Burke Mountain - A pleasant surprise.
Burke Mountain is a mountain I knew almost nothing about other than what little is on their website. I've never heard anyone talk about it, never seen an edit come out of their parks or seen a commercial or ad for it. There are few mountains I felt as blind going into as with this one.
Being a fairly cynical person, I tend to go in expecting the worst. Much to my surprise, I loved Burke Mountain. I arrived shortly after 9, and there were maybe 200 cars there total, not much considering it was a Sunday after a fairly large storm. I geared up and headed straight for the summit. The mountain is incredibly simple to navigate, which is a nice change of pace from the mega-resorts I have been visiting in the last few weeks. It essentially has two chairs, one which accesses novice terrain and the terrain parks, and ferries you to the second lift, which brings you to the top. There are a few J-bars, but you can get to the terrain from the main lifts as well, so for any experienced rider, the mountain has just two lifts.
As I rode the summit lift up, I examined the trail map, and suddenly realized that this place has a lot of glades. I started to get excited, but held off on getting my hopes up until I discovered that they were in fact open. Most were, with appropriate thin cover signs. I spent the first half of the day hitting the (skiers) right side of the mountain. There are some extremely good glades here, that present a challenge for even the best skier. Cover being fairly thin in places added to the challenge, but I was happy to find glades with small cliff drops and even some un-touched powder, nearly 5 days after the storm had ended. Skiing the right side of the mountain did however leave me with some nice base gouges. I have some PTEX-ing to do during my next hot wax session. The final trail I skied before moving to the other side of the mountain was the 'East Bowl' trail. When they say this trail is not snowboarder friendly, they mean it. Both the entrance and exit require significant skating, but the trail in the middle was worth it. It had a great view and offered a good ride. The other non-glade standout was 'Rerun' running under the summit lift. Very steep with plenty of things to maneuver around, it gave an excellent workout.
This is my kind of glade
WARNING - FLAT AS HELL
Having found that the two double-black glades on the (skiers) left side of the mountain were closed, I decided it was probably time to stop abusing my legs for the day, and went to have lunch. The main lodge is very nice, and the primary room to eat in is furnished with leather couches and comfy chairs abound. With no room available, I sat outside near the fire and enjoyed the fairly warm weather.
After lunch, I decided to dedicate myself to the park for the remainder of the day, something I havent really worked on in a couple of weeks with any real dedication. Having skied back to the lodge through their main park, I knew there were a bunch of features I could hit, and a few that I was determined to get over my fear of. My main accomplishment of the day, and after having a mini-rage fit about sliding off early, was the longest, most kinked rail I have hit yet. A flat-down about 25 feet in length. I was quite ecstatic when I finally nailed it.
The largest rail I have gotten down yet.
Overall, Burkes park, while not featuring anything particularly creative, is an extremely good Small to Medium sized park. Certainly much, much more than I was expecting out of a mountain I knew nothing about located in northern Vermont. Progression for a beginner is decent, only really lacking a basic flat bar, but as always that could change at any time. Those looking for a mega-park will probably be a bit bored, but I had a great time lapping the park for several hours. Here is what was up, top to bottom in both the main park and their mini-park.
And the mini-park
I had a great time at Burke, and have to wonder why I have never heard anything about it. It definitely has that home-town mountain feel to it, but as far as glades, it is a hidden gem. I hope to return again, after a heavy dumping of snow. My suggestion is if you love glades, get up there, but bring your rock skis.
If you have missed any of my recent posts (as there have been many of them the last few days, check them out!
Also, if you like what you are reading, please vote for me in the Newschoolers Journalism program! I would greatly appreciate it!
As always, keep on shredding!