by Paul Maraschiello

Every time I visit Sugarbush, I like it more and more. This visit was no exception. Vermont had received so much snow that Sugarbush had decided to stay open a couple more weekends and I was eager to squeeze in one more trip to this world-class resort.

I made the long drive up from Washington, D.C. to Sugarbush on Friday. It was a beautiful day for a ride. I arrived at around 10 P.M. and checked into a condo right at the mountain. It was a beautiful suite with a large livingroom, kitchen, bath and bedroom. It had a balcony that opened onto a beautiful view of a bubbling brook and a treed vista.

I was up early and planned to get in a full day of skiing. While I was putting on my boots, I struck up a conversation with the guy who was sitting next to me. His name was Ken and he was a member of a ski house at Sugarbush. His other house members were sleeping-in, so he invited me to take a run with him. I was happy to have some company to ski with, so I wound up spending the day skiing with him. There was a surprising number of trails open, for this late in the season and the slopes were covered with "ego" snow. That soft forgiving snow that allows you to make a few mistakes and doesn't crash you to the ground if you get a little back. We warmed up on some easy trails and then ventured into the moguls.

As soon as we went into the bumps, I could see that Ken wasn't comfortable skiing bumps. After we finished the bump run, I decided to give Ken a little lesson. When we were on a groomed slope, I told him to bend more at the ankles and knees and not ski at tall as he usually skied. I explained that if he practiced this in the groomed slope, when he got into the bumps, he would have more leg to extend in the troughs. He immediately saw what I was getting at and began skiing in a lower stance. I demonstrated what I wanted him to do and we both practiced skiing low, making all of our turning movements with our legs, keeping out upper bodies parallel with the snow.

When we got into the bumps, Ken was able to ski them much better than he had before. Then I showed him the proper line to ski in the bumps. I was able to convince him to control his speed by turning, rather than traversing and he began to ski the fall-line. I showed him how to pick out a line where he did not have to go all the way to the top of the mogul or go all the way into the deepest part of the troughs. This is helpful if you are unable to extend your legs more that four feet.

We ran into his friends later that day and I had a very pleasant time skiing with them. Afterwards, they invited me to join them for Happy Hour at the Hideaway, a little place on the Mad River access road. It was fun to get to know this group of really fine skiers. We dined on chicken wings and other munchies and then all went back to their ski house for a slide show of their trip out west and a little more food. Most of the members of the ski house were really good skiers and they all really knew the mountain. I was very fortunate to tie up with a bunch of locals. The next time I visited Sugarbush, I had another group of good skiers that I could ski with.

I went to bed early that night so I could hit the slopes early the next day. Sunday was another spectacular day. I ran into Sarah, an English a gal I had skied with before and after taking one run, we tied up with Ken and another member of his ski house. We hit Murphy's glades and took a run under the chair. After exploring Spring Fling and a couple of smaller bump runs, we decided to ski Stein's Run, a long double black diamond slope covered with bumps. Ken wasn't eager to ski Stein's Run but gathered up his courage and headed down this slope which was covered in BIG moguls. He had a couple of falls but was able to link his turns together for five or six turns at a time. When he got to the bottom, he confided in me that although he had been a season pass-holder at Sugarbush for a few years, this was the first time he had ever skied Stein's Run. I congratulated him and pointed out that he had made a lot of really good turns and only three bad ones. He credited his ability to ski this slope to my lesson the day before and I gave him a big pat on the back for skiing Stein's Run so well and we headed in for lunch on a high note.

They were Bar-B-Qing on the porch and the burger tasted great. Ken had to head back early, so I wound up skiing the rest for the day with Sarah. She was interested in becoming a ski instructor, so we discussed the options of becoming a real ski bum next season.

We took run after run down expert slopes and had a really good time.

I finished the day all skied-out and happy. I was delighted to be able to end the season at Sugarbush. Evert time I ski there, I meet tons of very enjoyable people who all seem to be very good skiers. The people who are in ski houses at Sugarbush seem to be very friendly. The ones I met come for the skiing and they seem to be really serious skiers. This mountain has a lot to offer skiers of every ability and I am going to make it a point to ski there more often with my new friends.