There are a few dates on the calendar every winter that make for impossible choices. The weekends around holidays and school vacations guarantee packed parking lots and lodges and long lines almost any place a skier decides to go. Some places are better then others but it can be hard to predict. To my thinking, the Indy Pass hills are always a good bet to at least minimize crowding even if you can’t avoid it completely.
With that in mind, after my usual dithering, I decided to head for Magic. We didn’t get out the door quite as early as I planned but still made it to the hill around 9 AM. As I redeemed a Champlain Ski Card ticket for myself and an Indy Pass ticket for Junior, I noticed that there was a Freeride World Tour qualifying event being held on the hill that day. Well that’ll account for some extra skiers on the hill, I thought, hopefully not too many. Being an Internet Skier, as we headed out to the lifts I had a few descriptions (jacket, pants, helmet) in my head of folks from the NYSkiBlog and TGR forums whom I had discussed the days plans with.
When we finally got to the snow, it was just as the FWT people were hitting the lift for their first ride to the top so there was a decent sized line on the red chair. No line on the green chair so we skied right on there instead. Our first run was a quick cut through Warlock to ski the line directly the green chair. It was pretty boney in there but we mostly avoided the rocks and got to the bottom okay. On our second or third ride we spotted NYSnowflake and her husband from the lift and called out. They looked like they were having fun.
I was hoping the line on the Red Chair would dissipate quickly once that first crowd of skiers was up top but it didn’t so we resolved to be patient and got on line. It took about twenty minutes to board. Junior had never skied Magic’s West side at all and I’d never been there when they had so much terrain open so that’s where we headed. My son did great on Talisman. The snow quality was great in my opinion, very carveable and good coverage. Seeing him get better over the years has been really exciting for me. At this point I think it’s just a matter of time before he’s better then me, which is something I’m really looking forward to.
Eventually we hooked up with GetAmped. It would have been awesome to learn some of the secret spots from him but since we were staying out of the woods mostly, finding our way around was pretty straightforward. Still, we did a few runs with him, starting with Sorcerer, which was loads of fun. Great guy, as far as I can tell, and obviously a great skier.
That’s how it went all day. Just one fun West side run after another. Talisman stayed fun shape all day. The coverage on Slide of Hans wasn’t quite as good as Talisman but it was a lot of fun. I can see how it would be spectacular on a powder day. Honestly the lift lines didn’t really dissipate all day. We were happy to enjoy the sunny skies, soft snow and the friendly laid back vibe Magic is known for even though we didn’t get in as many runs as we might have liked. As closing time approached, we shifted back to the Green Chair for some cruiser laps on the lower mountain to wind things down. The lifts closed at 4 PM and we reluctantly headed inside to de-boot.
The FWT guys were handing out prizes on the back deck and there was live music in the Black Line Tavern. Magic was hopping for sure but I was ready to head home. I relaxed in the passenger seat and let my son take the wheel. What a luxury having a kid with a drivers license has turned out to be. We made our way back across the border to the Ted’s Fish Fry on route 7 in Troy and, after a tasty light meal, headed back south to home.
I do feel bad that Magic maybe didn’t put its best foot forward for NYSnowflakes’ first visit. Hopefully they can make it back when things are a little calmer. The combination of the FWT and the tail end of the kiddies being on vacation made it a bit less Magicish then normal.
Junior is skiing better and better. If I can get him and his brother to submit to a lesson or two, their skill level will really spike.
Nice report, the larger crowd is the only reason I went black-out this season, after the cluster during MLK last season there. Magic has spoiled me, beyond repair, to reject lift lines. I'll go full pass again next season with the expectation that the black chair will eliminate that issue, even during the holidays. FWIW, I don't think races, of any kind, should be held during holidays there.
If that doesn't work out, I have a new mountain to the north I have my eye on..