Dad...this place is SICK! That was the first thing junior ski partner said when we pulled into the Mansfield lot. Definitely. Sick.
We shipped our skis via UPS in a double ski tube for $85 round trip and it beat the heck out of lugging them on an airplane and worrying whether they would arrive.
Well...to the most important point, there was no shortage of SNOW! Check out the top of the Fourrunner Quad:
We spent our first day at Spruce. There are a lot of recent modern upgrades that make it easy if you are bringing one or more children along including a Deer Valley style lodge with good food, short, level walks, lots of free storage, and a very large, flexible changing area. Families could probably be happy spending their whole stay here. We found the terrain more than enough to keep us occupied for the first day.
Here is a nice long blue groomer that comes off the top of the Sensation Quad and winds through the woods. As soon as I found it I did laps on it all day:
Then I decided to go the other way off the lift, and thought I would try my luck on a black slope called "Upper Smuggs", but to me, I will always remember it as "Bad Idea". At the start things looked reasonable:
I should have checked the grooming report. Lots of bumps, no grooming and the pitch turned it into a major adventure. Yikes. Nice view of Mansfield though:
I made it down only falling once, but I returned to more comfortable terrain afterward. Need a little more practice. On the way down some instructors saw me in survival mode and pointed out that there were lots of bumps. Oh really?
Next, following encouragement, but not advice from Denis, I followed some kids into some powder and discovered that a 200lb man sinks deeper than a 10 year old. However, it was a good experience. My bindings did not release as I feared and I slid right through. Very short only about 25 yards, and hardly impressive but I got the idea.
For the more experienced, there was plenty of powder under the Sensation Quad. Pretty sure this is where Denis was referring to in his Stowe TR. And yes Denis, there was plenty of powder all over Spruce 3 days after the storm.
Under the Sensation Quad:
Then we headed over to Mansfield which is definitely more old-school. But if you want to take advantage of the comforts of Spruce you can park there and take the Over-Easy gondola to Mansfield. Its fun to ride. JSP is ready to head over:
We took the FourRunner Quad to the top:
Once there, I headed right and JSP headed left:
JSP pushes off on the way down from the quad:
She was determined to try one of the Front Four and so wisely chose LiftLine which was partially groomed. On her first run she got some free coaching from the lift riders which she said was really helpful. After that she just kept doing laps.
I stuck to the blues coming off the same lift and caught nice views of Spruce on the way down:
On Monday we had Mansfield relatively to ourselves.
We stayed until the lifts closed, changed and packed our stuff in the lodge, dropped the Skis at the handy UPS store in Stowe and made it to the airport in plenty of time for a 7pm flight home.
Summary: We are going back!