 2016, construction was completed on the next phase of development in the resort’s master plan, Gadd Brook Slopeside—sixteen private homes named after the resort’s founding family. Each year, Win Smith and his entire resort team work hard to make good on the Sugarbush promise: Be Better Here. In 2014, the resort completed a five-year, $5 million upgrade to its snowmaking operation at both mountains, and added a new 450-space parking lot at Lincoln Peak. In 2015, the resort invested more than $3 million to replace the original Valley House lift (built in 1960) with a fixedgrip quad. With this improvement, Sugarbush has one of the largest uphill capacities in the Northeast. Linking Sugarbush’s rich history, the uniqueness of the Mad River Valley, and the modernity of new amenities, Sugarbush is committed to offering the best in customer service, four seasons of outdoor recreation, and an unrivaled and quintessential Vermont experience. 64 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
After years of skiing at the mountain with his family, Win Smith and a small group of investors purchased Sugarbush in September of 2001. They have since embarked on reshaping the Sugarbush experience to reflect the nature of the Mad River Valley. The investor group includes Adam Greshin, a Warren resident who has also served as the state representative for Washington County. Incorporating traditional Vermont architecture into the village, hosting cultural events, and highlighting the local agricultural economy in the resort’s culinary offerings are just some of the ways Sugarbush delivers a rich experience for its guests.
THE MOUNTAINS Sugarbush brings some of the flavor of western skiing to the East. The resort offers 111 trails of terrain for beginners, intermediates, and experts, spread across two mountains—Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen—with a chairlift and a shuttle bus that connect the two. Lincoln Peak Village offers many lodging and dining options, and also serves as home base for the Ski & Ride School and Rentals and Repair. Lincoln Peak offers extensive beginner terrain and lifts, as well as the legendary terrain of Castlerock Peak, whose narrow, steep, and winding trails offer seasoned experts a challenge and an old-time New England ski experience. Snowcat adventures? Get up early for First Tracks on the Lincoln Limo, take the family on a Sunset Groomer Ride, or book the limo for Remote Fireside Dining at Allyn’s Lodge. Connected by the Slide Brook Express to Lincoln Peak, Mt. Ellen is the third-highest peak in Vermont (serviced by the highest chairlift in the state). Mt. Ellen has steeps, wide-open cruisers, and some great intermediate terrain. The base area at Mt. Ellen is a no-frills experience with a classic lodge that’s home to the convivial Green Mountain Lounge. Mt. Ellen is where you’ll find the Riemergasse
Clay Brook A T
S U G A R B U S H
Clay Brook Hotel & residenCes Modern luxury meets slopeside convenience with studio to five-bedroom suites, concierge services, ski and boot valet, heated outdoor pool and hot tubs, and onsite dining. For a more casual stay, explore the classic country charm of Sugarbush Inn or our selection of over 100 privately-owned, resort-managed condos. Complimentary access to Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center and Valley-wide shuttle service included.
end! i r f a h t i w Share ‘em
BE A PAL
SAturdAyS at Mt. EllEn Fuel up with wood-fired pizza and drink specials, tackle Vermont’s 3rd highest peak with snowshoes or on skins, or hang at the base and enjoy cornhole and a warming bonfire. Saturdays, Jan. 7th – Apr. 2, 2017.
sugarbush.com 800.53.SUGAR #SUGARbUSh
LIFT TICKETS VALID 2016/17 2014/15 WINTER SEASON. NO BLACKOUTS.
