Inside Line: Magic Mountain, VT

Some folks in southern Vermont have a “tragic” nickname for Magic Mountain because they think the 135-acre ski area—which has suffered closures and sketchy management in the past—deserves better. But last summer, loyalists came together to buy the mountain and run it as a cooperative, similar to Mad River Glen. Their intent: to keep the legitimate steeps and trees open and spruce up the ski area’s infrastructure and snowmaking. Now the only thing tragic about this mountain, located in Londonderry, would be passing by it on a powder day.
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What a great way to open the season!! Magic Mountain got 14 inches of new snow this week. magicmtn.com

What a great way to open the season!! Magic Mountain got 14 inches of new snow this week.

magicmtn.com

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7 a.m. Stuff yourself with a Philly cheese-steak omelet, chocolate-chip pancakes, and Bunn-O-Matic coffee at Stoddard’s on North Main Street in Londonderry.

8 a.m. First chair is at eight on weekends, and nine on weekdays. Start on Up Your Sleeve, an intermediate, east-facing slope that gets early-morning sunshine. Duck into the trees to the left, nicknamed Up Your Shirt.

10 a.m. If it’s a powder day, head for Red chair, then take Upper Wizard to Broomstick. Drop into the unmarked glades on skier’s left. You’ll pop out on Bail Out. Continue through dense trees in The Hallows.

11 a.m. From Black chair, drop into Magician, a 320-foot elevator shaft lined with birch and pine trees. Stay skier’s left for the softest snow. Then stomp the bumps under the chair on Black Line.

1 p.m. For lunch, try the chicken quesadilla or the homemade New England clam chowder in the Talisman Grill on the lower level of the base lodge.

2 p.m. The Hocus Pocus terrain park has a couple rails, but if you want air, head to Magic’s natural features—the cliffs, drops, and jumps on runs like Red Line.

3 p.m. Goniff Glade is protected from the afternoon sun, so the snow stays fluffy till last chair. Near the top, look for the slim entrance to Magic’s newest and unnamed tree skiing between Goniff and Red Line. Then huck the drops on Twilight Zone.

4 p.m. Your only option for après is Goniff’s Den, the rectangular base-area bar that has Long Trail and Magic Hat on tap and packets of Rold Gold pretzels. Bands play most Saturdays. Call dibs on the chairlift swing outside.

7 p.m. For dinner, order the red, white, and bleu pasta (made with bleu cheese Alfredo sauce and flank steak) at the low-key New American Grill in Londonderry. For fancier fare, go for sashimi salad, mussels, or foie gras at the Three Clock Inn.

Late Night Londonderry keeps farmer’s hours. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. Take the 15-minute drive to the Perfect Wife tavern in Manchester for foosball and live local music. The bar closes at 1 a.m.

Overnight The slopeside Inn on Magic Mountain is one of the few properties that have been updated since the 1970s (from $59, including lift ticket; themagicinn.com). Now, it has new beds, kitchenettes, internet, and HBO. Or splurge on a fireplace, Jacuzzi, and mountain view at the Landgrove Inn, a 10-minute drive from Magic (from $150, including breakfast; landgroveinn.com).

Summit Elevation: 2,850 feet

Vertical Drop: 1,700 feet

Snowfall: 150 inches

Acres: 135

Info: magicmtn.com

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Magic Mountain

Magic Mountain

Quick Tip: Magic Mountain now embraces uphill traffic. If you want to hike and ski for free, stick to the side of the trail on your ascent during peak hours.

Emily Johnson at Sugarbush

Inside Line: Sugarbush, VT

A new base village and a growing emphasis on steep, powder-stuffed glades have made Sugarbush one of Vermont’s top resorts. The ski area offers 111 trails, served by 16 lifts, spread across three peaks, each with its own distinct flavor. For manicured steeps and fat bumps, hit Lincoln Peak. For no-bullshit, rowdy terrain, schralp Castlerock. For underutilized glades and meandering cruisers, there’s always Mount Ellen. Here’s how to make the most of all three.

Hit hard with a strong Pacific front, Revelstoke Mountain Resort has been hammered with nearly 15 inches of snow in the past 48 hours. Recent southerly winds have left North Bowl and Greely Bowl feeling like they have even more fresh powder than that.

