Yesterday the weather was expected to be relatively mild, and the snowpack is in nice shape (plenty of new snow and 70+ inches at the stake), so Dylan and I joined E and Ty at Stowe for some turns.  We didnít get around into the powder like we did on Saturday at Bolton, but I can say that the groomed and ungroomed surfaces at Spruce were excellent.  The packed powder is super soft after over two feet from the Wednesday and Friday snowfall events, and finding signs of ice was pretty much impossible.  I only skied the bottom half of Spruce, and Iím sure thereís some sort of hard snow somewhere out there, but darned if I could find it.  The conditions were about as care free as one could want, and temperatures in the Spruce Base area were probably up around 30 F.  The huge open expanse of terrain on the bottom half of Spruce really is great for learning (as I found out with Dylan); each run you can slowly work your way over a few feet to the next line and gradually build up from green circles all the way to black diamond pitch.


I wasnít too surprised by the snow conditions, but I was not expecting what I found at Stoweís new base lodge facility at Spruce.  This was my first time over at Spruce since the Spruce Camp opened up, and I was blown away by what theyíve done there.  Itís literally on a scale (both in terms of size and class), that is comparable with what Iíve seen in day or mid mountain lodges anywhere in the country, even places like Deer Valley, Whistler, or Moonlight Basin.  They have a fantastic new changing area downstairs that has plenty of space to spread out, and rows upon rows of free day lockers with electronic key pad locks.  It was a nice environment for all the kids and parents to gather and get changed.  We had lunch upstairs in the cafeteria, and itís quite snazzy, with real silverware and attendants bussing tables etc.  There are several different stations for getting various types of food, but weíd already brought our own food and I didnít have a chance to see them all.  Like downstairs, another nice touch in the cafeteria is the fact that they didnít try to crowd a million tables into a space thatís too small for them, thereís generally plenty of space to walk past any table, even if the person has their chair out.  I wish other ski areas would take this approach sometimes.  Stowe certainly seems to be putting in some big time destination-style facilities at Spruce; hopefully they can keep people visiting the mountain during this economic downturn.  In terms of destination visitors, I did hear a lot of Brits around, which seems typical.  They certainly were getting treated to some nice snow conditions on their holidays.


Dylan and I will probably be visiting Stowe more this season with Ty and E as long as the conditions are decent, so it will be interesting to find out more about the facilities.  I know Mansfield is the big draw of Stowe, but Iíd recommend a quick trip on the Easy Over to check out the Spruce Base area if you find yourself at the resort; itís certainly worth a look.


I donít really have any conditions-specific shots from the day, but I did get a few shots from around the Spruce base area:







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