PHOTO: Dylan Dipentima finds an untracked chin clip, shot by Brooks Curran

Stowe, Vermont, by Nick Paumgarten

We couldn't put the perennial post-Christmas thaw behind us until a few half-footer storms in late January covered up the re-freeze and softened the hill. Then, before dawn on February 1, a good one snuck in—an auspiciously slow starter, a bit of a surprise.

All told, 48 hours later we had 13 inches at the top of the Quad. February 3 was the day. A Friday. Thin crowds, intermittent squalls, very little wind. My brother's no-friends powder morning went like this, according to his 12:44 p.m. email blast, which he sent from his truck on his way to work:

"Untracked Chin Clip
Woods off CC
Hayride Woods Tres Amigos
Lift line/National! Wow.
Nosedive to bottom of Goat Woods
Etc. etc!"

"Etc. etc!"?! I was driving up from southern New Hampshire, a day late—and not alone, apparently. By 8 the next morning, the road to the base was backed up past the Matterhorn Bar, the Mansfield lot was nearly full, and the maze at the Quad spilled over with weekenders.

Sorry, folks. Everybody knows that New England pow is a one-day thing. At the resort, anyway. In the steeper sections and between powdery bumps, blue ice was back. Banana peels. "You shoulda been here yesterday," a guy in line said.

Time to go hunting. Off the gondola, into the woods, out past the Bench, in the birch-gladed area known as Angel Food. The going was soft and springy. If you committed to a little walk at the bottom and skied the last pitches into the Notch, it might as well have been Friday again.

Read: Green Mountain Calling, Finding Balance Between Stowe and Smugglers’ Notch

On Sunday we hiked the Chin. A clipper came through that night and freshened up the leeward glades with another six inches. The sun came out. The weekenders were gone. Woods off CC. Etc. etc!

This story originally appeared in the September 2017 (46.1) issue of POWDER. To have award winning stories delivered right to your door, in print, subscribe here.