Middlebury College's Snow Bowl: The Last of a Dying Breed

by Trina Hosmer ‘00

The leaves have fallen to the ground or are about to embark upon their journey, torn away by the biting November wind.  The mud that sucked down your sneakers only weeks before is beginning to firm up.  Let’s face it, you haven’t seen the sun in weeks and the cold rain is bumming you out.  It’s about this time that “The Big Pass,” a season’s ticket to skiing several mountains in New England, becomes tantalizing.  But really, is a trip to Killington to ski one scantily covered trail really worth ruining your brand new skis?  You’re best off to hold out and spend your time preparing for Middlebury’s own Snow Bowl.  If you’ve made your decision to invest in the Big Pass based on comparing trail maps, you’ve been deceived.  The map shows nothing the Bowl has to offer.  There aren’t high-speed quads, summit lodges or one piece Bogner suits at the Bowl.  In fact styles range anywhere from the late 50s to today’s latest gear.  At the Snow Bowl you will never wait in line, you will never pay a small fortune to ski for a day.  Your fellow skiers will even wave and call your name as you ski by, rather than making obscene gestures and using foul language to express their displeasure at being passed.  And if you think the Bowl’s terrain is not difficult or extreme enough for you, you’re once again mistaken.  The Mac truck size rolls on Ross have been known to take a few knees and ribs from top collegiate racers.  You best be on your toes on Allen as well.  The cliff on the skier’s right can jump out at you, leading to an embarrassing yard sale for your latest crush to laugh at as they ride up on the lift.  And if this is not enough for you, head to the back bowls.  They are not covered in powder, as Vail’s are, but are equally enjoyable.  Sit back, arc turns, just avoid cruise control; a few dirt spots are intentionally placed as obstacles to turn blue squares into black diamonds.

The Snow Bowl is a dying breed of ski mountains, like romantics say of the rugged cowboy.  It gives a look into the past while still allowing the timeless sport of skiing to be enjoyed (or snowboarding if you prefer).  If you’re not convinced just take a trip up there and take a few runs.  It’s not about looking good or showing-off. It’s about the right things, like having fun, getting outside and making some turns.  At the end of the day you can stop at the Waybury Inn for a drink using all that money you saved from not buying the Big Pass.

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