Magic Home

Filed Under (Mountain Snapshots) by admin on 02-12-2011

Opening day at Magic is not about the most terrain, as a matter of fact there is usually one way down.  Opening day means a lot of high fives, the brightest red chairlift in the universe and flying down my favorite mountain with good friends.

I have been fortunate enough to ski many places over my 35 years.  From countless valleys of powder out west to Austrian glaciers in August, skiing plays a huge role in my life.  Part of the skiing’s inherent beauty is that it takes you to magnificent places.

Of the many places I have skied, I still get most excited about opening day at Magic.  The first few turns down Trick, Harley yelling at people to keep the unloading area clear, shot skis in the bar, Snow Wizards and Slash.  These are just a few examples of why Magic is home and why everywhere else is just a place to ski.  See you in a few weeks.

Skinning Is For The Dogs

Filed Under (Mountain Snapshots, Mountain Updates) by admin on 30-09-2011

We have spent all summer talking about the Red Chair, but have failed to mention another great way up.  Magic has a very friendly skinning policy, more so than most ski areas in the East.

Now we all know the purists love their tech inserts, but I was lucky enough to grab a pair of Marker Barron’s a few seasons back.  Long ago when Magic’s snow surface was not as reliable as it is today, we learned to be resourceful.  I thought the A/T bindings would add variety on the days that skiing is confined to blue cruiser runs.  In the east, those days happen.

My first skin was from Timberside to the top of the Red Chair.  This was a whole new way to experience Magic. My crew created a fantastic adventure out of what would have been an average ski day with marginal conditions.

Four years later the majority of my touring is relegated to Magic as time is tight and I like to spend my weekends around the hill.  I have found however that skins are quite versitile. Last season on most Saturdays, I made a habit of taking my mutt Lexi and her friends Piper and Baxter for a 4:00 lap.  They love to run up and down and I manage to work off at least two beers in advance of hitting Goniff’s.  Most importantly, I get one extra run and some time to reflect upon the great ski day I just had.

Southern Vermont had a windstorm last President’s Weekend and most mountains were without Power.  Another great opportunity for the skins to help make lemonade out of lemons.  Rumor has it they are also handy for a dawn patrol run powder run, if you can get up that early. In sum I have learned that touring can be whatever you want it to be.  For those who are not ready to summit the Eiger, Magic is a great place to enjoy touring.  Mix it in with your regular day or take a side country adventure.  Do it because we are lucky to have a mountain that encourages going up hill as well as down.

12 Minutes in Heaven

Filed Under (Mountain Snapshots) by admin on 25-09-2011

It has come to our attention that some people think the Red Chair is slow and old fashioned.  Thank You!  Magic skiers look forward to the twelve minutes up for many reasons.  Even with a ten-minute lift line, the mountain takes hours to track out on a powder day.  I personally prefer waiting 12 minutes for the privilege of fresh tracks at 3:00 pm.

While many of our memories are made in that powder, the ride up can be just as fun.  You meet people on the way down, but  you get to know them on the way up.  A few years ago I ended up on the chair with some guy who was even more obsessed with Magic than me.  This will be the 5th season we are sharing a ski house.  High-speed quads are very efficient, just not when it comes to forging friendships.

The Red Chair delivers over 1600 vertical in one full shot.  Magic has no trail pods so everything starts and finishes at the red.  Trail pods in the east tend to be 800-1000 vertical offering a quick up and down.  Magic was designed to maximize its vertical delivering up to 1.6 miles of down time. If you knock out Magic top to bottom without stopping, you will want the twelve-minute ride, I promise.

I hope to spend hours on the Red Chair and with the Black Chair running backup and Holidays this season, lines should be even shorter.  Now come make those lines happen, grab some powder and make a friend.

When Blackline Was Liftline

Filed Under (History Updates, Mountain Snapshots) by admin on 30-10-2010

Harley was kind enough to provide us with this shot from the top of the Blue Chair (Now Black) in 1983.  At first glance it looks much as it does today, then you start to notice some of the differences.

The lift towers look the same but there are blue double chairs hanging from the line.  In 1986 the original lift was upgraded with black triple chairs.   That year also saw the mid-station vanish.

Another cool feature are the low trees on skiers right of Blackline.  Low trees mixed in with the scattered rock bands sure must have made for fun terrain.

Notice that the back lot was plowed down to the dirt, no longer a necessity in the age of 4WD and traction control.

Come help fill that lot this year and check out the view in person.  If you haven’t seen it since 1983, come see how little has changed.

Magic’s Resident Wizard

Filed Under (History Updates, Mountain Snapshots) by admin on 10-08-2010

If you have ever been to Magic you have to know this building.  Much like the Blue Gentian, The Alpina Haus was part of Hans Thorner’s master plan to build a Swiss Village in Southern Vermont.

Kenneth and Wilma Birdsey ran this Motel/Restaurant/Dairy Bar during Magic’s early years.  The hotel was eventually sold and renamed the Posthorn.  The Posthorn featured a restaurant and bar.  In the Late 80‘s it was sold again and renamed the Country Hare Inn and run by Bev and Wally Plachta. The inn section of the building has since been converted to apartments.

Most current Magic skiers will recognize this building as Snow Wizard’s.  Magic’s resident ski shop is run by one of the finest men in the ski industry, Dick Stillson.  Snow Wizards specializes in expert repair work and rental equipment, but has plenty of clothing, snowboards, skis and accessories to go around.  Snow Wizard’s also organizes the annual Craig Potter Memorial Black Magic Challenge, now an official Ski The East event.  Look for Snow Wizard’s new website this fall!

See what it is like to visit a ski shop where the staff takes the time to learn your name.  Think that ski has seen its day?  Bring it to Dick and watch the Wizard work his Magic.

Mountain Snapshot: The Blue Gentian

Filed Under (History Updates, Mountain Snapshots) by admin on 21-07-2010

Look Familiar? It should, The Blue Gentian has been lovingly maintained by Lisa Sicotte and Kenneth Alberti since 1994.

The Gentian opened in 1962 and was part of Hans Thorner’s original Swiss themed base village plan.  The inn was first run by Beth and Harry Littleton and featured “Homemade Bread & Country Cooking.” The Kidde family bought the hotel in 1972 and ran it for 24 years.

In 1994 the current owners took a leap of faith and purchased The Gentian with Magic shuttered and the lodge in need of great repair.

The Lodge has been renovated in accordance with the original design.  New bathrooms, and other extensive renovations provide a spotless, modern, yet authentic Magic experience.

One of my fondest memories is staying at the Gentian the night before the biggest blizzard of 2003.  My Wrangler couldn’t make it any further up Route 100 to my friend’s house, so we stayed there last minute to get the powder in the morning.

If you really want to try the authentic Magic experience, stay at The Gentian this winter one weekend and walk to the lifts, Goniff’s Den or the Loose Moose Tavern.  Forget about your car for 2 days and get to understand what Magic is all about,.

“Where the Mountain and Village are One”