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Hopped over to Magic for the first time this year.  Crowd, more like group,
of skiers was more than I had seen on my visits the past two years.  A few
times we had to wait about 2 minutes for the lifts,and the lodge was kind of
full during the day, though it was always possible to get a table.  So what
I'm saying is that it appears like Magic is going to make it. But as Chris
said it does need help.
Skiing was quite good.  Started on the West with Talisman,--some grooming on
the bumps made for some tricky conditions, but very good cover.  Next went
into Twilight Zone--coverage was fine except for some pucker-bush. A little
closer trimming on this, Goniff Glade, Under the Triple (can't think of the
name), and middle Master Magician will get this place back to what it was.
Twilight and Goniff were skiable however, the pucker-bush just made a-bit
trickier than normal.  12 more inches of snow should cover it.
Kept alternating East and West side through the morning and into the early
afternoon, then I did everything once again, until I covered just about
everything twice.  Woods that we skied last year at the testo-fest appeared
virtually untracked.  Since I was alone and a bit unsure, I stayed out.
Jeremy will report on these later.  He went to Magic today (Sunday).
Lodge is still homey, but with little other than a small cafeteria for food.
Great place for picnic lunches though. I ate mine on the deck, sharing my
bagel and cream cheese with a hungry dog.

I know everyone likes the terrain at Magic, and I do too.  Its steeps are
the best in Southern VT, but the trail and lift layout could be a lot
better.  When they put up the Red Chair they really blew an opportunity to
open some good stuff further to the left.  The Chair should have gone
diagonally to the left, reaching the ridge a little higher up.  That stuff
would have added some length to the intermediate trails on the left (looking
up).  And the crossing trail through the middle of that East side is a
waste. It cuts off what could be some good sustained pitches.  Coming out of
Goniff and Twilight Zone would be much better if the trail continued down
the steep pitch instead of getting cut off by that middle highway.

The traverse to the West is also annoying and somewhat dangerous.  I guess
it is necessary because of the rock ledge that traverses the high part of
the ridge, but another lift should have been constructed to the right to
serve the steeper west terrain and reduce the traffic on that traverse.
I'm pretty sure that Magic will have a hard enough time just trying to
maintain the area as it is, without the expenses of new lifts.  But I think
that poor trail design was one of the contributing factors to its demise.
Instead of the two chairs up the middle with the traverses each way, it
would have been better to put two chairs off at opposing angles: one to the
East serving intermediate terrain, and one to the west serving the expert
stuff.  Trails could have twisted down the mountain at varying pitches, and
they could have connected one to each other, but without the upper and lower
traversing trails cutting off the sustained pitches.

For now though they have to work on 1. a bit more clearing of established
trails and of some of the woods areas (great potential). 2. A bit more
snow-making and grooming (I know this is sacrilegious, but this is southern
VT and at a fairly low elevation.)  and 3. getting the base lodge to look
more like a ski area and less like a YMCA rec room.  (The MRG Base Box has a
bar and fireplace.)  Either one would do here.

Ed

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