48 hours in the Mad River Valley


January 15, 2020

We ski New England mountains every weekend and as part of our Parlor tribe, we want to make sure you are having as much fun as we do. The Mad River Valley in Vermont is home base for founders, Mark and Pete, digital designer, Sam (and UVM ambassadors, Tucker and Lindsay). We’ve got local insight and a lot of experience in some of the places you can get your turns. Here is a peek into how to make the most of two days in the valley!

Friday Night:


If you arrive in the valley before 9pm on Friday, call Bluestone Pizza on your drive and order a pie to pick up. Mark recommends the Boss Hog pizza and the Duke wrap is a go-to for Sam, when he’s not in the mood for pizza. Swing into Village Grocery and pick up a 6-pack—try one of Lawson’s Super Sessions for a light start to the weekend. 

Settle into your lodging. We recommend Hostel Tevere (budget friendly), Tucker Hill Inn (family friendly), or Claybrook if you want to be ski-in ski-out. There are also plenty of AirBNB options.


Saturday Morning:

 

Head to Lincoln Peak at Sugarbush early to beat the crowds. On your way, stop at Paradise Market on the access road for an egg sandwich and coffee to fuel your day at the mountain. This is also a great place to pick up snacks and lunch items.

Boot up at Sugarbush (we like the parking lot, as it saves a bag) and go to the Super Bravo lift (walk up the hill a little further to Valley House if Super Bravo is crowded). Get to the top and take a warm up lap on Spring Fling to get the muscles firing. Next head up Super Bravo and ski down Domino to avoid the crowds on Downspout, ending up at the Heaven’s Gate lift for some steeper terrain. There’s a good chance that Organ Grinder will be groomed for some high speed turns. If you’re more of a naturalist, take skier’s left to Paradise for some bumps and more exposed terrain. If you want to be in the trees, keep tracking left and dip into the Paradise Woods on skiers left where you’ll find steep and open glades.

For another secret woods stash, find your way to the top of Splitsville and look for the well worn track into the woods for an amazing section of trees, we like the right side, but we will leave it up to you to find your way down.

If natural terrain is more your thing, the Castle Rock lift is off the beaten path (on your way down from Heaven's Gate, it's a hard left and down a short pitch to the base of the lift), the chair spacing is some of the farthest we have ever seen, but it leads to great all natural conditions and almost no one on the trails.

Photo: Brooks Curran

Explore some of the trails up on Gate House and North Lynx. Morning Star usually has some good moguls and side hits going. Sleeper Chutes to Sleeper is a favorite of the kids (and Sam - there are a plethora of knolls and side hits to pop off of). Other trail suggestions:

  • Murphys Glades to Bird Land (right under the chair with great opportunities to get airborne and crowd please)
  • Steins and the Mall (steep bumps to burn those quads)
  • Snowball, into the woods on skiers right puts you onto the summertime mountain bike track (fun berms and whoops)
  • Liftline, under Castlerock (for the true exhibitionist who wants some of the most challenging terrain on the mountain) 

Sunday Morning:


On Sunday, drive to Mad River Glen and be careful on the way up the gap, those switchbacks are slick, especially if you are lucky enough to be catching fresh snow. While you’re dropping your gear in the lodge, fuel up with a Basebox breakfast sandwich or pancakes. The cooks and staff are friendly and they serve what we consider the best lodge food east of the Mississippi!

Mad River Glen has some of the best terrain Vermont has to offer. Head to the Sunnyside double to warm up and take your pick for the way down. Bunny is always a fan favorite.  Ride up the iconic Single Chair for one of the most unique lift rides you’ll ever take—see people of all ages having their shot at the Chute, which runs directly under the single and is one of the few runs you can see from a main lift that has more than one mandatory air!

When you reach the top of the single, stop and take a minute to appreciate where you are and how you got there. Off the backside, if it is clear, you will see the ADK mountains stretching off in the distance over Lake Champlain, a look back will reveal Camel's Hump, and a look to the east on a really clear day will present Mt. Washington. Of course to the north and south the amazing Green Mountains stretch out. After that brief reflection, however, you will need to figure out how to get down, which is not always straightforward at MRG. Around the bullwheel is where we recommend starting, a quick drop to skiers left will send you down Cat Bowl, home to some “open” lines and great bumps. A quick hike will take you down Upper Antelope, the most chill way off of General Starks Mountain. and back to the iconic mid-station. (Check it out on facebook, we don’t want to ruin the surprise!) From there, you have the choice of heading back to the double side for Bunny or Canyon, or duck under the mid station and try Lift Line. Good news, you got a scouting report from the lift; Bad news, you got a scouting report from the lift, and everyone will watch you take on the Tower 13 cliffs!

If you are looking for some of the steepest trees you have ever skied, take the quick hike to the right off the single and then a sharp left down the long trail, and head into Paradise. After taking in an amazing view of the valley, get ready! The waterfall will greet you shortly. Fresh snow often lurks to the left, but if you jump in too soon you'll find yourself on top of some of those yellow ice waterfalls you can only find in Vermont.  

Local Lunch Picks:


When you get hungry on Saturday make your way down to Castle Rock pub for a sandwich, pulled pork or the burger are our favorites. A Gansett or Sip of Sunshine are always on the menu for us as well. 

For lunch on Sunday head to General Starks. Grilled cheese with tomato and Bacon is the way to go, unless the special catches your eye. We think the Sip of Sunshine here is even fresher that at the brewery, you can ask Doug at the bar why that is, or try it both places and see what you think.

Apres Ski:


Once it’s time to call it a day at Sugarbush, take your boots off and don’t forget to grab some of the complimentary hot apple cider. Hop in the car and drive into Waitsfield to the Lawson's Finest Liquids Taproom. Nothing can quite quench a post-skiing thirst quite like a Sip of Sunshine, or the Maple Imperial Stout. After you’ve gotten your fill of beer, head to Mad Taco for the best taco in the valley (Sam’s rec is a half meat/half yam burrito). 


On Sunday, when you’re done at Mad River Glen and ready to head home, pack up and hit Worthy Burger on your way out of town. It's sure to keep you satisfied for the drive home. 



3 Responses

pete mclean
pete mclean

January 15, 2020

Great review – We have been skiing in the valley for 30 years, got married at the Tucker Hill inn – kids all participated in ski school at MRG for years, my brother has been an employee of the mountain for as long. This is an iconic ski culture. Well Done!!

pete mclean
pete mclean

January 15, 2020

that is a fun review. We have been sking

Freebie
Freebie

January 15, 2020

Mad taco! flatbread!

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