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Mad River — Mountain layout

Mountain Layout—Skiing

Experts will have a field day here: tight woods (bring your duct tape), cliffs, waterfalls, monster moguls, boulders—all covered in snow made by Mother Nature herself. If you’re an intermediate looking for day-long challenge, this is definitely the place to test your mettle. Most beginners and first-timers should stay clear of this resort, it’s not for the faint of heart. However, learn to ski here, and little will daunt you elsewhere.

Free guided mountain tours are offered on weekends and holidays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Heres a larger, more detailed trail map.

Expert, Advanced:

Experts will be happy just about anywhere at Mad River Glen, especially after a snowstorm when the bumps become gigantic. One nice feature thats a throwback to tradition is the areas refusal to make much snow. All of the expert terrain is covered with natural snow (when it falls), so it bumps up nicely and doesn get as icy as the Easts other resorts.

While the line for the single chair is usually about 10 minutes long, it can approach 45 minutes on peak holidays and good powder days, and the real experts happily wait. From the top of this historic lift, experts can immediately drop down the Chute under the lift or traverse to Catamount Bowl, one of the most wide-open runs on the mountain. For more of a challenge, find a guide or hook up with a local and venture into the area called Paradise, entered by dropping down a five-foot waterfall. Ask around for Octopuss Garden and the 19th and 20th Holes. If you look like you know how to ski, a local may direct you to these.

At the single chairs midstation, tree skiing beckons through the Glades to the right as you ski off the chair. Experts with tired legs can traverse on Broadway and drop down wide-open Grand Canyon.

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Intermediate:

Mad River Glen is not known for its cruiser runs, and if intermediates find themselves at the top of the single chair, they have only one route down, upper Antelope, which splits into Catamount after a few turns. Both runs are quite narrow, and intermediates should beware: About halfway down, Antelope veers off into the woods, gets steeper, and, hard to believe, even narrower. Unless you
e up for a challenge, follow Broadway under the lift, and head to the other side of the mountain.

Intermediates will find a better selection of terrain off the Sunnyside Chair. Quacky to Porcupine is a nice run. Bunny will also take you from Quacky to the base. To the right of the chair is a series of expert trails, Panther, Partridge, Slalom Hill and Gazelle, most of which empty into Birdland. Confident intermediates will find these runs challenging, if not downright scary, and a missed turn may mean you have to side-slip into a trail.

If you feel like you
e ready to tackle MRGs classic terrain (i.e., the woods), give yourself a sampler. From the top of the Sunnyside chair, take Fox to the big intersection and traverse straight into the woods. The trees soon open up into the Glades. If this trail seems fun, congratulations! You
e ready for the tough stuff. If you
e intimidated, bail out on Bunny.

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Beginner, First-timer:

Birdland is ostensibly the beginner area, but to get there, you have to have good route-finding skills. Otherwise, youll find yourself at the top of an overly-moguled expert pitch vowing to give up the sport. Take the Sunnyside chair to the top, then follow Fox to Snail, catwalks that will take you to the land of green circles. Granted, Duck, Lark, Robin, Wren and Loon are for beginners, but intermediates will find the pitch is comfortable.

Learn to ski here, and little will daunt you elsewhere, but be aware that the Birdland Chair runs only on weekends and holidays. During those times, however, a novice-level skier can spend an entire day here, dining at the Birdcage lodge at the bottom of Birdland, and avoiding the sometimes long base-area lift lines. Mad Rivers old-fashioned lifts also mean less on-trail skier traffic, which beginners will welcome.

While few think of Mad River Glen as the best place for a first-timer, the Callies Corner rope tow is isolated at the base and provides a nice venue for an easy intro.

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