Here is the lift line for the red chair (double) at Magic Mountain on Saturday, February 22nd, at 1:30pm. Line extends somewhat beyond the picture but I wasn’t able to get any further back to get it into the photo. Many people told us they had never ever seen lines that long in their experience at Magic.
We got two runs in right when the lifts opened, and walked right on. Because I’ve never been to Magic before I started with the green run and that was in pretty nice shape- at least the top half had nice fresh corduroy and was interesting for a green. On the bottom half, I think that the groomer got lost and never came back to finish it. It was really rough and churned up for a green.
Next, we took a run on Up Your Sleeve, which I definitely liked! Then the lines got long and we stayed on the green chair the rest of the day except for one longish wait in line for the Red Chair. Mystery had interesting terrain but the icy spots were less than fun. The best runs were on Show Off where the snow was excellent all day and we could ski through the race gates if we wanted to. Carumba also skied well all day. Most of the other trails had a significant amount of ice interspersed with decent snow. I really didn’t feel comfortable getting on edge on these trails because there were so many icy spots. I found Wizard to be OK, but not Wow. It seemed more like an access road. My husband took a run on Talisman and said the snow was ok, icy in spots, and steep. He said I could have skied it but I probably would not love it that particular day. I wasn’t inspired to stand in the long red line again so I didn’t try Tali. My skis were also long overdue for a tune so that probably played a role as well. It was fun watching people come down the challenging runs under the lift line. Overall I think the caliber of skier at Magic, visible from the chairlift, was superior to most other places I have skied. I’d like to go back but I would not go back on a holiday Saturday, will probably wait for more fresh snow to visit again.
The aprės ski scene was hoppin’ at the Black Line, and we were impressed with that community vibe and live music.
I was there both weekends and President's Day and I've definitely had longer wait times on previous holidays. Of the 5 days, the 22nd had waits up to about 20 minutes which is quite long for Magic. Round trip to sit on the Red chair was about 40 minutes (12 up, 8 down, 20 in line). Certainly having the competition on that day contributed to additional skier traffic. That said, I saw quite a few people I knew who were now skiing further north (Stowe, MRG, etc.) who were there because they expected the lines at Magic to be considerably shorter than their current home mountains. I can't even imagine what it was like at the other southern VT areas.
The other payoff for Magic is, once you get off the chair, the slopes are not crowded. They only put a limited number of skiers on the mountain with fixed grip chairs.
Conditions certainly were variable. My assessment is likely to be somewhat different only because I generally enjoy that variability. And my skis are tuned so I'm not as concerned about the firmer parts which still were all edgeable (with sharp edges). Everything on the East side had pretty consistent, good quality groomed surfaces. Lower Magic Carpet below Up Your Sleeve is never all that good and I almost always opt to cut over to Lower Mystery instead. On the West side, the best skiing of the day was on Black Line after the comp was over. Both Witch and Broomstick were in fairly decent shape to make getting there less dangerous. It continued to be the run of the day on Sunday when we lapped it repeatedly. And wait times on Sunday were no more than 10 minutes in the morning dropping to nothing in the afternoon.
March will be the best time to be there. I expect they will spin Red until 5pm on Saturdays after the time change, making for some nice, long sunny days. I will certainly be there and, as Brownski found, I'm easily identified by the inappropriately stickered up helmet. We got in a few good runs together that afternoon.
Yeah, the trails were gloriously uncrowned. That’s a given, just like at Plattekill. Of course, once they get the black chair up and running, they’ll be able to handle much bigger crowds before any lift line accumulate. If it had been running on Saturday there would have been no wait at all. I posted a TR last night that includes a pic of the lift line on red. It’s not exactly Vail sized if you know what I mean. Just a little bit big by Magic standards
Yes, the absolute best time to hit Magic is a mid-week powder day. The past few I've attended have featured less than 100 skiers, and fresh tracks all day. That's when Magic is at it's best, in my eyes.