Mad River Glen is famous for ideal skiing, its ability not to have to advertise to make a buck and get fellow skiers to the mountain and of course Mad River’s famous landmark, their summit single chair. Mad River Glen has been recognized by Ski Magazine as the most challenging ski area on the east coast of North America. Combine this with the fact that Mad River has such an extensive trail system with a nice array of expert terrain to keep even the most diehard advanced skier honest, but also offers an entourage of intermediate and novice trails to fulfill everyone else, is so enticing.
Located in Fayston, Vermont a small community that is part of the Green Mountain State Park Range, Mad River Glen is by no means, just another ski resort. Mad River got its start back in 1947 as members of the Rockefeller family and other investors were the financial backers of this formidable ski area with the efforts of Roland Palmedo, who is a major part of the Stowe Mountain Enterprise further north of Mad River Glen. Mad River Glen is basically a home away from home where everyone is family and the ski area is owned by its skiers plus commercial interests and amenities are minimized to reduce problems from over development and other factors that take away from the quaint ambiance that is part of Mad River Glen Resort.
Having the distinct honor shared with just one other ski area in the country, Mad River Glen and Mt. Eyak are the only ski areas that employ the use of a single chair lift. Yes, Mad River has other chair lifts, three double chairs to be exact, that allow access to the diverse terrain on the 45 trails and slopes that make up Mad River Glen. The trail breakdown between novice, intermediate and expert are as follows:10 described as novice, 15 being intermediate with the final 20 classified as being expert and rightfully so. So much diversity, enjoyment and challenges await each and every skier from the peaceful easy going slopes of Broadway, Wren, Easy Way, Loon and Vixen, stepping it up a bit to invoke Upper Antelope, Snail, Catamount and Periwinkle to get you down to the bottom is another alternative. Now, skiers wanting to be treated to an all out adrenaline rush, while having fear instilled into your hearts and minds that changed quickly from a previously complacent state of being with less extreme terrain, hold on to your egos so called ski cowboys and professionals as these expert slopes on Mad River Glen will take the initiative in trying to ascertain the truth, as to are you a cream puff or a warrior of the mountain. Panther, Gazelle, Lift Line, Chute, Fall Line and Grand Canyon will promptly dispose of these rumors and have the ultimate decision. Then come the Glades! Beauty, snow covered fir and pine trees, breathtaking scenery and solitude, until you have to look down the glades and manage to get down in one piece. Dodging trees in the path of skiers and at time the narrowness and steepness and other conditions can dampen the spirits of even the most poised for these areas. Upper and Lower Glades and Gazelle Glades are exemplary and feature all the excitement glamor and beauty associated with glade skiing, just remember…beauty is in the eye of the beholder and is only skin deep.
The top elevation at Stark’s Nest is 3,637 feet whereas the base elevation is at 1,600 leaving a vertical elevation at 2,feet, so you have a hight issue do you? I would think twice about hitting the top trails in you are afraid of hight.
Oh, I forgot to mention one itsy bittsy little trail that is kind of hard to find since it is off the beaten path, for good reason, and not many people choose to ski it, though it is to the right of the drop off at the summit by the single chair. It is called PARADISE! It not only has a warning sign displayed in front of the slope, but is a double black diamond run that is used as a practice area for the U.S Olympic Ski Team. This slope is steep, fast and narrow plus the conditions are never the same at any given time. Oh, urban legend has it that their is a snow serpent that appears and plays with your mind to coerce you to go down, ultimately, more often than not, leading skiers to disengage their skies and bindings and walk down to the bottom. STIFF UPPER LIP, PLEASE! No crying for your mommies!
Snowboarders are not allowed on Mad River Glen for two reasons: The first being that the single chair is to narrow to handle a snowboarder with his board to ride it. The second of equal importance is the damage done to the snow on the trails. Snowboards tear up the trails often removing the loose granular or powder snow from the trails and sending the snow off to the side of the trails. With only 15% of the mountain being snowmaking compatible, snowboards depreciate the ideal conditions on the mountains in no time at all.
Other than that, a ski patrol, ski shop, professional ski instructors, base box for food and drink at the bottom of the mountain as well as two warming huts at the single chair summit(Stark ‘s Nest) and another one at the secondary mountain above Panther and Partridge trails(expert black diamond trails).
Telemark skiing is offered as another way to enjoy Mad River Glen, and you may want to check that part of the ski excitement.
Periodically Mad River has parties, and other unique activities, so be in touch with their website for details and dates. Ski conditions, trails and lifts opened are also available with how much snow is on the ground there at any given day.
Because Mad River really doesn’t have snowmaking, they rely more on mother nature for their bounty, and bounty they receive, 250 inches of snow is the norm with such numerous snow storms coming off of Lake Champlain, or storms that are “backlash” storms that repeat themselves. So snow, let there be snow…and
SKI IT IF YOU DARE….
Have fun and ski under control and obey signs, check terrain, be aware of guides and poles, trees, other skiers and snowmobiles and other forms of equipment and lift structures to help you to make it home at days end
Enjoy and have ski fun.