Did someone say snow?

By:  Sam
October 1, 2009

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The end of the trail.

The flowers really caught my eye in this one.

And, finally, a few of the Notch.


Every year, when the first snow flies, I feel compelled to pack up all my ski gear, drive to the mountain, hike up in, invariably, bad weather, and then make a sketchy descent on little more than snowy grass. Every year I feel like an idiot driving to the mountain, I doubt my sanity on the way up, start skiing down, and then
immediately remember why I do this; because it’s really fun! The first day of skiing always a big reality check and a reminder of why I love this sport. Skiing isn’t always about the steepest terrain, the deepest snow, or the biggest cliff. Sometimes skiing is about flying down snowy grass on the first of October with a few friends and having a blast….. not that I wouldn’t have like a few more inches though… just saying.


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Read about the author:   Sam
Enjoy this TR? Read another: TR: Skiing Mt. Colden’s Trap Dike


  1. Lionel Hutz
    wrote on October 1st, 2009 at 1:40 pm  
  2. milton
    wrote on October 1st, 2009 at 1:42 pm  

    DO THE DEW! Kind of appropriate for those conditions, way to get after it.

  3. Scott
    wrote on October 1st, 2009 at 2:18 pm  

    Awesome. Glad I ran into you guys at the bottom…f’in sweet for October 1st!

  4. MMP
    wrote on October 1st, 2009 at 3:10 pm  


    you’re nuts!

  5. kirsch
    wrote on October 1st, 2009 at 3:31 pm  
  6. efoxx
    wrote on October 1st, 2009 at 3:35 pm  

    Very awesome. If I lived closer I would have been doing the same thing.

  7. Aaron
    wrote on October 1st, 2009 at 5:00 pm  

    FKNA is right! Glad to see you guys got it.

  8. Mike G.
    wrote on October 1st, 2009 at 5:18 pm  

    You are all my personal heroes!!! Keep living your dreams. Thank you for the pictures.

  9. Greg
    wrote on October 1st, 2009 at 5:46 pm  

    Thanks Mike! It means alot to me to hear people really appreciating what they see!

  10. Porter
    wrote on October 1st, 2009 at 9:41 pm  

    Two years in a row, same day, east and west.

    Keep rocking boys. Come join for some Wasatch pow.

    wrote on October 1st, 2009 at 11:25 pm  

    “We got some speed up and could actually link turns where they’d mowed”


  12. Andyzee
    wrote on October 1st, 2009 at 11:38 pm  

    Good stuff, can’t wait!

  13. MadPatSki
    wrote on October 1st, 2009 at 11:53 pm  

    I was sure you guys were out on Mansfield today. Great…

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the next one, hopefully it’s as good as last year at Le Massif (finally posted the pics on that TR on FTO).

    Ski ya outhere!!!

  14. Bora Bora
    wrote on October 2nd, 2009 at 8:44 am  

    I cried a little… WTG !!! Sweet pics!

  15. Scott D
    wrote on October 2nd, 2009 at 8:48 am  

    Hey guys. Careful not to ruin the good base we’ve got going.

  16. Zic
    wrote on October 2nd, 2009 at 9:15 am  

    good job boys! somebody has to do the stupid and rediculous. i’m only sorry i couldn’t enjoy it with you. maybe next year?

  17. K_C
    wrote on October 2nd, 2009 at 11:36 am  

    Is there another late edition photo of Sam/Greg/Allen pounding Mountain Dews and crushing the cans on their heads? that would be xtreme.

  18. Greg
    wrote on October 2nd, 2009 at 1:03 pm  
  19. Dwyer
    wrote on October 2nd, 2009 at 7:56 pm  

    Sparks only!? Wow, you guys are X-treme!

  20. Dave Sautter
    wrote on October 2nd, 2009 at 8:09 pm  

    I consider myself as having a ridiculous appetite for skiing and an “earn your turn” mentality at 43.
    But you guys set the bar high and I live vicariously through you. Keep up the good work, I really enjoy it. Have a great 2009/2010 season.


  21. scharny
    wrote on October 3rd, 2009 at 1:30 pm  

    The “over-the-bars-to-landing-on-your-ass-and-feeling-stupid” photo gives a new meaning to the name Nosedive. Good on ya for gettin’ out there. Great website – keep up the good work.

    • Greg
      wrote on October 3rd, 2009 at 1:45 pm  

      lol… nice catch scharny!

  22. billski
    wrote on October 4th, 2009 at 8:11 pm  

    Hmm. Were you the dude that won the mtn dewskis at BV last winter? We got a case of dew instead….

  23. Greg
    wrote on October 5th, 2009 at 1:05 pm  

    I believe Sam’s story about obtaining those skis is a bit sketchier than MTN Dew race victory…

  24. MICKY O
    wrote on October 11th, 2009 at 10:10 pm  
  25. K_C
    wrote on April 12th, 2010 at 2:49 pm  

    Wow this trip feels like it was yesterday – where did winter go!?

  26. Sam
    wrote on September 13th, 2010 at 10:09 pm  

    Sadly the ease of WA turns all year will preclude the epic build up to the early season for me this year. I’m really going to miss it, that was great first day.

