From Phil Caracci on April 11 2024

April 5-8, 2024 Trip : What can possibly Eclipse this weekend???

Sorry but I had to get that word in the title… This 3-day car trip to our lodge was offered for skiing and for viewing the solar eclipse from within the Path of Totality. The day would become night and night would become day all in a 2-minute span. That’s rather unique by itself but combine that with excellent spring skiing conditions and you really have something memorable!

This is Miramar’s 75th year and it’s most likely the first time that a total solar eclipse would occur in the Mad River Valley. What should we expect? How should we manage the lodge usage? The wise leaders decided a bus trip would not be best since there might be multiple options for experiencing the eclipse and thus a car trip gave everyone an opportunity to do it their way. We wanted to have our cook on duty as the small local restaurants would never be able to handle the crush.

March of 2024 was very kind to the Green Mountains. There were several major storms measured in feet of snow in the weeks leading up to the eclipse, the last storm ending Friday morning.

Over the three days we had various groups skiing Sugarbush, Mad River Glen, Stowe and Killington. That’s one heck of a lineup! In addition the nordic skiers enjoyed the Von Trapp trails and some hikers found hills to conquer too. (and others went snowshoeing)

Spring skiing for those unfamiliar is a bit different. Generally the snow starts off firm and gradually softens to the point that by 2:30pm, most people would rather sit out in the sun with a beer than ski or ride on the “slush”. The cold winter wind is replaced with a gentle 50 degree breeze.

As the eclipse day approached the frenzy (everywhere) grew. Lawsons was even brewing a Path of Totality IPA just for this occasion!!! Every bed in the Miramar lodge was spoken for. A full house…. 53 people. Wow!

What may not have been completely anticipated is the number of cars to get all those people up here might exceed the number of parking spaces. We have more land but it was all covered in snow and blocked by the barrier created by the snow plow one day earlier.

The weekend was a sunny one… except for the actual moment of the eclipse! OK, not to overemphasize this…. But there were thin clouds following 2 days with no clouds at all. Some members & guests watched the eclipse from the lodge. Some “chasers” raced north and east to outrun the clouds and view it in clear skies.

I decided it was a ski day and decided to watch it halfway down from the summit on a completely empty trail. I was set up with a zoom lens and a tripod waiting for totality listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album played by a live band at the Sugarbush base off in the distance.

… And if the cloud bursts thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

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