Yes, according to Mr. Biebel, (and me, a three-time participant of the ski trip to Vermont), this year’s Vermont trip was second to none.
“We went to a resort we had never visited, and it was a blast,” said
senior participant Matthew Berry. “I got excited seeing every new slope on the map, but the best part was being able to rip down the trail and see where all the twists and turns would lead to. Some led to these stunning overlooks into the valley below us, and some led right into the face of a mountain with huge boulders and jagged patches of ice dotted along the front. Getting to actually explore a new resort and feeling the excitement of the unknown was by far the best part [of this trip].”
In years past, the skiing on this trip took place at Stowe Vermont Resort. However, this year students were taken to neighboring resort Smuggler’s Notch. While Stowe is a larger resort and offers more services than Smugg’s, it seemed that most students preferred the latter.
“I believe that the slopes are just as good at Smuggler’s Notch as they were at Stowe,” snowboarder and senior Shaine Pletz said. “The one thing I like [more] at Smuggler’s was the fact that there were only two people on the lift at one time. This was different from Stowe because you could fit several people on a single lift or gondola. Because of this, Smuggler’s was more spacious and you could enjoy each run more.”
Located in Jeffersonville, Vermont, Smuggler’s Notch is a privately owned mountain resort that isn’t as frequently visited as its neighbor Stowe. However, the resort has over 70 marked trails, along with 750 acres of woods and glades between the trails. The resort covers three separate mountains, the highest of which is the Madonna Mountain, whose peak is measured to be 3,640 feet high. Following Madonna is the Sterling Mountain, which, at it’s highest point, is 3,040 feet tall. Lastly, the beginner mountain, is Morse Mountain. Morse is 2,250 feet high when it is measured at its peak, which for Erie skier standards, is actually really high.
“The glades at Smugg’s were the best I’ve ever skied through,” senior skier Andrew Samuels stated. “However, I wasn’t a big fan of the ‘FunZone’ we went to.”
Besides skiing, students were taken to the resort’s FunZone. The building had an arcade, a variety of miscellaneous games, and even a giant rock climbing structure.
“I wasn’t fond of the FunZone,” senior Sean Hart stated.
“The Lazer Tag was pretty fun,” junior snowboarder Markus Shearer continued, “However, after a while it got pretty boring”.
“The FunZone was [not fun]. I don’t really think it was in our age range,” Andy Samuels stated.
While some students did not enjoy the FunZone, some of the adults did. One of these people in particular was Mr. Biebel.
“It wasn’t as fun as I thought it’d be, but I still thought it was a good time,” Mr. Biebel said. “The pizza was good, and there was a decent amount for us to do.”
Instead of going to the FunZone on Sunday, the schedule was a tad different. To start, students and chaperones attended a morning Mass service. After the Mass, the group headed straight back to Smugg’s and skied for several hours.
Once the group departed for the last time from the slopes, they headed to the resort’s “Village,” which is basically just a shopping complex.
“I got my mom a thermos with a Smuggler’s Notch logo on it,” junior snowboarder Thomas Francoeur said. “The stuff there was expensive though, but I still thought there was a decent selection of items.”
If there was one, unanimous blight about the trip this year, it was the bus ride back. What initially was supposed to be a 9-hour drive turned out to be a 12-hour trek. And with everyone tired, sore, and sweaty from skiing just hours before, it wasn’t exactly a good time.
“[It was] absolutely awful,” Andy Samuels said. “The bus ride back was [very] awful. I was sick, sweaty, and uncomfortable throughout the entire ride. I was overjoyed when we finally got home at 6:00 a.m.”
Yes, you read that correctly. The group got back at 6:30 a.m, when the initial arrival time was supposed to be 2 a.m. This was due to several mechanical stops, along with a navigation mishap that kept the group in a remote, New York wooded area with absolutely no cell service for over an hour.
But in retrospect, (and disregarding the ride back), the trip this year was extremely fun for everybody involved.
“Y’know, usually we have a defining, infamous injury or shenanigans that leaves a stain on one of our trips,” Mr. Biebel joked, “However, this year we didn’t have either. And I’ve really only gotten positive feedback from you guys, so in my opinion this is the best trip to Vermont we’ve ever had.”
“I’d give this trip a 9/10,” Villa sophomore and trip participant Jessica Tarasovitch said. “I’m definitely going to Vermont again next year, and the only reason I didn’t give this a 10 was because I lost my phone.”
“I’d give the trip an 8/10,” Thomas Franceour said. “I would’ve preferred to go to Whiteface in New York like what was initially stated, but I still really enjoyed myself. I’ll definitely sign up next year.”
“Travel time and complications excluded, I’d give this trip an honest 10/10,” Shaine Pletz stated, “The trails, scenery, and just the general vibe of the resort were outstanding.”
“As someone who just started skiing this year, it was definitely a bit intimidating seeing all the black diamonds, and even some of the blue squares,” senior Connor McEnery said, “But after awhile, I got used to a lot of them. Therefore, I began to enjoy this trip thoroughly, so I’m giving this trip a 9-10/10.
“Being able to ski on mountains that we simply don’t have in or around Erie was awesome,” Villa senior and skier Melissa Carlson said. “I liked being able to interact with new people and teachers throughout the trip. It was really nice, I’d give this trip a 9 or 10/10.”
So with the success of this trip clearly defined, what will the future look like for the Vermont trip? Will Prep and Villa go back to Stowe, or visit a different resort in New York? These are all likely options; however, with the success of this year’s trip, it seems just as likely that Prep and Villa will go to Smuggler’s Notch again. Either way, the future for this trip looks bright.