For sale thru November 2016
Missed this deal? You don’t have to wait until next November. Save up to 50% on date specific lift tickets when you buy online in advance. Visit sugarbush.com or call 800.53.SUGAR today. 2016/17 65
Terrain Park, designed with rails, tables, and jumps for all levels, and home to a series of events and competitions. Green Mountain Valley School, a private ski academy with Olympian and US Ski Team alumni, trains here. Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports bases their adaptive programs here, also. Whether at Mt. Ellen or Lincoln Peak, skiing in the trees is often the best way to find great snow. Twenty-eight marked areas provide beginner to advanced tree skiing. Want more? The 2,000-acre Slide Brook Basin, LODGING tucked in between Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen, is an adventurer’s From slopeside luxury to quaint country living, the Sugarbush paradise. Guided trips are available with the legendary skier John Egan Vacation Team can assist in finding accommodations to suit a variety of needs and budgets (for reservations, call 800-53-SUGAR and the staff of the Adventure Learning Center’s Ski & Ride School. or visit Sugarbush.com). The slopeside Clay Brook Hotel & Both guided and self-guided snowshoeing adventures are available Residences offers sixty-one suites, ranging from king rooms throughout the winter, and vary in length and difficulty. Sugarbush also to five-bedroom suites, and features ski-in/ski-out access, full offers a free uphill travel pass to those guests who choose to skin up the valet service, a year-round outdoor heated pool, a fitness center, mountain before or after the lifts are in operation. (See our Winter Trail and Timbers Restaurant. Down the road is the forty-two-room Use policy, at sugarbush.com/resort-policies, for details.) The Green Sugarbush Inn, open all winter and for private groups in the Mountain Lounge at Mt. Ellen serves as Base Camp for skinning and summer. The lodging—with nooks for reading and a parlor with snowshoeing on Saturday nights, offering pizza, salad, bar service, and an adjoining fireplace room—has the cozy charm of a Vermont an outdoor bonfire. country inn. Sugarbush also offers a mix of resort-managed Sugarbush isn’t the only draw in the Mad River Valley. Mad River Glen, condominiums surrounding Lincoln Peak. All Sugarbush lodging just a few miles to the north of Sugarbush, boasts some of the most comes with complimentary access to Sugarbush Health & challenging terrain in the East. The Valley is also home to two Nordic Recreation Center, which offers a pool, hot tubs, steam rooms, skiing centers, Blueberry Lake and Ole’s Cross Country Center, as well the Adventure Zone for kids, rock climbing, tennis, and massage. as the Catamount Trail. In Waitsfield, the Skatium Ice Rink provides a For additional lodging recommendations, please call the Mad unique outdoor skating experience. River Valley Chamber of Commerce at 802-496-3409. 66 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
conferences & retreats team building activities including Cabin Cat adventures, backcountry skills, snowshoeing, hiking, golf, and climbing wall dining from casual to elegant, indoors and out lu xury accomodations on-site at Clay Brook Hotel & Residences
A wedding to remember in a setting youâ€™ll never forget.
Photos courtesy of BethanyDan.com
ide a l for intim ate gatherings up to 450
Please call 802.583.6370, or email email@example.com
For information, please contact our experienced wedding planner at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 802.583.6370. 2016/17 67
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. Morrisville-Stowe State Airport is just under an hour away and offers direct flights from White Plains, New York. 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. Distance from: Burlington: 46 miles
Boston: 180 miles
New York City: 300 miles
Montreal: 139 miles (224 KM)
First-Time Visitors can find information on where to go for lift tickets, rentals/demos, Ski & Ride School, and dining options at www.sugarbush.com/discover/first-time-visitor.
Mountain operation HOURS
1,4 83 base
53 2,600 2 28 elevation
miles of trails
LIFTS (16 TOTAL)
8 quads (5 high speed)
Weekdays: 8 AM–4 PM at Mt. Ellen; 9 AM–4 PM at Lincoln Peak Weekends/holidays: 8 AM–4 PM
Call for spring-adjusted hours.
3 surface lifts
Summer: mid-June–Labor Day Sun.–Thu.: 10 AM–4 PM Fri., Sat., & holidays: 10 AM–6 PM
Fall: early Sept.–Columbus Day Weekends & Columbus Day: 10 AM–4 PM
Times are subject to change. Please call 800.53.SUGAR or visit sugarbush.com for up-to-date information. Sugarbush Resort Warren, Vermont
Legend Easier Difficult More Difficult most difficult wooded area freestyle terrain slow-skiing area FLAT OUT snowmaking
EVENTS 2016–17 JA
10/8–9 Community Weekend Celebrate autumn in Vermont with pumpkin carving, scenic lift rides and hikes, harvest-inspired dining, live music, kids’ camps, and mountain activities. Oktoberfest follows Sunday.
10/9 Oktoberfest Bavarian-inspired food, drink, and games, along with the Mad Bavarian Brass Band. Compete in our steinhoisting, keg-tossing, and cornhole competitions for a chance to win prizes.
