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What a day! Cool temps but no wind and not a cloud in the sky made
for an experience I'm still trying to process completely.  I had not
skied Stratton since about 1984, so I was interested in the changes
since.
  It's a small city now. If you are a lowly day tripper you park in a
far parking lot and ride a bus to a subterrainian concrete portal
from which you climb some 60 vertical feet back to daylight. The
immensity of this single mountain is amazing.  All on this day there
was the Rossignol/Lexus/Tomba race, a pro-am snowboard competition on
the big half pipe on lower Suntanner, a junior (teen) G.S race on
North American, and Slalom training on World Cup, and none of this
impinged on our skiing.
The skiing: not a rock or bare spot found. Cold dry powder packed
into a near solid ice base. Stratton is uniformly wide blue square to
not quite black diamond. It is groomed smooth almost every where,
except on the few steep shots. Upper Standard, the massive wide swath
down the middle mountain actually goes off fall line so it doesn't
ski like it looks. They had manufactured bumps on skiers left, bumps
that were totally out of proportion to the actual incline of the
slope, and frozen hard.  We skied the (to me) new Kidderbrook run
under the same named chair. It's a long, straight Stratton run of,
like, 1600 vert. However, they did cut some new double black (at
Stratton) pitches off this that made the day more interesting. A lot
more woods cleared for glades although I found the powder was mostly
cardboard, and I did not want my son wrapped a around a maple tree.
Also, my skis had been recently tuned, and the wax was stickey as
hell except on ice, I was surprised,as I had even rubbed on some cold
snow wax,
but this powder was super cold fine grained, and dry. And I think
they put too much structure in the stone grind, you want very little
when cold and dry, right?
  We found Mr. Tomba for a photo with Forest and an autograph. Did we
see him race? No. Did we see him ski? Yes, in an easy wedge from the
base of the race course to the lodge, with some blonde female
standing on the tails, holding his waist for a ride. Always a few
females around him, although he looked O.K, not fat or anything. In
the morning they said he was out free skiing, I would have liked to
tag along, but at Stratton he might have been a little bored.
 We ended up skiing Lower  Downeaster over at the Sun Bowl, where
they had a terrain park. We worked on getting "big" air, which Forest
really digs, and working on the banked turn thing. It was good
practice for me too, not being a big air person.
  Anyway, Stratton is really a trip. Big money, big condos, huge
private homes - I think they simply tore down some of the original
houses built in the 60's, to build these trophy houses.
   We never went inside all day, except to pee, the weather being so
fine, and burgers and rock music served on the deck. We left at 3:30
to catch the game.  Good to see how the "other side" skis, but at $52
per adult, once is enough for awhile.
     Later - Stuart G. Cole