Day 3 – Smugglers Notch

First on the lift again. Half the trails were groomed and the rest were hard pack ice. I did my very best falling leaf leaf move on the ice. We got in three and a half runs as we attempted the park which was all ice.

Again the lessons was good. Same as yesterday for participants. Today Bryce had us make two snow balls and see if we could balance them on our hands on the way down! It was all about disconnecting your upper and bottom halves and letting the bottom do all the work. Nice smooth turned and controlling speed, all the while not dropping our snow balls. At first I said no way, but I actually made it all the way!

We worked on everything from turns to catching some air in the park. I took a few hits but nothing bad. I’m getting a little more comfortable at going goofy, and the GMan now faster, smoother and more in control.

After lessons we headed back to the condo and dried our gear on the back deck. Another global warming sort of day with a high of 78. A friend from work gave me a few passes to Bolton Valley and we were thinking of taking in some night boarding. First, it was a trip to Burton in Burlington for a tour of their R+D facility and perhaps a little shopping (snowboarding style).

The ride over was nice as it was all farm land and little villages. It was a little weird to be driving again as I parked the car on Monday and never looked at it since. In any event as usual we were early so we had lunch and then made our way to Burton. Its in an odd location as you pass though a residential neighborhood then over a single lane bridge and then you enter the industrial park. Burton was just around the corner and you could easily miss it. No bill boards or big signage, just the following next to the road.

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The store and office is housed in one building and the R+D in another. The former has a sort of Arizona, south of the border look. I’m not sure what the exterior is meant to be but it’s sharply contrasted by the interior.

Outside photo.

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I didn’t take any shots of the inside, but it’s very modern and flows very well. Nice mixture of materials with an array of Burton boards displayed on the walls and in glass panels in the floor.

We had a few minutes to kill so we headed onto the store. Everything was on sale and they had a good see selection. I wandered around and the GMan spotted the balance boards. We set one up and he played around with it while I was checking out new boards. Chuck, another very happy looking Burton employee ask if I needed help and that started a conversation around the new technology in boards. My current is a traditional cambered style (K2) approximately five years old.

Chuck gave me the run down on what has changed since then and showed me the difference between mine and a new one. I didn’t go in thinking of buying a board but the more he explained it the more I wanted one! 3pm rolled around and we needed to get ready for the tour. Chuck said joking that he would put my K2 behind the counter as it was such a sought after item and we headed for reception.

Todd our tour guide and Lance (his boss) greeted us like we were long lost friends and we were joined by another couple. Did I forget to mention that all the employees were very friendly and helpful and everyone seemed to be very happy. I wonder whats in the water in the part if VT? Also, the place was full of dogs! Just roaming around or lounging on doggy pillows, and I’m not talking about lap dogs, these puppy’s are big. I spotted a few huskies and other larger breeds. Seems like a very cool place to work.

We headed across the parking lot to the R+D building and started the tour in what’s called “The Barn”

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The facade of the building represents an avalanche and I think the architect nailed it. We went in the barn and Todd gave us a history lesson in Burton. I cannot do it justice so go to the above link for more details. After that we did the R+D portion of the tour. From start to finish they can lay up a board in this building. The technology is very cool and they employee a variety of methods to get to the finished product. Some are very high tech like the 3D plastic printers to using a band saw to cut the access material off the edge of a board.

Todd was a great guide and Lance filled in of details and added additional information. It felt more like a chat than a guided tour, but then again everything about the company is the laid back easy going attitude. Also, if you work here you have to snowboard on company time, it’s considered work! You get in trouble if you don’t, but all that means is your boss will tell you to go boarding! Wow, sounds hard……were do I sign up?

For more information on the R+D facility see the above link or search on line. After the tour we all walked back to the main building and I took up the conversation with Todd. After a few minutes it came down to a “Flying V”. We swapped over my bindings and picked up a few more items. With the discount it was a good days shopping.

We heading for Bolton Valley to see what was going on. It’s about 25 minutes or so from Burlington. As I figured condition was just at good as Smugg’s and I now understand what mud season really means. The parking lot had six to eight inches of muck with thousands of pot holes. If the booth on my 1/2 shaft was not ripped (another blog) I would put mud on the roof just for the fun of it. Before we left the lodge I gave the passed to a couple that were thinking about buy some. I figured why waste then if I can make someone else happy and save a few bucks. We headed for the condo and packing. Not before another trip to the fun zone, a dip in the pool and a slice of veggie pizza that was a little passed it’s prime!

Tomorrow I’ll test out my new ride. Go here for details and I got 30% off…..nice.

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