Stowe and Go

Stowe Mountain sits in close proximity to the bustling community of Burlington (Vermont) and is widely regarded as a fine establishment for accessing mountainous terrain year round. The lift system operates November through April, serving many acres of trails, tree runs and backcountry access, open to any and all who wish to participate.

Before the lifts began turning this season I happened to be in the Green Mountain State while the winter’s first snow was hammering the mountains, so the motivated crew at Burton Snowboards invited me on their annual preseason hike, which turned out to be an epic adventure filled with powder snow! Fast forward five months upon a return to Vermont, I just missed hopping on the chairlifts by a week so I saw it fitting to close out my East Coast season by getting in another hike up Stowe, this time around I would be guided by mega locals Tomas Ruprecht and Nathanael Asaro. We gathered our supplies and headed up on a rainy Sunday afternoon with a shovel, stoke and snowboards in hand, hoping to make the best of what Mother Nature would offer us.

Greeted by grey skies and variable snow conditions we headed up the hill on foot, eyes peeled in all directions looking for anything we could get our bases on and use our well-worn edges for control. Sure enough ten minutes in there was an off camber side hill run within the trees sitting just past the snow making pipes, so we dropped the packs and moved over to the drop-in spot. It was good times schralping the dirty sun-cupped left overs, some taking the route under the low hanging branches while others tapped centuries old rock croppings.

While hiking back out of this semi-extreme zone Nathanael happened upon a discarded telemark ski, so we carted it out, found an appropriate spot mid-slope and positioned it as a pole-jam. After a bunch of maneuvers at our temporary terrain park, we packed it up and continued upwards, keeping our eyelids wide open for the next mini-shred locale sure to please the snowboarding soul.

A few minutes later we passed three spots worthy of the shovel, so we took cover under the forest canopy to enjoy some nutrients, let the rain pass and discuss our build options. Settling on a rock formation, we dropped the Burton backpacks, whipped out the Skullcandy speaker, assembled the shovels and fortified the spot with take-off and landing. Air Option One enabled the rider to go long over the entire situation, while Air Option Two required the rider to assume an in-air nosedive position to use the downward sloping rock as a landing. Both options worked out multiple times for our band of snow brothers, resulting in a parade of hoots and hollers echoing from the drop-in zone to the run-out area.

This was a solid day start to finish while wrapping up my East Coast season that numbered two days total, both on foot to access these special slopes. BIG UP to the Vermont crews, y’all are amazing and big praise for keeping the snowboarding spirit alive and well in this region! Blotto

Equipment used for the making of this adventure and blog post: Burton Taft 24L backpack, Burton Imperial boots, Anon M3 goggles, Fimbulvetr Rangr snowshoes, Skullcandy Barricade speaker, Evol food supplies. The photo treatment applied to these images is indicative of the atmosphere, mood, temperature and vibe on this day in particular.

All Images by Dean Blotto Gray / ┬ęblottophotto2017