Filed Under (Magic Trail Guide) by admin on 19-09-2012

The Wardrobe made the map last year but Mother Nature never let you try it. We agree it was very cruel of her.  An off map favorite for almost a decade, it was decided in 2011 the time had come to share The Wardrobe.

We all hope that Ullr will be a little more generous this year as Captain Cote has been hard at work clearing debris left over from Irene and the March 2011 ice storm.  Wardrobe will be one of the focal points of the workdays preparing it for the official debut.

For those who haven’t checked out Magic’s Wardrobe before, it is not for the faint of heart.  Tightly spaced trees and a steep pitch continue for almost 400 vertical feet. The pitch comes to a head wall and drops you into a beautiful clearing.  From there the rider has their choice of a bump filled logging road or mellow sapling fields.  At almost 800 vertical feet, this run doesn’t end!

Out of tradition I can’t disclose the location in this blog so check out THE MAP for yourself.

Take The Plunge

Filed Under (Magic Trail Guide) by admin on 13-10-2011

Do you know the long steep section of Redline where the Red Chair turns into an elevator?  My buddy Jeff usually skis the left.  I prefer the right line with the small ledge after the fourth turn.  Charging side by side under the chair, the eyes above add that extra element of pressure.  This is just one of the reasons why Redline is Magic’s signature trail.

After thirty years I know every drop, line and rock on the run and it still finds a way to school me.  One is hard pressed to find an “on the map” run this challenging, long and varied south of Killington.  Redline is a shining example of why Magic’s terrain is its finest asset.

Skiing Redline is an adventure with several distinct chapters.  Most storied is the double cliff directly under the chair.  Depending on whether you stick it or not dictates the cheers or jeers from above.  In the old days there was no way around, now a single chute offers a second option.

After the double cliff, a nice long stretch of “showoff” bumps leads to the plunge.  You can stop at the top and pick your line, but charging the lip is liable to muster a better reaction from the chair.

Following the plunge you land in the boulders section where large rock pillows create a natural terrain park.  Watch the kids do back flips or pull out a good old spread eagle.  All things considered, the most challenging aspect of Red is the fact that someone always wants to ski it last run.

Magic Colorado?

Filed Under (Magic Trail Guide) by admin on 24-06-2011

Western style runs don’t exactly come to mind when Magic is brought up.  Tree skiing and narrow trails are often the lore but is the variety of the trails that keeps me coming back.

For the Colorado lover in you Magic has Talisman.  Charge it with some fresh snow and you will understand.  This trail lets you carve wide powder arcs while negotiating sustained steep pitches.  As a reward you get the lower section to open up and point ‘em.

When the snow breaks up later in the afternoon, charge it head on letting the snow check your speed.  Keep a straight line, but remember, just as it mellows out it will throw that second headwall at you!

A recent phenomenon occurred this spring as Talisman became a bump run.  The Trail’s exposure provides direct sunlight long into the afternoon.  As a result of Magic’s increased skier visits it once again gets moguls!  Talisman in the spring at 4:30 is the best place to run bumps.

Damn Showoff

Filed Under (Magic Trail Guide) by admin on 09-12-2010

Showoff was my last run at Magic in April of 2010.  A fantastic way to end a banner season, Tony Hauck and I went for a quick skin the Sunday after closing day.  The final turns seem to last just a little bit longer and were burned into my mind all summer.  I knew it was my last taste of Magic, so we took awhile at the top. With seventy-degree weather, we soaked in the rays for 20 minutes, a luxury you only get a few precious weeks a year.

Then it was time to ski, I was off and had the whole trail to myself.  Unlike many of Magic’s classics, Showoff is wide.  It’s that trail where you let out the gas and see what your boards can do. The name Showoff is no coincidence.  And so we came down one at a time savoring every turn and brought the year to a close.

December 18th my Magic season will start on Showoff once again.  I might not have thirty options down the hill but the one I do will be damn good.  From the moment I push off, I will enjoy every GS turn until I reach the chair.

Come see what a few turns at Magic mean to you.  I challenge you to make me wait on line this opening day!

