With the amount of snow slowly dawdling at most east coast resorts we had to go north to find more. Friday morning I hopped in the Ski The East Subaru with Production Manger Cam Willis, and Ski The East athlete Zach Masi with our sights set on Sugarloaf on Maine. Before making the four and a half hour trek we made a quick pit stop in Lydonville snagging one more Ski The East athlete and all around good dude Sawyer Sellingham. Once we arrived at Sugarloaf we checked into our icy 12 person condo and headed up to meet Terrain Park Manager Jake.
Jake had spent the whole morning in the groomer pushing snow for the Ski The East feature on mid mountain. We caught last chair at 3:45pm to go preview and fine tune the setup before the rest of the crew arrived later that evening. As we rode up the Sugarloaf Superquad up we saw the set up jake had been creating all morning looming in the distance. It looked great but we knew there would be some serious fine turning before our set up could be ski able. Luckily we ran into Dam Dryjas and Clayton Gamble who had been skiing Sugarloaf all day waiting for our arrival. Our crew of eight began shaping, fine turning the set up and enjoying 70 degree temps for about three hours. It seemed like it happened almost instantly, the clouds rolled in from the backside of Sugarloaf. The rain started to fall a light drizzle at first, which served as a comedic cool down for about 10 minutes. Then the sky opened up, we were in a torrential downpour halfway up Sugarloaf. The whole crew ditched our shovels on the side of the trail, quickly vacating skiing down from mid mountain with almost zero visibly. By the time we made to back to the Ski The East Subaru the crew was throughly soaked the rain showed no sign of slowing down.
Once dried off at the condo the rain was still coming down the vibes were ominous. The thought was running through everyones head “How did this happen? The NOAA app showed no precipitation for the whole weekend. Will our 4 hours of shaping and fine turning literally get washed away?”. This would have been detrimental to the shoot requiring us to rebuild the set up the next morning before starting the shoot, which would have easily taken at least six hours. We sat at the condo watching the rain fall, eating chips and salsa, waiting for more of the crew to arrive.
About an hour later Ski The East athlete Luc Brown a Sugarloaf local showed up with his buddy Andy. Luc and Andy immediately got down to jamming on their guitars, as they jammed everyones hunger grew. Cam and I went down to the local grocery store snagging communal dinner and breakfast supplies for the weekend. One overflowing cart and roughly $300 later (sorry Geoff and Rooster) we ripped back to the condo to begin cheffing up dinner. While we were away two more cars packed with friends had arrived. One car was Charlie Dayton and Tim DuBois who made the drive from Burlington after completing their academic obligations. The other car was filmers Pete Vander Wilden aka PV and Sam Rogers and HG Skis lord Connor Gaeta. As we started to chef up dinner the talk between the two cars that had just arrived was moose. They each saw eight moose on their drive up, I knew Maine was known for Moose but eight damn! All we saw on our drive up was a Wild Turkey and a Rabbit. With our hunger satisfied from our pasta dinner everyone started to casually crush cans; some partook in a few games of Ceelo, others watched videos on the TV, while Luc and Andy kept jamming on their guitars livening up the rainy situation.
Saturday morning was gloomy to say the least. The upper half of the mountain where our set up resided was socked in with cloud clover. Even with the cloud cover everyone was still eager to check out the set up in person; wondering how much or how little work needed to be done before skiing. Luckily everything we had set the pervious evening was still intact, after about two more hours of fine tuning and shaping the clouds cleared, we were ready to start filming. The session got off to a rough start with Tim taking one for the team, falling ten feet off the raised dog house into a ditch of snow. After Tim’s mishap the whole crew was defiantly humbled by the set up we had constructed. However, this did not prevent anyone from getting down on the set up; especially with a bit of coaxing from the clearing cloud cover and rising temperatures. For about two hours Charlie, Sawyer, Clayton, Luc and I hit the under cover feature I had made while we were shaping and fine turning yesterday. In-between the two up rails I added some spice; a quarter pipe redirect on the backside of the roller the led to the flat down rail and a roller just after which functioned as both a lip and landing. This allowed us to hit the most classic feature an up rail in a very unique way. I saw this feature get hit successfully five completely different ways throughout the weekend. It was quite satisfying watching people have a blast on something I took a huge gamble dedicating my whole time in the shaping and fine tuning the pervious evening.
With the mid day heating getting to us Luc, Tim, Andy, Connor and I took off for a few a laps around around Sugarloaf. I was pleasantly surprised with loafs terrain and snow offerings for April 23. Every run was accompanied by smooth snow with little to no moguls and side hits galore. I can see why Luc does not planning on leaving Sugarloaf anytime soon. As the day grew longer less and less people had the juice to keep hiking the set up; the cameras were put away and our crew cursing the mountain doubled. After a few crew laps everyone skied back to the set up pitching in fine tune and reshape, to save us set up time Sunday morning. Toward the end of the day Luc dropped a hammer on us, he brought his parents grill to condo. With the bluebird skies and warm weather everyone was amped up to grill. After the hill we ripped to Stratton, Maine in search of cheap grilling supplies and a wider section of beer. It was a mad dash to make it back to condo to be the first on Luc’s grill, taking two hours for the last group to toss their supplies on the grill. After dinner the majority of the crew was deep in a food coma and scurried off to bed. A few of managed to stay up to check out the footage from the day’s skiing.
Sunday morning was pretty slow, on top of having to whip up breakfast we had to clean the condo before checking out. Luckily for us the temperatures Saturday evening dipped below freezing, turning the slush into solid ice. By the time we made it to the hill everything had just began to start softening up, it wouldn’t be until 11:30am when the set up was fully ready to be skied again. While the snow was softening up we added some transition to the pit Tim had fallen into the previous day. It was safe to say the elevated dog house to steep transition was the feature of the morning. As the day grew longer Zach Masi started gaping from the up box to the flat tube on top of the embankment. This was gap was defiantly one of the most savage things I have seen go down in person. Zach just kept on sessioning the gap, solo as the rest of the crew watched. After three “warm up” hits Zach dropped a blind three swap from the elevated dog house to the tube, the crew went buck with excitement. However, Zach wasn’t finished yet he wanted to clean up his landing. Hiking up again, Zach dropped in, cranked the blind three swap, laced up a continuing 270 off the tube and casually cruised away. The timing was perfect half the crew was right above the set up riding the lift, the other half was posted up on the side of the trail, everyone completely lost it. We all knew nothing was going to top watch Zach had dropped, continuing to session the elevated dog house to transition and tube on top of the embankment separately.
By 3:00pm everyone was completely shot from the pervious two days of skiing, Cam made the call the shoot was over. We loaded up camera bags, picked up trash, took down Ski The East branding and had a group cruise down to the parking lot. For many of us this was the last run we would be taking until next fall; even though everyone was loaded up with gear that didn’t stop anyone from getting their last side hits and carves in for the season. This weekend at Sugarloaf was a memorable weekend no doubt. It is so rare that a group of 15 friends are able to find time in their busy schedules to get together for a shoot in late April on the east coast during one of the worst seasons to date.