10/9 Mad Dash A 5K or 10K run, 5K walk, and kids’ race, supporting the Mad River Path Association. madriverpath.com.
11/19 The Big Kicker Kick off the 2016–17 winter season with Mad River Glen and Sugarbush at American Flatbread in Waitsfield. This unmatched ski-mountain duo throws a freestyle party with rail jams, ski movies, local food and drink, and words of wisdom from the High Fives Foundation and the Flyin Ryan Hawks Foundation.
12/3 SugarBash It’s time to get down and get funky at Sugarbush’s annual birthday celebration. Rock your finest retro gear and dance your heart out to live music from the Grift. Costume contest at 8 p.m.
12/5 A Taste of Timbers Sample items from the new Timbers winter menu, inspired by our best local and national food purveyors.
12/19–23 Valley Ski & Ride Week A fifty-year tradition at Sugarbush. Join us for five consecutive days of ski and ride lessons led by some of Sugarbush’s finest coaches.
12/24–1/1 Holiday Week Celebrate the holidays at Sugarbush with activities for all ages from Kids’ Pizza & Movie Night, indoor activities at the SHaRC, holiday cookie decorating, and Kids’ Rail Jam to campfires with s’mores and après live music all week. Bring your furry friend to the seventh annual Dog Parade and Canine Couture contest. Ring in the New Year at the Family Buffet in Gate House Lodge or at an elegant dinner at Timbers, followed by a torchlight parade and fireworks.
1/14–16 MLK Jr. Weekend An action-packed weekend with a kids’ cooking class, pizza and movie night, 70 SUGARBUSH MAGAZINE
SideSurfers Banked Slalom
late-night music, specialty dining options at Timbers and Castlerock Pub, Base Camp at Mt. Ellen, and a torchlight parade and fireworks.
scavenger hunt, play maple-inspired games, indulge in maple dining specials, and enjoy tasty samples at Vermont Specialty Food Day.
1/27–29; 3/6–8 Women’s Discovery Camp
3/18 SideSurfers Banked Slalom
An enriching two-and-a-half-day learning experience hosted by our top-notch coaches. The perfect blend of fun, learning, sharing, and lots of skiing and riding. Video analysis, group meals, après-ski parties, and optional ski demos are included.
2/11 Junior Castlerock Extreme Talented young skiers (ages fourteen and under) compete in a challenging and technical run down Castlerock’s infamous Lift Line. A qualifying race for March’s Castlerock Extreme and part of the Ski the East Freeride Tour. Register early—this Sugarbush classic traditionally sells out in advance.
2/11 Henri Borel’s 90th Birthday Henri, of the famed Chez Henri, turns ninety! Come celebrate in Chez Henri’s Back Room, just like back in the day. Drink specials, music, dancing, and, of course, photos with Henri.
2/18–26 President’s Week A nonstop week of fun, with an ice sculpture display, live music, Base Camp at Mt. Ellen, local artisan market, Sugarbush PARKS Feature Garden, activities for all ages at the SHaRC, and a torchlight parade and fireworks.
2/25–26 Mt. Ellen’s Birthday Celebration Commemorate Mt. Ellen’s birthday with the classic Cowbell Champagne Party, Base Camp, and special “retro” mountain events.
3/4 Castlerock Extreme Expert skiers charge the cliffs and dips of Sugarbush’s toughest terrain in the twentieth annual Castlerock Extreme.
3/5 High Fives Fat Ski-A-Thon
Building on last year’s inaugural event success, the SideSurfers Banked Slalom returns! John Murphy (great-grandson of Sugarbush legend Jack Murphy) and the PARKS team host a communal gathering and friendly snowboard competition on a custom-built racecourse through gates and over banked turns, berms, rollers, and jumps.
3/25–26 Island Weekend
Start the day with the wacky Warren Parade, followed by mountain activities, a classic American BBQ, live music, and fireworks at Lincoln Peak.
7/9 Mad Marathon This scenic course sends runners along beautiful country roads in the Mad River Valley, through covered bridges, past farms, and over streams. Participants can run a relay, half marathon, or whole marathon.
8/1–31 Festival of the Arts
4/8 Pond Skimming
A month-long celebration in the Mad River Valley featuring the “Taste the Valley Experience” culinary feast at Lincoln Peak, the Big Red Barn Art Show, theatrical performances at the Skinner Barn and the Phantom Theater, and more.
