WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.–The Monmouth University Snowriders Club spent this past weekend covered in light, fluffy snow at Stowe, a popular 485-acre Vermont ski resort near Burlington. The club boarded the coach bus for the six hour ride north at about 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19.
Fresh snow fell every night at Stowe during the club’s trip and continued through the day on Sunday, making for a weekend of epic conditions. Members were able to hit the slopes on Saturday and Sunday for two full days of riding before boarding the bus again at 4 p.m. on Sunday for the return journey.
On the morning of February 20, club members awoke to about 3 inches of fresh powder, with 5 inches or more blanketing the mountain near the summit. Stowe is the only Vermont ski area to open its first lift for the day at 7:30 a.m., and many club members were up early to take advantage. Conditions were great that morning with lots of powder on almost all trails. Stowe’s grooming teams had been working on several trails as well to make up for rain earlier in the week, and it paid off.
Trails like the expert favorites Lift Line and Chip Clip were both quite good early Saturday, although they became skied-off by noon. Crowds grew to a decent size by that time as well, but with Stowe’s size it was only noticeable when waiting in lift lines.
By mid-afternoon, however, rain began to fall and steadily picked up. Most people left the mountain since conditions deteriorated fast.
“We had an epic morning [on Saturday] cruising around in fresh powder from the night before,” said Monmouth junior Ryan Palli. “When the rain started everything did get pretty wet and sticky, but was still rideable for those who weren’t afraid.”
Things did not look promising for the next morning. At the Commodores Hotel in Stowe where the Snowriders stayed, rain fell most of the night and any snow from the previous day melted. However, at the mountain itself, very little rain fell. In fact, another 3 or more inches fell across the mountain that night, making for another amazing day with powdery conditions.
Stowe is known for its glade terrain, essentially skiing or snowboarding in the trees with narrow pathways and little room for error. This terrain was truly epic on Sunday, with almost 8 inches of powder in spots! Untouched powder was hidden in these glades until the end of the day.
“Glade terrain is a natural playground that’s calm but intense at the same time,“ said Monmouth junior Luke Ninomiya. “It’s really the best feeling in the world to navigate through those untouched trails.”
Stowe is one of the largest ski resort on the East Coast, featuring 485 acres of skiable terrain across 116 trails, accessible via 14 lifts including one eight-person gondola. The resort is comprised of two major mountain peaks–Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. Mansfield is located on the west side of Vermont Route 108 while Spruce lies on the east side.
Mount Mansfield, the main peak at Stowe, is actually the tallest mountain in the state of Vermont. Ski trails were first cut into Mount Mansfield by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. However, the first ski descent of the mountain was as early as the mid-1800s, according to Stowe Resort. Today, Stowe has grown into one of the most popular ski areas in Vermont–and now, it is an area of conquest dominated by the Monmouth University Snowriders.