A Tale of Presidenticles and Valetinicles.

Filed Under (Magic Trail Guide) by admin on 01-12-2010

The beauty of Upper Wizard is often overlooked, as it is a “must ski” gateway to the fabled West Side Terrain.    From Upper Wizard you can reach Magician, Broomstick, Slide of Hans, Talisman, Sorcerer, Lower Wizard, and Potter.  Chances are you will hit Upper Wizard a few times a day.

Lucky for skiers our “Access Trail” is one of Vermont’s most scenic routes.  From the top of the Red Chair it begins life as a quick coast through the pines. It quickly opens up to a traverse literally blasted into the side of the mountain.  In a moment you reach Magician and one of the most stunning views of the valley.

Ski a little further and it opens up into a sun-drenched bowl where you can arc big turns or hug the edges for powder.  This is one of the best places to catch the afternoon sun.   Don’t get too distracted soaking in the rays because you are about to bank a hard right into the chute.

Upper Wizard is best enjoyed if you pay attention to its varied aspects and enjoy the details.  Wizard features beautiful giant icicles that form on skiers left.  Since this is Magic, it is only fitting that the mountain has Magic Icicles that change color.  Sometimes our icicles are patriotic for President’s Day and covered in hearts for Valentines Day.

So whether you stop at the top of Magician for a moment to appreciate Vermont or check out what color the Magic Icicles happen to be that day, take your time and enjoy what makes Upper Wizard such a great run. If you are lucky you might hit the bowl on a sunny afternoon when a cloud happens to blow right in front of Stratton!

What’s This Trail Called?

Filed Under (Magic Trail Guide) by admin on 10-11-2010

Originally cut as the liftline for the Mid-Mountain Triple (1987-91) this trail was originally named Tripwire.  It runs from Sunshine Corner and drops you into Mystery about halfway down.

When the mountain first re-opened in 1997 the lift had long been removed and the saplings had grown so high it was barely passable.  In 1999 a few of us cut an eight -foot wide zig-zag through the saplings on the steep pitch.  You had to point ‘em and go!  One wrong turn had nasty consequences.  At that point we simply called it “Our Trail.”

In 2003 when towers were installed for a new mid-mountain chair it was cleared back to its original width.  This run is one of Magic’s sleepy gems and is comparable in pitch to the main face of Redline.   From the top it appears mellow, some smooth turns and than it drops out.  Right at the top of the steep pitch is a rock band that provides for some nice 4-5 foot launches.

At one point it was called Jim’s Way, now it is on the map as Greenline.  You will know you are there when you see the bullwheel for the unfinished lift.  Do you want to spice up your day at Magic?  If the snow is good and you want a new challenge, head for Greenline.  If you don’t, it just might not be called Greenline next year.

Woods fit for a Wookie

Filed Under (Magic Trail Guide, Mountain Updates) by admin on 03-11-2010

So Magic has been building up quite a little reputation for its Glade Skiing and there is talk that the mountain might put a couple stashes on the map next year.  As a long time Magic pass holder this is bittersweet, but for Magic to remain sustainable it must draw on its most valuable asset: The Terrain.

Magic’s glades have been a part of the experience since the 1960’s.  Twilight Zone represents the classic New England “on the map” glade. It is unique in that it narrowly survived the resort chainsaw massacre of the 1980’s.

The current selection of “off the map” favorites began to take shape in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Some say the stashes were created by a mythical Wookie that  could fight fires.  I guess we will never know for sure.  Magic regulars were known to cut a way down here or there and the routes matured throughout the decade.

In 2007 the mountain held it’s first sanctioned volunteer day and significant work was performed connecting several stashes into a top to bottom all woods run.  The volunteer days are all weekend affairs with camping and cooking!  They have grown not only in number but attendance.

This year a great deal of effort was focused on in bounds glades slated to be ready for the Map in 2011-12.  While I will miss the secrets, it is nice to think that there may be a 2011-12 season.   So while I refuse to be the one to disclose any locations on the internet I assure you they exist. I could also speak for a number of the regulars that if you are a decent conversationalist on the Red Chair it might take you places!

