On the Cords: Castlerock Tradition

We got a real treat this week with over a foot of snow in two days that made skiing on the east coast unreal. It’s not often you get perfect, out-of-this-world ski days but this week was unmatched. If you ask any skier or rider to name their top ski days, they’ll probably be able to give you a list of when and where their best days were. This week I was definitely able to add to my list. The snow continued to fall all day Monday as the mountain was open and tracks were being made, which only meant closed trails were really racking up the inches. I got the chance to go up early Tuesday morning with the marketing team and boy has it been a minute since I’ve skied that hard. Thanks to the radio strapped to my chest, we got word that hiking to Castlerock was set to open up. After debating on whether or not to wait in the cold for the ropes to drop, it was decided to stick it out.

There’s a tradition here at Sugarbush that you can only experience once a year because, after the first or second day, you’ve officially missed the peak of dreamlike conditions. Castlerock historically is one of the last areas of the mountain to open due to the fact there is no snowmaking, and everything is left as natural terrain. Additionally, patrol allows hiking to the peak before the lift starts spinning for the season, meaning untouched terrain. With no grooming, no skinning, and no snowmaking, the natural snow piles up. Locals know that it is a thrill to be able to be one of the first people down Castlerock and it’s a feeling that’s anticipated every season. The hike itself makes earning your turns just a little bit sweeter, and I was about to get a taste of some of the sweetest conditions ever.

Ear glued to the radio, we waited for patrol to give the all-clear for dropping the ropes. Finally, patrol began to make their way through the crowd gathered at the start of the hiking trail and we began our trek across the ridge. After a quick 30 minute hike and tired legs, we were ready to strap in and hit the powder. Starting off of Castlerock Run we made our way through some of the deepest powder I’ve experienced. The whole way down felt like an absolute dream. There’s a point in a skier’s (or rider’s) life where you get a taste of complete bliss while riding and after that first experience, you begin to chase the feeling of weightlessness. It had been a while since I’ve experienced something like that and after this week, I’m back in the chase.

This hidden gem right in the valley is just another one of the reasons people come back to the mountain day after day, season after season. Even though I only got a small taste of Castlerock, I am beyond excited to get some turns up there once the lift starts spinning.