By Kara Herlihy
Mad River Glen commemorated its newly restored historic single chair Saturday morning during the official dedication ceremony. The current Miss Vermont, Rachael Ann Cole, joined Miss Vermont 1948, Jean Peatman, for the official 'unlocking' of the single.
General Manager Jamey Wimble thanked the shareholders, and loyal Mad River Glen community members raised approximately $1.35 million for the Capital Chair Campaign. The campaign is still working towards its $1.54 million goal.
As the ceremony came to a close, Mad River Glen patrons were treated to an early season poach courtesy of, who else, Jake Burton. A group of about 15 to 20 snowboarders rode down to the base of MRG after a long hike in from the Appalachian Gap.
The riders, who were dressed in white snow suits with "Glad River Men: Poach it if you Can" stickers across their chests, were slowed considerably by the rugged terrain under the single.
THE CHUTE STRIKES BACK
According to mid-station witnesses, the riders were hustling to get down while the ceremony was still going on, but the Chute posed some rustic obstacles for the unseasoned poachers.
The group arrived on a Burton-organized coach at 6 a.m. and tirelessly braved ungroomed, powdery conditions complete with screaming winds and frigid temperatures.
Upon their arrival at the base, riders posed for group pictures with Miss Vermont, Rachael Ann Cole, and according to Eric Friedman, 'were very respectful.'
MRG is off to an unheard of December opening to the season. The snowfall has been consistent and powdery with the help of this past weekend's Nor'easter. With more than a two-foot base of powder and packed powder, MRG is off to a truly epic season.
The conditions on Saturday 'couldn't have been nicer' according to Friedman, but high winds shut the single down around 2 p.m.
MRG held their 'soft' opening on Thursday, December 6, following a storm that dropped over 20 inches of snow falling in a single storm and signature Vermont winds. The Single shuttled families and children to 100 percent wide open terrain.
Following a slow starting ski season last year, loyal Mad River Glen skiers were ecstatic to be back on the Single. A small crowd was gathered around the base for most of the day, but the mountain was surprisingly quiet on the cruise down.
Skiers were eager to get the lift turning following the 8:30 a.m. dedication ceremony, and Travel and Tourism Commissioner Bruce Hyde took over for Governor Jim Douglas on a ceremonial first ride up the newly restored single.