Receive $50 off an eligible $100 purchase at the Outside Shop, where you'll find gear for all your adventures outdoors. Sign up for Outside+ today.
Eric Friedman, publicist for Mad River Glen, a place that doesn’t really need more publicity, has the luxury of being able to say pretty much what he thinks—which is good, because he would anyway. So you’re tempted to actually believe him when he says this: “I think we have the best skiing North America right now.”
Yes, this is it, Eastern skiers: the snow conditions of which you dream, coming at a time when Western and Canadian resorts are mostly snow-starved.
A sampling of reports on Wednesday morning, Feb. 4:
Stowe: 9-12 inches in past three days; 18-26 in past week; 59 at the Stake.
Killington: 4.5 inches in past two days; 19.5 in past week.
Sunday River: 42 inches in past nine days.
Okemo: 15 in past two days; 25 in the past seven.
Cannon: 25 in the past week
Sugarloaf: 21-22 in the past week.
Mad River: “Very fluffy light snow beginning early Wednesday and ending early Thursday will amount to 3-6 inches and provide a nice topping to the two feet we have received over the last 10 days. … Expected [future] 7-day snowfall: 5-25 inches.” — Single Chair Weather Blog
It’s good everywhere, but especially good where there’s no manmade ice beneath the recent powder. That makes it a great time to seek out the natural snow gems like MRG, Magic, Mittersill, Castlerock, etc.
Friedman was hustling his kids to school Wednesday morning so he could hit the mountain ASAP, but he took time to chat.
How good is it?
We have the best skiing in the Lower 48 right now. Actually, from what I understand, it’s the best in North America. It’s sick out there, dude. I was at Burke yesterday—oh my god, unbelievable. The woods are off the hook—so friggin good. It just doesn’t get much better. I even threw the E word out there Monday on the snow report, and I don’t do that a lot. It was at least Near Epic. It hasn’t been this good in a long time. You’re rarely hitting bottom. We had 8-10 yesterday, more last week, and there’s more coming.
Deer Valley groomers…at MRG?
This is when natural snow proves how much better it is. Even our groomers—and it’s not what people come here for—but even our groomers are sick, because there’s no manmade underneath. Trails like Canyons, Porcupine, and Quacky, they’re all groomed out with all natural snow, and it’s like out West right now. It’s a goddamn dream. Nothing but fluff, and it’s all so flat and perfect.
A great time to hit natural-snow gems like MRG. And others?
Burke was skiing effing great. And my kid was training at Cochran’s—he said, ‘We were skiing powder all night—I hope the coaches didn’t notice.’ I skied Cannon and Mittersill last week—hadn’t been there in a long time. They had way less snow than us, but it stormed all day and it was sick, and they got more than us from this last storm. Magic—it true, it’s like the MRG of southern Vermont. It’s shorter and there’s not as much snow and the lifts are scary, but it’s got fun natural terrain features. It’s like Burke: There’s some fun to it. Muleskinner at Saddleback would be awesome. It’s kind of a slog to get back but it’s awesome. I had one of the most memorable runs of my life there—got to the top and there were like five other people and it was all untracked. I hear the White Mountain backcountry is totally off the hook now, up around Moosilaukee. And the Adirondacks are going off.
We’re supposed to get a bunch today then more Thursday-Friday. It’s Shangri-la-dee-dah out there. We’re in the cycle. And you know why? Because I bought a snow machine.
Sled skiing in Vermont??
I live literally right on the VAST trail. It’s in my yard. We were up around Camel’s Hump the other day, right at the bottom of the cliffs. There’s crazy-good terrain all over the place out there; short but good. You hike up, like, three minutes and get a killer run with these big rocks and stuff.
Saving for a spring day (“snow farming”):
Something we’re doing lately—we’ve created these reservoir areas for snow in trouble spots where we lose it early in the spring—pulling snow out and storing it when we have it like we do now. Usually in the spring it melts out first from Bunny on down and we have to close, but last year that was the last place to melt. So we’re thinking ahead.
It’s your day off. What’s the plan?
I have to deal with my kids first, but then I’m gonna ski all day and hit the bar and eat some fried green beans.
Fried green beans?
They’re awesome. They come with this friggin cilantro mayo dipping sauce—it’s like a little heart attack every time you eat it. And yes, it’s nominally a vegetable—we discuss that around here. So you hit that with a side of poutine and a beer and you’re all set.
(Photos from top: Jamie Walter/Sugarloaf, Shelley Bowen/Sunday River)