Mention Mad River Glen, Vermont and someone is sure to respond with “Ski It If You Can,” the area’s famous motto. Known for having the most difficult skiing terrain in the East, Mad River Glen embraces this reputation with gusto.
The Triple Crown
For the past 15 years a three-part competition, known as the Triple Crown, has determined Mad River Glen’s best all-around skier. The event draws competitors from throughout the East to test their spirit in the unconventional terrain, or freeskiing, competition, show their style in the moguls and prove their strength in the vertical contest.
Last season, skiers 15 and under competed in their own Triple Crown. The junior event is back for 2013, and the events will be held before the adult competitions so that the junior winners can compete in the overall contest.
Mark Your Calendar
The Junior Triple Crown kicks off on January 12 with the unconventional terrain competition. Judges evaluate competitors based on line choice, aggressiveness, degree of difficulty and overall skiing skill. The mogul challenge takes place on February 16 and involves a mogul run with two jumps. Two-thirds of each participant’s score is based on mogul skiing, with 1/3 based on air. The adult competition begins on February 9 with unconventional terrain, continuing on March 23 with the mogul challenge.
Both groups, kids and adults, will compete together on March 1 in the vertical contest. Competitors will spend the day riding Mad River’s famous single chairlift and skiing Chute and Lift Line as many times as they can. Each run is 2,036 vertical feet and the current record is 30 laps, held by local professional freeskier Silas Chickering-Ayers. I’ll do the math for you: that’s 61,080 vertical feet in one day.
While all this sounds pretty hardcore, resort rep Eric Friedman stresses that the junior event is all about having fun.
“Last year we had kids as young as three competing,” he tells me. “Mad River Glen is a family ski area. The only difference between us and some other resorts is that many of the parents who come here rip and they want their kids to rip, too.”
Families Welcome and Invited
Ripping parents and kids, notwithstanding, you and your kids don’t have to be experts to ski Mad River Glen. The mountain has plenty of green and blue runs, as well as a dedicated mid-mountain area for beginners called Birdland. There are also top-to-bottom green runs from the Sunnyside lift, while intermediate skiers can find terrain across the mountain, including the two-mile long Antelope run from the top of the single chair.
“There is actually a lot of mellow terrain off of the double chairlift,” shares Mad River ski mom Sarah Haviland. “The runs are not overwhelmingly long and the way the trails are laid out, you can duck onto something a little bit harder, try it out and then go back to something easier.”
Haviland has been skiing Mad River Glen her entire life and on any given day, she can count three generations of her family on the mountain. “Some of my friends think I’m crazy when I invite them to ski here,” she says. “But then I bring them and they do a great job. Between the terrain and the natural snow, this mountain is conducive to learning good skiing technique.”
Additionally, because the ski area has a single base, it is hard, if not impossible, to get lost at Mad River Glen. “Their aren’t a lot of resorts where parents will drop off 3rd and 4th graders and let them ski by themselves,” explains Friedman, himself a father. “But parents feel very comfortable letting go and letting their kids ski here independently.”
When You Go…
Mad River Glen (Ski It If You Can!) is located in central Vermont, near the towns of Waitsfield and Warren. It is about an hour south of Burlington, 3.5 hours from Boston and 6 hours from New York City. The resort website includes links to a wide variety of lodging, including B&Bs, inns, condos and hotels.
Some of the properties listed include a Mad River Glen logo next to their names. The owners of these properties are members of the Mad River Glen Cooperative. The Co-op started in 1995, when local skiers took over operation of the mountain with the goal of keeping the resort focused on skiing and as non-commercial as possible.
For more information on the Mad River Glen Cooperative, please visit the mountain website.
Finally, while Mad River Glen is a wonderful ski area for skiers of all ages and abilities, snowboards are not allowed on the mountain.
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