The Sugarbush Sh*t Show

The Sugarbush Sh*t Show

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The Sugarbush Sh*t Show

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The Sugarbush Sh*t Show

by Grant Gary

I’ve been skiing at Sugarbush since 2002.  I absolutely love the mountain and the people that ski there.  Yesterday should have been one of the best days of the season.  The storm that slammed the east coast dropped 12 inches of snow on the bush and it was skiing much deeper.  Instead what went down was a complete shit show and here’s why:

1. Ski Patrol – How many ski patrollers should it take to open up a run on the east coast? ZERO.  I really respect the ski patrol and what they do.  They help people all day who hurt themselves on the mountain.  They’re out there when it’s bitter cold, raining and the conditions are shit.  And for the most part it’s a thankless job.  So I can understand when a patroller gets a run all to themselves on a powder day.  But when I see three patrollers skiing a run under the lift that gets skied off after 10 people have been through it, that’s just being greedy.  Especially when there are some patrollers who are taking lap after lap.  On top of that they’re busting people for skiing roped off runs which don’t need to be closed.  That’s just ridiculous.
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2.  Crowds – Sugarbush owns two mountains, Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen.  They’re two completely different ski mountains owned and run by the same management.  For some reason they decided not to open Mt. Ellen when there was more than enough snow by the end of last week.  That led to MASSIVE lift lines that were over 30 minutes long at Lincoln Peak on Sunday.  One of the reasons I’ve always skied Sugarbush is that I have never waited more than 5 minutes in a lift line.  Maybe 10 minutes on a busy Saturday.  That’s because when both mountains are open they spread the crowd really nicely.  For the life of me I can’t understand why both mountains were not open last weekend.  If management doesn’t want to run two mountains early season, than just sell Mt Ellen to someone who will.
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3.  Revealing Secret Stashes and Adventures – For years now resorts have been revealing local stashes by putting them on the trail map.  It’s not ok, but it’s been happening.  Sugarbush went one step further last year when they publicly published that “The Castlerock hike is open”.  The Castlerock hike is something people have been discovering on their own for decades.  It’s a way to access a closed section of the mountain in early season by using a hiking trail that connects two peaks.  Years ago it was a Shangri La of Powder that was accessed by a few people who had the courage and sense of adventure to trek through the woods for 30 minutes to something that may or may not have paid off.  Now a corporation has put their stamp of approval on it and what I saw on the Long Trail over to Castlerock yesterday was just gross.  There was a line, 20 people deep on the hiking trail.  It looked like the Hilary Step on Everest.  And this was only 20 minutes after the lift opened!  The worst part about it is not that the powder will get skied in 30 minutes or less.  It’s a loss of that sense of adventure that has become more and more difficult to find these days as everyone publishes everything for everyone else to know about.  Leave adventures as adventures so others who are brave enough can have that sense of wonder and discovery that I had so long ago.
Sugarbush has come a long way since I started skiing there in college over a decade ago.  A new base village and a small amount of real estate development has all been done in a really tactful manner.  I hope in the midst of all the development the management hasn’t forgotten the central reason Sugarbush Exists: SKIING
I hope they can refocus on the on mountain experience so the shit show doesn’t happen again.

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