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Cochran's Ski Area - December 31, 2017


Paul

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With a planned road trip to visit friends near Burlington Vermont over the holiday weekend to ring in the New Year, I threw my gear in the truck to take the opportunity to ski for a couple of hours while there.The destination was originally supposed to have been a larger ski area but with the temperatures hovering around the -20 to -25 degree mark, plan B was put into motion and a smaller hill in a protected valley and surface lifts only was the choice. The option today was Cochran's Ski Area in Richmond, VT. I arrived there at 9 am, as they they were operating on a Holiday schedule on New Year's Eve from 9 till noon. The temperature was a balmy -21. The parking lot was not full but there were still cars rolling in, parents dropping their children off and hauling their gear to the chalet. I bought my ticket and was ready to go by 9:15 to do some laps on the t-bar. Most of the skiers today were children from the area.

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The first runs were down the Route 2 and the Upper Face trails.The conditions were good with a light dusting of snow from the night before covering the groomed man made granular over a hard base, thanks to the cold temperatures of late. All but 1 trail, the Race trail was open. They were making snow on the trail and pushing it around. The only lift available was the t-bar. The rope tow was not operating.

The Route 2 and Upper Face trails:

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Next was the Elbow trail. I nice short trail with all natural snow and was decently covered with a little stubble popping through on the sides.

The Elbow:

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On the I-89 trail, the main trail out front, there were some racers training and practicing with gates. Cochran's has a great racing and training program that they offer to the local kids.

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After a couple of hours in the beautiful cold sunlight, it was time to head into chalet to warm up and call it a day. Going to Cochran's was a good choice today being cold as it was, with the hill located in a protected valley where wind was not a factor, and riding a t-bar reduced the risk of freezing on an exposed chairlift and having to go in every couple of runs. This was the third time skiing here and every visit has been very enjoyable, and the staff are very friendly here. Richmond is very fortunate to have a local hill like this, and the Cochran family is very instrumental in making sure that every child has a opportunity to ski at an affordable price at whatever level of ability.

Here are a few more scenes from the morning:

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The Mighty Mite beginner's learning zone, with the Mighty Mite handle tow:

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Nice report Paul. The Route 2 and Upper Face trails remind me of Mont Rigaud. The mountain does have a welcoming family look to it. These are the types of mountains that create new skiers and develop skills. 

Also goes to prove that bigger isn't always better, especially in this weather. A smaller sheltered mountain and surface lifts no doubt let you enjoy the day much more than you may have elsewhere.

I will always hope that the large commercial ski mountains never spell the end for the smaller ski areas. I don't think they ever will. They serve several important purposes, the biggest being introducing people to the world of skiing and the family/community atmosphere they foster and create. Irreplaceable! 

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