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Last chance to hit the trails at Mount Snow, Vermont

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Spring skiing this year is turning out to be as good, or better than it was in the fabulous spring of 2013. Bright sun on Thursday tempted us to Mount Snow in Dover, Vermont. It was not a wasted trip.

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Mid winter snow with spring temperatures and an empty mountain

It was 32° in Dover Vermont and the sun was shining, the sky was a beautiful blue and yet the snow on Mount Snow was as pristine as mid-winter. On trail after trail the conditions were the same, perfect. It was an absolutely gorgeous day on Mount Snow and we had the entire mountain to ourselves.

Mount Snow is one of those popular places that can be very busy on weekends. In mid-season, I have heard, the lines for the lifts can seem to take forever. I suppose that that is because the trails at Mount Snow are gorgeous and there are plenty of them on several faces of the mountain. But, mid-week in the spring you have the distinct feeling that this might be a private mountain, there are so few people on the slopes. There is no wait at the lifts and even the six-pack bubble lift is riding singles.

Slopes and trails for all skill levels

One of the truly great things about Mount Snow is the variety of trails, and their separation. With an altitude of 3,600 feet and a vertical of 1,700 feet, this is a big mountain and it reaches high enough into the sky to catch, and hold snow. The reported base right now is 50 inches on the trails and 46 inches at the peak.

Four different areas of the mountain essentially keep different skill levels in territory that they find comfortable -- and out of each other’s hair. This is a big place and across the frontage at the bottom, from the Grand Summit Lodge (which is not at the summit) to the Clock Tower and Discovery center is a slow ski zone that includes the beginner or novice area and the ski school. But in addition there is the Long John (and Little John) trail from the peak to the base that allows novices to get the feel of whole mountain skiing.

For intermediates, the entire main face of the mountain is filled with outstanding blue-ranked trails and slopes. During busy spells five lifts serve this large area but during midweek the primary lift is the Grand Summit Express, a modern six-pack that even has a blue tinted pull-down hood to keep the cold wind out. From the top of that lift it is possible to put together enough trails and combinations on intermediate trails to keep busy an entire day. These are beautiful, challenging blues that remind you of why you love this sport so much. Note, however, that as of Thursday March 27 the upper Ego Alley Trail and its moguls, and the moguls at Pat’s Pitch, are the only spots on the mountain that I found icy, best avoided.

The Carinthia area, in a separate but connected zone on the left side of the mountain is designated as a freestyle and terrain park area. The two parts of this area are served by two lifts, a double and a quad.

Intermediates also have the Sunbrook area to call their own. This area in on the back of the main mountain and is served by its own lift. It is also accessible from the peak and from five trails that leave from the Long John trail, one of which is ranked black and the others blue. We didn’t get a chance to ski this on Thursday.

A home for lovers of black

There is nothing on the central core that an experienced advanced skier would not want the ski, but for more challenge they have the North Face, an entire pair of ridges and the valley between, to call their own. The North face has 10 black trails and Ripcord which is ranked double black. A pair of triples serves this area in eight minutes or less.

Indulge yourself, the spring skiing is fantastic.

Getting to Mount Snow

From Boston and western Massachusetts take Route 2 west to I-91 north. At Brattleboro Vermont take exit 2 from I-91 to Route 9 west. Follow Route 9 west to Wilmington and turn right onto Route 100 north. At Dover, go past the first Mount Snow entrance and take the second entrance on the left side of Route 100. Expect it to take just under three hours. From Hartford take I-91 north and follow the directions from Brattleboro, it should take just under two hours.

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