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Trip Report: Stratton Mountain - Jan. 2023

Dorrie Thompson et al. | Published on 2/15/2023

From Dorrie: I would like to thank these two ski bums for scouting out and recommending Stratton Mountain, Vermont for the 2023 Eastern Ski Trip destination. What a find! Here are Steve Liberman and Tom Crockett at Stratton, capturing the prestigious “First on Snow” award, December 2021.

Steve and Tom at Stratton - Dec 2021

This trip was put together by first time Trip Captain, Cindy Hall, and ably carried out by her spouse and best friend, John Schmerfeld. Thank you, John and Cindy. Although Cindy could not join us, we had the pleasure of encouraging texts and FaceTime calls, not in any way a substitute for her actual presence. We all missed you, Cindy. John made an excellent host at our Group Dinner at the Fire Tower and opened his room to the crew for a Wednesday Après-Ski jam, which must have been pretty swinging, since a couple of gals from New Jersey crashed the party. One of our guests was a former PSC member who now skis in Vermont for the season, much like Edie and Jim.

PSC brought fellowship and fresh snow to the slopes and shops at Stratton Village, including a Sunday afternoon sit down at a taco shop surrounded by live video of the World Cup ski championships, while the Black Bear Lodge readied our rooms. That evening, a pop up Welcome BYOB wine and beer reception in the lobby gave us a chance to see who all had turned up to ski or snowshoe. Nancy Lekberg of the Mogul Ski Club was new to our circle of friends, and turned out to be a snowshoe prodigy!

Conditions varied throughout the week, and practically, throughout the day.  Steve had a new pair of all mountain terrain skis as well as a pair of carving skis, and felt he could have used both at various points on the same run, if it had been at all practical.  Here are a couple of contrasts of the views from the mountain top.

Cloudy StrattonSunny Stratton

Input from Club Members:

What I like about the Stratton Mountain Ski Trip!

From Janice Irby:

My new snowshoe buddy, Nancy, and I had a wonderful week. We got our legs going on the flats and small hills behind the Black Bear.  We felt good enough to attack the mountain trail called Home Run on Wednesday. A full five miles of great snow. Afterwards we relaxed at Grizzly's with a hot chocolate doctored well with a shot of peppermint Schnapps and topped with whipped cream. Tasted like a Peppermint Patty. It was great having a companion to talk to instead of myself. We are planning to keep our legs fit for snowshoeing next year by meeting up and snowshoeing the beaches this summer.

From Jim Hutson:

The shuttle bus service from Black Bear Lodge was excellent (frequent, efficient runs and friendly drivers). The timing of the trip was excellent during a very challenging northeast ski season with all the warming trends. Credit Cindy for great crystal ball prediction. Fabulous powder on Monday morning even if visibility was difficult.

The mountain had enough varied terrain and vertical to be fun without significant risk even when slopes became extremely “solid” (icy) on Thursday afternoon.

From Rick Irby:

Things were looking dicey until the week before the trip, but the snow turned out to be excellent. The fresh snow on Monday was great and Cathy was nice enough to help me get through it. I'm not that used to fluffy stuff. I had a couple of spills, got a little bruised, but I got back up. I am doing fine now.

The Group Dinner at the Fire Tower was excellent and John picked out a delicious red to go with my roast chicken and pasta carbonara. Dinner at Mulligan's was also very good. It was nice to have an adequate buffet in the Black Bear's Table 43.1 when we didn't feel like going back outside in the evening. I want to add that the drive up was very pleasant. All of my riders were very sweet.

From Tom Crockett:

The Mountain: A nice variety of terrain for all ability levels, except perhaps for expert skiers looking for big thrills. Particularly delightful were the wide-open East and West Meadow runs, which, in combination with connector trails from the summit and the base, provided a nice, long, comfortable ride from top to bottom. Many of the black runs would qualify as blue/black or even blue at western resorts, so you weren’t likely to get into too much trouble. I accidentally ended up on a double-black while looking for a particular blue trail (poor signage or signs covered with rime — not sure which), but it had been groomed earlier in the day and while it was more effort than I intended for my last run before lunch, it was manageable.

Conditions: Varied and variable — typical of east coast skiing. We started out with 8"-10” of fresh snow on Monday, a little too heavy to call it powder, but still reasonably negotiable with some effort on all-mountain skis. Snow turned to rain Wednesday night and into Thursday, but not so much that the snow became heavy and wet; in fact, it was nicely carvable until falling temperatures gradually turned it into hardened crud piles Thursday afternoon. Most terrain was groomed nightly, but weather conditions still made for challenging conditions much of the week. The best skiing was Wednesday morning and again Friday morning, when the sun peeked out from time to time.

Food: Good, plentiful, and expensive, except for the lobster special at Mulligan’s which we all agreed was a good deal for a whole lobster.

Lobster dinner at Mulligans
Lodging: Black Bear Lodge offered basic hotel rooms. They were clean and comfortable, but lacking mini-fridges, coffee makers, and microwaves. The breakfast buffet was also basic and monotonous, although adequate to keep skiers and snowshoers fueled through the morning.

Company: As always, a fun group with whom to ski and hang out. Over the course of the week, I had the pleasure and opportunity to ski with 11 of the 18 skiers on the trip!

From Ronnie Triplett:

Stratton was a great place to ski even with the fresh deep snow on the first day, and easier to ski when groomed the last three days. For the price paid, the Black Bear Lodge was a nice place to stay with an included breakfast. They had the best shuttle service to and from the mountain as well as to and from the restaurants in the Village.

From Dorrie Thompson:

It was my privilege to room with the PSC of VA Ski Pro, Cathy M. Note to roomie: my left leg now knows how to ski! Thanks for the breakthrough! I got plenty of practice w/ my new moves and enjoyed every minute of my time on the slopes w/ Dick Foard and Becky Lazos. We found snow magic on Craig’s Way and Daniel Webster, and got to see some fantastic ski jumps and somersaults by local daredevils. The views from Mike’s Way at the top were incredible, and that was on a cloudy day. Hoping for a bluebird day another time. Thanks everyone! 

Stratton 2023


Providing great trips and great company for skiers and snowboarders from Newport News, Hampton,
Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, Yorktown, Gloucester, Mathews, and all over the U.S.A.

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