Mike Walsh | Powder Report: Riding Main Street again and again worth it for opening day at Ski Butternut
However, that's just what this particular gnar junkie did on Thursday.
It was opening day for Ski Butternut in Great Barrington, and given an early-week mishap trying to drive my tiny hatchback into a Vermont snow storm, I was craving some time on the hill.
Now, opening day meant discounted prices, but it also meant that beyond the instructional bunny area, Butternut was offering mostly just Main Street as shreddable terrain.
So, like my neighbor's daughter with the soundtrack to Frozen, I hammered that slope into the ground.
Despite the apparent repetitiveness of riding the Highline Quad up and carving down Main Street again and again, I never got bored. OK, I may have got a little board. Sorry.
The point; the snow was good, service was excellent and Berkshire Mountain IPA was crisp.
Butternut was on the verge of opening a host of other trails and had large mounds of artificial snow piled up waiting to be groomed over for the true weekend. Those willing to play hookey on a Thursday, though, were still treated with plenty of hardpack cords and a little wind-blown pow to stretch those offseason legs and get back in ski shape. The snow held up through a full day of activity, had some chatter in the early-afternoon, but never let up. Big thanks to the staff for keeping the blowers off Main Street for the day, limiting face shots to the lift area. On the horizon for Butternut is a New Year's Eve Rail Jam slated for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 31. There is going to be a women's division and two men's divisions with the age-break at 16. I'll try to head down a make my bid to be the Michael Flatley of board-sliding; Lord of the Rail Dance.
One more bit of early-season advice. Get yourself some snow tires, chains or something called tire socks. I Cyber Monday-ed myself a $12 lift ticket at Mount Snow for last Tuesday, but got within 25 minutes of the address and my Honda Fit started spinning its tires on an uphill with an inch or two of snow on the ground. Vermont got consistently coated all morning and I eventually had to make the decision to turn back, eat the 12 bucks, hit Hobby World and live to shred another day.
You can always count on the local spots, though, and I got my fix at Butternut two days later.
Speaking of those local spots, Jiminy Peak opened full-time daily activities for the season on Thursday. They've got a Potter Brothers presentation and gear demo day on Dec. 17 coming up. Bousquet was looking good with Tuesday's storm, but they're holding out to open for their 86th season on Dec. 21 with some serious well-manicured corduroy. Catamount opened up Friday, with visions of sugarplums and more trails over the weekend.
Blandford and Otis Ridge, which were acquired by Butternut in November, are pushing towards opening days soon as well. Blandford picked up a big cat last week that'll have boarders knuckle-dragging and skiers schussing in no time. The Ridge managed to have a beginners day last week and was reopening over the weekend with most trails available.
Until next time, keep your tips up and stay spoice!
Mike Walsh can be reached at email@example.com, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter and 413-496-6240.
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