When The Bullet Hits The Bone

Filed Under (Magic Trail Guide) by admin on 19-10-2010

Twilight Zone….. It was my first glade.  I can still remember that day in 1987, I was in fourth grade and my dad decided it was time for me to ski it.  I was terrified, but I knew I couldn’t get the trail sign pin in the gift shop if I didn’t actually ski it.

A crooked sign nailed to a tall dead tree first greeted me.  As I peered down the trail I could see trees in the middle of the falline.  Remember this was 1987, the era of wider trails and bigger lawsuits.  All the other hills had trails named glade this and glade that, but none of them had trees!  Once famous eastern glades were getting major haircuts, left naked with only their names remaining.

Even Magic started down the path with the widening of a few trails and the planned Twilight Zone redesign.  Save Twilight Zone T-shirts popped up on the hill and the trail was spared.

With ski areas like Magic embracing natural terrain features, the 2000’s have proved a better era for trails like Twilight Zone.  Today I can still find the big boulders halfway down that mesmerized me as a 9 year old.  Many of the original trees still stand.  Islands of new growth have been left uncut by the brush trimmers to ensure the future of the trail.

Because it lies in a small basin, the snow collects here often making it the first skiable glade.  Generously spaced trees and an undulating double falline make for a classic gladed run you’ll never forget.

Glade Lite! – The Hallows

Filed Under (Magic Trail Guide) by admin on 01-10-2010

So are you looking for a good expert/high intermediate glade?  If you seek the Magic tree experience but lack the desire to drop a 10-foot air then The Hallows is the right glade for you.

The Hallows starts just below where Bail Out meets Magician on skier’s left.  There are two entrances; the first is a tricky technical chute, not recommended for glade rookies.  Don’t worry, just around the corner is a wide mellow entrance.

A nicely pruned forest section leads you right and down into the natural streambed.  Here the trees open up and there are several options from small air along the streambed to smooth flat cruising between nicely spaced trees.

The Hallows is on the map so the snow gets packed earlier making it skiable most of the season.  This is a very beautiful trail especially where the forest opens into the streambed clearing.  If you are looking to find out why everyone talks about Magic’s tree skiing, check out The Hallows and experience it firsthand.

My Favorite Last Run…….

Filed Under (Magic Trail Guide) by admin on 08-09-2010

With all the talk of Magic’s extensive terrain many people must look at our little trail map and scratch their heads.  With all due respect to Donald Moss who drew it back in the early 1980’s it just doesn’t do the hill justice.  To help readers understand Magic’s terrain, I have decided to write periodic features on some of Magic’s defining runs.

The majority of Magic’s terrain falls in two valleys the east and the west side.  Two runs, Redline and Blackline, run right up the spine in the center.  Today we will take a look at Blackline and what makes it such a unique and varied ski experience.

Think of a traffic cone and you will understand how the width changes, the very top is just wide enough for two skiers side by side.  High winds expose the large cliff bands and create large pockets of powder.   This section dubbed “Black Magic” features a race, The Craig Potter Memorial Black Magic Challenge, now a part of the Ski The East Tour.

Next comes the Ledges section, a wide, steep section riddled with hucks.  This leads to the second ledges section where Witch and Broomstick drop in.  Sun basked western style skiing on a moderate pitch provides a nice selection of fall lines and drops.   The final part of the Ledges section is the headwall and you better have your game on because it is very visible from the deck.

One more steep powder field and you drop into the groomed Hocus Pocus section of Blackline at roaring speeds.  Don’t forget to hit up Magic’s terrain park, um, feature before you ski on to the deck for a cold one.

Tip: Ledges is a great place to be around 3:00 on any given day as it basks in the afternoon sun while it sets on the Golden Triangle.

Best For: The very top is for the best skiers only, but the second ledges section is great for any advanced intermediate looking for a real double black treat.   If you have doubts, cut out just before the headwall on skiers left. Don’t cut out and you will be rewarded.