Tags: glades, Magic Mountain, New England, ski, ski areas, ski resorts, skiing, snowboarding, tree skiing, Vermont, volunteers
Posted: October 18, 2013
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As an independent, boot-strapping, community-minded ski area, Magic believes its loyal skiers and riders are an essential component of what sets this mountain apart from much of the ski industry. The “regulars” seem to have a natural “friendliness gene” which makes first-timers feel so welcome by the end of the day that many visitors quickly sense there’s something different going on here–and that they can be as much a part of what’s happening as someone who’s been here hundreds of times. (As an example, I remember video-interviewing a first-time Magic skier last December 26th on his family’s first trip here. Steve had bought season passes and now has already showed up to work a Volunteer Day this last weekend!)
Strip away everything and it really comes down to two simple things which make Magic distinct:
1. Its natural ski terrain (the mountain)
2. Its natural ski vibe (Magic’s skiers/riders aka “the faithful”)
We often pay homage to the classic 1960s-style narrow ski trails which take the many fall lines off the ridge and the hundreds of acres of the best tree skiing and riding in the East. But much less attention gets focused on Magic’s skiers and riders.
Why would a ski resort promote its customers? There’s always new million dollar snowmaking equipment, multi-pack supersonic lifts, added luxury hotels and waterparks that are much more exciting “news”. I mean, aren’t most skiers basically the same and wanting the same thing wherever you go? Judging by where much of the ski industry has gone, the corporations certainly act that way.
Well. anyone who has been here knows there’s something very different than just the challenging terrain, classic lifts and old-school ticket wickets at Magic. I mean, sometimes it’s really hard to tell who are the “customers” and who are the Magic employees. That’s because our customers are not “guests”, they are extended family–all coming home for the winter. This merry band of winter enthusiasts truly represents Magic. They are certainly “hardy souls” who have been tested many times by both nature and man-made obstacles. But, more importantly, they are “hearty souls”…
The Magic faithful simply welcome visitors as if they’re invited guests to their home (no we don’t have “ambassadors” saying “good morning” for a free ticket). Our skiers just do that naturally. More often than not if you’ve never been here before, they’d be happy to take you down some trails or show you a hidden glade–just ask them (although maybe not on the first runs of a powder day). They will certainly chat you up on the Red Chair and, believe me, they will talk about all the great lines they had during apres ski at the Black Line Tavern. There the merry band gets a whole lot merrier when its “beer-thirty” and the band will quickly grow another person larger if you stop by.
But besides being deeply passionate about winter sports and appreciating every thing that the mountain terrain here offers, the Magic faithful help care for the place each season. Not only do some give hard-earned money for key improvement projects, we also know help is only a ski pole away if some project or event needs an extra hand during the ski season. And, during the off-season, many take a weekend or two off to come back and work on prepping Magic for another winter. Formalized a few years back into “Volunteer Days”, our skiers head here to clean up trails, clear new glades, paint the buildings, repair furniture, put in sound systems, and build new picnic tables. (You can view a video of their recent work here)
No mega-resort will do this because everything must be perfectly laid-out by corporate design. But the passionate involvement and energy of our people is our design. As you know, Magic will never be about manufacturing a perfect ski resort environment. We can’t and don’t want to keep up with the Joneses. But with the help of our regulars, an environment is in fact created here–an all-natural one (with no artificial flavoring added). And it’s a little bit different every day. Ain’t that more interesting?
So after two very successful and hard-working Volunteer Days, all we here at Magic can say is “THANK YOU!” Magic is not about us…it’s about you, and you guys prove it every year.
Tags: fall foliage, glades, Magic, Magic Mountain, ski, skiing, snowboarding, Vermont, Volunteer, winter
Posted: September 19, 2013
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But first, we need to get prepared! And, the fall is the perfect transitional season in New England. First we start to feel the cooler nights. Then we wake up to an early morning frost. But still the days can be sunny and pleasant with temperatures in the 60s. We make efforts to exercise more–especially for the legs. And, we check in on the state of our skis, boots and poles. Both the mind and body begin to prepare for the colder weather and the anticipation of what comes with it.
And like us, the mountain begins its preparation for winter as well. The ground begins to harden at night. The mountain grass doesn’t grow as fast. The leaves begin to change color and eventually drop. The evening shadows fall across the mountain sooner. All portending the coming snow that will blanket the hill.
This is also the time of stepped up activity on the mountain. The operations crew does the final mowing so trails are ready for the first few inches of whiteness. The chair lifts go through final maintenance, testing and inspection so they can transport folks up the hill. The snowmaking system begins to be brought back to life with old and new pipes welded, new guns purchased and pumping system tested so it’s ready to lay down tracks of snow come the November drop in temperatures.
And just as important as everything the operations team does, the rhythm of Magic’s autumn includes the footsteps of many of our skiers and riders fanning out over Magic to help clean and clear glades and work around the lodge–all in harmony with the mountain to help her welcome guests come winter time.
When Magic Volunteers arrive on September 21 and October 12, we know that winter is coming, because first…there’s work to do!
Update: Here’s a video from the 9/21 Volunteer Day–come on out for 10/12!
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Tags: glades, Magic Mountain, ski, skiing, snowboarding, southern Vermont, tree skiing, vacations, Vermont
Posted: September 24, 2012
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Ready for a lift up the hill on the Red Chair
The first day of fall was also the first day of volunteer projects at Magic. And what a beautiful day it was to gather as a ski community and help prep the mountain for the coming winter season.
At least 40 people came to trim current glades, create new ones, and spurce up the lodge and deck. Thanks to all that came–you truly represent the spirit and dedication needed to keep an independent ski area vibrant in an era of large corporate resort entities.
The first glades crew went up at 9 am to tackle the mountain’s largest glade which is now “officially” on the map: The Wardrobe. It is steep and vast as it lies between both Sorcerer and Talisman. The crew cleaned it up and cleared it out to make the fall line to skier’s-right more accessible. But while the objective was The Wardrobe, the crew hit another great spot, not to be mentioned here, which is not on the official map, making a great new line for the upcoming season.
The first team cutting a new line
At 10 am the next crew headed up to the East Side of the hill to hit glades both on and off the map…”on” being Disappearing Act which now has a new skier’s-right route and “off” being a baby called “Up Your Shirt”. Also on the East Side there was an additional crew of pros weed wacking both Goniff Glade and Twilight Zone–two trails that only “goats” with power tools can handle.
Meanwhile back down below, volunteers were busy painting and repairing the lodge–with plans for a new sound system for the outdoor deck!
So with sun and temps in the 70s as the leaves start to turn, Magic was a hub of work this saturday, while customers also flowed in to challenge themselves in the new TimberQuest tree-crossing obstacle courses. But lest you think Magic is all work and no play–all our volunteers came together at day’s end to share a few cold ones, some food and talk about the new hidden stashes which await the new season. And with that, Day #1 was in the books, with two more Volunteer Days coming on October 6th and 20th.