The New York State Ski Blog

Vanderwhacker Mountain and Fire Tower

The name Vanderwhacker first came onto my radar when I realized that the state land crossed by the Raymond Brook Ski Trail was part of the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest.

View-from-Vanderwacker-Mountain-Fire-Tower

The Vanderwhacker Wild Forest is a diverse and discontinuous DEC construct, the center piece of which is Vanderwhacker Mountain and the Fire Tower.

With 1700 feet of elevation gain in two and a half miles I figured my wife, our daughter and I could handle it, even with a late start.

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Viking Nordic Ski Center, VT

As we glided out of the woods, our daughter Laurel shouted, “This… is AWESOME!” We’d gotten to one of those classic Vermont xc ski vistas: a huge view across miles of rolling hills with woods and open fields, dotted with houses and barns. Then she double poled into a plunging, curvy downhill on to Viking Nordic’s Loki’s Run trail.

Viking-Nordic-Ski-Center

Last February, we drove to Landgrove, Vermont for Presidents’ Day weekend. Seeking respite from too much snow in New Jersey, so we drove north to …more snow. Just 40 miles north of Prospect Mountain, one of our regular haunts, I’d never been to this part of Vermont.

While there are plenty of unexplored touring centers on my bucket list, the plan was to stick close to our hotel and ski at Viking and at Wild Wings Ski Touring Center down the road.

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Magic Mountain Man: Matt Cote

Magic LogoMagic Mountain seems like our kind of place: an underdog known for its tree skiing that is getting by on natural snow, great terrain, and the dedication of an extremely loyal following.

We caught up with the man who could be its most dedicated fan to find out what makes Magic special.  What follows is our interview with Matt Cote, Magic’s man of steel.


When did you start skiing?

I grew up just outside Springfield, MA. On a trip to Berkshire East, my guide put me on rental snowlerbladez (I think in hindsight they wanted me dead). It was icy, really icy. I didn’t give it another shot until I was 22. but I saw the potential for real fun while night skiing with friends at Bousquet and other Berkshire bumps after work. Within a year or two it was a full on skiing obsession. I was hooked and it took over my life.

When did you first ski Magic? What drew you there?

The first time I skied Magic I wasn’t impressed with the conditions but the mountain definitely made an impression. This was back when the grooming was super spotty and the lift stopped every few minutes. The policy seemed to be “who gives a shit, the lift is running and the lights are on just go, man.” But the things I saw… I knew the place had a ton of potential.  I was way over my head on the terrain and there was nobody there. Ever. It was like having a private mountain and I loved it.

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