    • Greg
      wrote on September 28th, 2010 at 8:20 am  

      obviously can’t speak for you… but i’d imagine the first snow fall of the new ski season would bring me some sort of real thrill even if the corn was available year round…

  27. powhounddd
    wrote on September 29th, 2010 at 9:07 pm  

    I’d way rather hike away for some quiet baseless turns to start my season than get my knees sore on a ribbon of snice crystals compacted with 1,000 crazy kids with no edge control flying by….looking forward to October magic in New England.

  28. bushman
    wrote on October 1st, 2010 at 8:30 am  

    great stuff to get stoked for this fall. here’s yarn and request: bout 1972 a bunch hiked up the Sterling side of the Notch in early October. a few real lunnies (yours truly included) carried gear on the hope there would be snow. started getting dustings on back of trees, then more along the trail, then 2-3 inches, maybe more, enough to slide and gouge the p-tex really good. we came to a hut on the Madonna (now Smugs) side of Sterling. It was unlocked, wooden floor, some trash, a notebook with memos. Took a break, hydrated, cheese, wine and apples, swapped out boots and skis (snowboards not yet invented) and those who jeered the hardcores took shots at turns, wiped out ala your nosedive last year (those rocks feel good, right?) after beaten up, a little rest in shed, then down, sweaty but exhilerated. Do you know if that shed is still there? Thanks for the photos and honesty. Been there.Oh yeah, we kinda got lost coming down a different trail, so had to jog back up for the car. Looking forward to this year’s stuff. BM

    • Greg
      wrote on October 1st, 2010 at 9:29 am  

      Hey there bushman! Good to hear from you again after a few weeks. Hmmm… I’m not sure of that hut. I know so much has changed around Sterling area and Madonna Peak in the last few years, that I’d be surprised if any original structures plainly visible were still there. Of course that’s not to say that more well hidden secret huts that I may or may not know about aren’t still there….

      Currently there is now a new (awesome) warming hut at the top of Smugs’ sterling lift, and the GMC replaced the lodge that was near Sterling Pond with a leanto a few hundred yards away.

      Was your classic adventure on the Madonna or Sterling parts of Smugs?

      can’t wait to keep the tradition going soon though! Thanks for the tale!

    • bushman
      wrote on October 2nd, 2010 at 7:28 am  

      Greg: Well somebody’s just gonna have to hike up there and see what’s what. The hut we found was on the Madonna side of Sterling. The hut was not on the top, but toward the Notch. It was a wooden cabin roughly 10 x 16,unlocked door, one room, rough-cut pine, maybe a window or two, no heat, no power, no plumbing, just some shelter. On the backside of the slope is Stowe’s Sterling trails. i think the hut was a little downhill from the trail that used to connect Madonna to Stowe–not sure if that is still there either. Used to be able to walk from one side to the other, maybe pay $2 for a lift back up on the Stowe side. But Stowe’s lifts were too expensive so we’d ski Madoona. Now this was when they used to give you a wool red-plaid blanket or cape to put over your front (and face) as you rode the Madonna chair to the top so they would not have to pry your frozen stiff body off on top. Those capes were great. Don’t think they’ve done that for years. Well, maybe the GMC leanto you mentioned is what repalced the hut. It was just a place to collect yourself out of the weather. Maybe it’s still there—post a pic if you find it–thanks for responding.

    • Greg
      wrote on October 4th, 2010 at 11:41 am  

      i did some rooting around this weekend, and found the remains of a cabin near sterling pond. It is not far from the trail back to stowe…

      i’ll put up a picture of the destruction to see if it looks familiar

    • Greg
      wrote on October 4th, 2010 at 7:31 pm  

      OK Bushman… here’s the pictures I took this weekend of the now-dilapidated structure wasting away near Sterling Pond. I have visited this place before a few times several years ago when it was in better shape, but as far back as I am aware it has been boarded up tight. I want to say it was sometime in the late 1990s when it was shut down.

      Here’s a look at the lovely insulation and broken glass shards that are trickling out of the remains of this building into Sterling Pond.
      insulation of a fallen down building

      And here’s what the view looks like from the deck. You can see the shattered boards where the building fell over backwards in the lower left. Sterling Pond is barely visible through the trees on the right.
       The deck of the dilapidated building

      Something tells me this place was called “Watson Shelter” but that’s really coming from some deep poorly informed corner of my brain. Anyone know?

      I don’t know the current state of ownership of this building/land, but I imagine it’s either the State of Vermont or the Green Mountain Club. Both should be ashamed of the horror they’ve permitted to remain standing within spitting distance of the ecological treasure that is Sterling Pond. It’d be nice to see this get cleaned up quickly, or have been better taken care of in the first place.

      To fix up the bad vibes, here’s the beautiful view visible through the trees which are now overgrown across the pond to see The Notch beyond.
      The view from busted shelter

      I didn’t really make any more wanders closer to Madonna this time though… will report back later.

    • bushman
      wrote on October 5th, 2010 at 1:41 pm  

      Greg: really appreciate the effort and photos. well, looks like cabin needs a little work. can’t tell if that’s the one. find any old wine sacks, brown sueda things with red caps circa 1972? or PBR caps? doubt it. Hey, great photos, thanks for looking into it. Not sure when I’ll be back over there, but I’ll go check it out myself. Heading to Jay for the WE. Pretty soon thoses Frenchies will be hootin and hollerin come down the Jet, can’t understand a word they’re saying, but can they ski!getting colder every day. BM

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