It was quite the memorable 2012-13 ski and ride season with some of the best conditions ever taking us into early April!
And, as always around here, it takes a community of faithful winter-lovers to make it happen. There were times early on when our patience was surely tested, but in the end, our collective belief in Magic gave us many rewards. The operations crew first battled the lack of natural snow and inconsistent temperatures in December as they worked furiously to overcome sporadic snowmaking conditions to open Christmas Week. Then, when it did finally snow over Christmas Week with an epic 18″ powder day, it was followed by the shutdown of the Red Chair during New Year’s. Extremely Painful.
Many questioned how Magic would respond to adversity. We faced it head-on, openly and with the urgency of now. Parts were flown in and the crew busted their butts to get Ol’ Red back up and running for the next weekend while also making snow. Skiers began to return immediately but, then after MLK weekend, winter decided to take a bit of a hiatus. Two separate 50 degree+ January thaw weeks virtually wiped out all snow except for the man-made variety. When cold weather returned at the start of February, late nights were again in store for all snowmakers as Magic continued to lay down more snow than ever before in the last 15 years to cover key east side and west side terrain. And, with the high-performance Yellow Cat “back in the house”, the grooming team kept the trails in unbelievable shape for the rest of the winter.
Mother Nature also started to lend a hand with a February 8th-9th storm dropping 14″ and powder days were here again! And the pow days kept coming…into March! With both the Red and Black chairs spinning and almost all the trails open for February, March and into April, the skiers and riders kept coming–many for the first time. While the parking lots were filling up, the lines were minimal and the slopes were still un-crowded thanks to the beauty of dual top-to-bottom non-high speed lifts. Magic’s gnarliest trails (Black Magic, Upper Magician, Red Line, Goniff, Slide of Hans) and boundary-to-boundary glades were all in play!
First-timers couldn’t believe Magic’s terrain and they fell in love with the people and vibe of the place. They saw something real, natural, challenging and friendly–and many decided to return, over and over again. So much so that even after a less than stellar start, the year ended up being one for the record books! But, most importantly, the fun meter was high both on and off the slopes. The kids race and freeride programs were larger than ever with more medals won at races and great showings at extreme skiing events like Magic’s Southern Vermont Freeskiing Challenge. The Black Line Tavern was hopping with apres ski music and events like the Share the Magic Party, 50 Years+ Retro Day, WinterFest, Get Your Irish Up Big Air Funfest, Spring Fling and Costume Day among others. New friends were made and old friendships were deepened.
Sometimes the trials and tribulations reveal a lot more about the character of a place than the successes. The early season tested every one–both mountain staff and patrons. But with a commitment to make it right and do every thing possible to get back in the game quickly, Magic showed what can be accomplished when a community sticks together through adversity. While we may be small in number versus the mega-resorts, this ski community is big where it counts–in heart and soul.
So as we prepare for the opening of TimberQuest’s high trees obstacle courses this Memorial Day Weekend, we also begin an important off-season program of maintenance, repair and improvements. In 2013-14 Magic will have more snowmaking earlier, new glades cleared, both Red and Black lifts operating from Day One, and, quite simply, more mountain for all to enjoy. And, we will do it together with the help of all those who buy Magic season passes, Magic Cards and tickets, and our army of volunteers on fall work weekends. And a special thanks goes out to our new and growing list of Magic Faithful Club members who will be providing additional capital for projects they approve from Magic management–for example, new energy efficient snow guns–which will help insure an authentic Vermont ski area is here to enjoy not only next season, but for future generations.