Beautiful covered trees on some of the best beginner trails at Mad River. (Nathan Caldwell)
Beautiful covered trees on some of the best beginner trails at Mad River.

Nathan Caldwell

Mad River Glen: Eastern Skier Heaven

February 11, 2020

Snow sprays as you jump off a rock.  You stumble, but quickly bounce to your feet.  As you stop you look around. Snow covered trees, iced over rocks, chilled air, and and you have it all to yourself.  You then turn back down the hill as you plant your next turn. This is a technical skier’s paradise.

A five hour drive from Ringwood, New Jersey, skiers will find Mad River Glen.  Mad River Glen, in Fayston, Vermont, offers some of the most technical and unique skiing experiences in the East.

Some of the most challenging terrain can be found at this mountain.  If you enjoy glades trails, Paradise, Ferret, Upper Glades, and Lynx are for you.  If you like mogul slope, try Canyon, Beaver, and Waterfall. 

Courtesy of John Caldwell
Skier going down Ferret, one of Mad River’s many glades.

Additionally, Mad River has great trails to start on if you are a beginner.  Birdland, which features Loon, Lark, and Duck, along with Fox and Vixen off the top of the Sunnyside Double Chair, is a great area to start on.  Because of the naturally steep and technical terrain, beginners believe that the terrain isn’t too hard and when they go to other mountains, blue trails almost seem like the greens they were just on.

If you are an intermediate skier, you can challenge yourself on the blacks or just stick to some of the classic blues, such as Quacky, Antelope, and Catamount.

Most of the terrain at Mad River is naturally slick and rocky.  This mountain is for those technical skiers and less for those who like speed.  The terrain really challenges tests control and ability

The terrain is not the only thing that sets this mountain apart.  Mad River Glen is only one of three mountains in the states to ban snowboarding.  This lessens the ran over and slicker trails on the mountain.

Pair the snowboarder ban with American-favorite Single Chair (one of two left in US) and there are almost no skiers on the slope.  This is great for those skiers who enjoy their space to go down the slopes. With less people, one has more options to pick their path down.  People can enjoy the silence of the mountain as they ski through snow-covered trees.

Courtesy of John Caldwell
Skier, going up on the Single Chair, to ski more advanced and technical terrain.

Mad River Glen, established in 1949, has a long history of love.  According to the mountain’s website, in 1995, skiers came together to form the Mad River Glen Cooperative.   Charles Manley, one of the many owners explained the goal of this Co-op is to preserve the skiing from the 50s.  The cost to join the ownership is $2,000, which goes toward updating the mountain while maintaining it’s nostalgic feel.  The ownership gets you perks at stores around the mountain and discounted lift tickets, but more importantly they keep a great ski mountain around for generations to come.

If you’re looking for a true escape while skiing, Mad River Glen is the mountain for you.  Challenging terrain and low population make for a near perfect mountain.  

Just be sure, when buying tickets ahead of time, to buy them for Mad River Glen and not Mad River Mountain, in Ohio.  A full day adult ticket costs $92. One must experience the mountain for themselves to determine if it is worth the price.

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