Bring on the Night Skiing!
In mid-December, Magic Mountain opened its new terrain park… under the lights. What was once Magic’s tubing are is now the only nighttime terrain park in southern Vermont: a flourishing garden of rails, boxes, jumps, hips, and any other unique feature the parks crew can come up with.
“Southern Vermont has always been a place where snowboarding history is kind of made.” Said Sam Eisenhauer, a member of the parks crew and resident of Londonderry, the town where Jake Burton Carpenter first began making his snowboards. “It’s kind of cool to build on that and attract a lot of kids who are kind of frustrated with the corporate nature of other resorts.”
Ian Anglum, 19, of Manchester is one of those kids. “[At night] you kind of feel closed off from the entire mountain and it’s just this one specific area. It’s almost like a skatepark…it definitely gives off a different feeling,” he says. “Having that younger demographic actually sculpting how they want the park to look and having the dudes that know how to run the machinery is really helping.”
The parks crew makes do with what they have. New features are formed from leftovers of other projects or old snowmaking pipes they have around the mountain. Rather than hindering the design and build process, recycling brings out unique ingenuity. When building a feature, Magic’s crew considers how it can be utilized in multiple ways. “[We] figure out, you know, is this something that would be fun to ride and also is it something where it doesn’t just serve one purpose?” Said Eisenhauer. Features such as rails, boxes, and tubes are often be moved or rotated to create different features and lines through the park.
One advantage of being a small mountain is that the parks crew has a lot of control over snow allocation. “With a cat driver, we can just spend a whole night in here pushing little mounds or hips and little bumps in the snow that I think another mountain wouldn’t necessarily create,” says Eisenhauer. Creativity and adaptability are essential, and the turnout has showcased that it pays off.
Restrictions due to COVID-19 have limited the number of people allowed each night and made social distancing a major priority. The after-hours park is open Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays from 4-7 P.M. Tickets are $29.
The After Hours Clubs: Other Places to Night Ski
Bolton Valley is the largest resort to offer night skiing in Vermont: running a tow rope, two double chairs, and a quad. Currently, eight trails are open, offering top to bottom access. Just thirty minutes from both Burlington and Montpelier, it’s a great opportunity to get some laps in after work. Night skiing is Tuesday through Saturday from 4-10 P.M. Tickets are $25.
Cochran’s Ski Area gets lit up on Friday nights for their famous Friday Night Lights sessions. The mountain T-bar runs up brightly lit slopes where the next generation of Olympians are often training, following in the Cochran family’s winning legacy. While the Friday night lasagna dinners have been curtailed due to the pandemic, the lift tickets are $5 for everyone on Friday nights.
Other tiny ski areas that turn on the lights include Hard’Ack Recreation Area (3 pm to 6 pm) in St. Albans, Brattleboro Ski Hill (Saturday nights until 9 pm), and the Lyndon Outing Club (Friday and Saturdays until 9m) and, on special evenings, Northeast Slopes in East Corinth. Ascutney Outdoors has offered Thursday night races in past years but will not this year due to COVID regulations. Many of these smaller area’s hours are dependent on snow conditions