Inside Line: Revelstoke, BC

Following Revelstoke’s grand opening last winter, first-time visitors identified a series of problems that the resort’s developers had failed to anticipate when they created a ski destination integrating 500,000 acres of cat- and heli-skiing with North America’s longest lift-served vertical. Among the quibbles: (1) The runs are “too long.” (2) There’s “too much powder.” (3) The absence of lift lines “prevents skiers from resting between runs.” This may sound like a joke, but these are actual complaints logged by management—and they underscore the stunning enormity of Revelstoke’s terrain. Our advice: If you aren’t prepared to go huge, don’t go at all.

Contrary to popular belief, even on a completely bluebird day in January atop the highest lift in Vail, you’re not getting vitamin D from the sun. Vail, or any other ski hill in North America for that matter, is too far above the equator to receive the type of direct sunlight needed to create vitamin D during the winter months. Which is a bummer because this recently popular “sunshine vitamin” plays a key role in boosting the immune system. In particular, it triggers and arms the body's T cells, the cells in the body that seek out and destroy any invading bacteria and viruses. Last year, scientists at the University of Copenhagen discovered that Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses, and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin, the killer cells of the immune system will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body. Vitamin D can be obtained through the diet, though very few foods naturally contain it. The foods that do include fatty fish, fish liver oil, and eggs. Smaller amounts are found in meat and cheese. A person’s vitamin D status is determined by measuring the level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in blood serum.  Current lab ranges are 30-80 ng/mL, though most functional healthcare practitioners recommend levels be at least 50 ng/mL - even higher in some cases. Though the RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU/day of vitamin D, most health experts are suggesting closer to 5,000 IU/day for optimal immune function. So to up your chances of not getting sidelined by a cold or flu this ski season, be sure to follow these three guidelines. That way you can spend your “sick days” skiing.  

Inside Line: Mary Jane & Winter Park

Mary Jane—named for a mining-era lady of the night—and its sister area, Winter Park, offer plenty of prospects for good skiing, including bumps and powder-filled bowls. Forming one of the closest major resorts to Denver, the two areas spread across five mountains and 3,078 acres. Add 3,060 feet of vertical, 30 feet of snowfall, and a direct train from Denver and it’s no wonder why the Front Range packs the place on Saturdays.

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Inside Line: Red Mountain, BC

In 1897, a Norwegian miner named Olaus Jeldness invited his friends to the top of British Columbia’s Red Mountain for a “tea party.” He got everybody plowed, slapped planks to their feet, and started ski culture in Canada. Since then Red hasn’t changed much except that condos are popping up and locals are beginning to grumble. But the terrain is the same as it’s always been: steep, consistent subalpine trees and cliff bands that radiate off two peaks covered with 300 inches of crowd-free blower. Just as Jeldness would want it.

Wyoming's Grand Targhee has received 10 inches in the past 24 hours, and 27 inches in the past week. And, thanks to the recent big snows, they re-opened the Blackfoot lift on Wednesday and will run it straight through Easter Sunday 4/4 before closing down for the season.

Inside Line: Grand Targhee, WY

Located on the western side of the Tetons, Grand Targhee seems sleepy compared with Jackson Hole, its over-the-mountains neighbor. But Targhee’s rowdy terrain has been made famous by Teton Gravity Research’s 1996 film, Continuum, Jamie Pierre’s death-defying 255-foot cliff jump, and the resort’s own prodigal son, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa. During the next few years it will expand, adding a new lift and 600 more acres of inbounds terrain.

The Subaru North American Freeskiing Championships were held at Kirkwood, California on Sunday, Feb 27th and Monday, Feb 28th—two beautiful bluebird days after a storm

Inside Line: Kirkwood, CA

Kirkwood is off the grid in more ways than one. The whole place runs on generators. Lift lines are six people deep on a powder day. Sierra storms fill the ski-porn-worthy terrain, closing roads and shutting down lifts for days. But with inbounds runs slanted up to 42 degrees, the most reliable snow in the area, and chutes that make big-mountain skiers queasy, it’s hard to believe the resort stays so low-key. Thank the hourlong drive from South Lake Tahoe’s packed casinos and resorts, which ensures Kirkwood remains unsullied by the masses. Just the way skiers there like it.