Take the plunge across a 120-foot pond at the base of Lincoln Peak. Whether you get wet or just spectate from the crowd, be sure to participate in this annual rite of spring. Awards for best costume, style, and splash.
9/1–4 Green Mountain Stage Race Largest Pro-Am road stage race east of the Mississippi. Close to 1,000 cyclists travel to compete in some of the Northeast’s most challenging and scenic terrain.
4/16 Easter Celebration
10/1 Sugarbush Cheese & Wine Festival
Have your beach and your mountain, too! Spring fever takes over Sugarbush, with reggae music, island cuisine and drink specials, and fun-in-the-sun beach activities.
Celebrate Easter Sunday with a morning service at Allyn’s Lodge, followed by an Easter egg hunt and an elegant brunch at Timbers.
4/22 Stein’s Challenge Get ready for a head-to-head showdown on one of Sugarbush’s most legendary trails, named after the Norwegian Olympian and former Sugarbush Ski School director Stein Eriksen. Prizes for top finishers.
6/10 Sugarbush Brew-Grass Festival Kick off summer with Sugarbush’s seventh annual brewfest, featuring craft beers from more than twenty Vermont breweries, tasty local eats, and jammin’ bluegrass bands.
Relocated to Lincoln Peak for 2017. Lap Valley House Quad on your widest planks and give out high fives all day for a great cause. Raise money to support the High Fives Foundation, and join us for an after-party in Valley House Lodge.
6/13-14 Boomer Scramble Championship
3/18 Sugaring Time Festival
Discover all that Sugarbush has to offer during the summer months: downhill mountain biking, zipline, hiking, the bungee trampoline, disc golf, and much more.
Celebrate the start of spring and sugaring season with a variety of maple-themed activities. Search for maple nips in a resort-wide
Independence Day Celebration
7/4 Independence Day Celebration
Join us for this two-day golf event for ages 65+. Sign up as a full team or be grouped with others.
6/24 Summer Mountain Activities Opening Day
Join us for this special one-day food and wine festival, including educational seminars and artisan tastings featuring some of Vermont’s finest cheeses.
Recurring Events Base Camp Start your Saturday-night adventure at Mt. Ellen Base Camp. Snowshoe rentals, skinning, fresh stone-cooked pizza, warm drinks, friendly cornhole games, and a warming bonfire.
Kids’ Pizza & Movie Night Send the kids off for a night of fun with pizza and a movie while you enjoy an evening on your own.
Castlerock Music Series Soak in the sounds of great local musicians at Castlerock Pub and choose from the more than twenty beers on tap.
Sunset Groomer Rides Enjoy an early-evening, hour-long ride in our cabin cat to the summit of Lincoln Peak and the terminus of the historic Sugarbush gondola.
DAZZLE YOUR GUESTS LET US PUT ON A SHOW FOR YOU
Give your celebration the wow factor â€“ entertain your guests with a dazzling sound & light show they will never forget. Northstar Fireworks pro crews can bring reasonably-priced, beautifully-choreographed fireworks displays to any nighttime occasion. And for a huge selection of DIY fireworks, visit one of our retail stores! *Each display includes a free consultation & site inspection, and we handle insurance, permits & professional crew.
Sugarbush-sponsored mountain biker Isaac Allaire on his way to winning the Eastern States Cup Enduro race 2016/17 71
A promotional poster from the early 1960s of Sugarbush Ski School director Stein Eriksen. On Sunday afternoons, Eriksen was known to perform his signature aerial flips on the Moonshine trail. He passed away, at the age of eightyeight, on December 27, 2015. Eriksen is remembered for his gold medal in the Giant Slalom skiing for his native Norway in the 1952 Olympics, but even more so for the way he combined grace, talent, good looks, and marketing savvy to become one of skiingâ€™s first superstars.
Community is Better at Sugarbush Thereâ€™s something more to the Sugarbush experience than the legendary terrain variety, the meticulous snowmaking and grooming, the fabled history, and the authentic Vermont mountain setting. Come discover what makes Sugarbush different. For the best deals on season passes, discount tickets, lodging and more, visit sugarbush.com.