How to poach MRG

A beginner's guide

When you look up at the ceiling of Grand Central station, in the Northwest corner you will find a single black rectangle of dirt and soot. During the restoration efforts of the late nineties this patch of pollution was left as a reminder of how bad things were. Mad River Glen is snowboarding’s patch of pollution.

While we are still fighting to clean it up, today MRG stands as a reminder of how dumb things were in the eighties/nineties and how far we have come. Every snowboarder should make it a point to poach MRG at least once, if not to take a stand then to get some of the best snow you can find on the East Coast. Here’s your guide to doing it.


The northern portion of the main MRG lot is designated for dawn patrol uphillers. They typically plow this area early and when you get down you don’t have to deal with all the Joeys boxing you in. If you choose to spot a car or drop in from the top of App Gap, there is a plowed parking lot just below the top of the Gap.

Going Up

The most common method is to park at the bottom and go straight up via one of two tracks. The primary track is shown in dark orange. On this one, there is a small section near the beginning where you cut through the woods. Unless you are super early, chances are there will already be a skintrack through there. The secondary track is shown in lighter orange. It is a bit longer but is mellower with less traffic. They both meet up about mid mountain and follow the same trail to the top. I would recommend going to the top of the single but you can also opt to hit the top of the double (other light orange line.)

If you happen to have two vehicles, the best approach is to drop in at the top of App Gap and then traverse across the mountain to meet up with main track.

Strong skinners can make the top in an hour or less. While fat old guys such as myself can take up to two hours, obviously due to many photo breaks. I like to start skinning between 5:30 and 6 am with a headlamp and I am usually back to my car between 7:30 and 8.

At the top of the single chair, there is a warming hut that is open and makes a good place to transition and/or skol a beer. Be wary, sometimes you will open the door to a bunch of stinking UVM trustifarians that slept there the night before.

You are going to be tempted to park up top and try to drop in from the Long Trail. Don’t, you will spend your entire day searching for trail markers only to end up dropping in on the lamer terrain at MRG.

Going Down

I spend 74.5% of my skin up internally debating what trails to go down. For the sake of this beginner’s guide, I am only going to focus on a few of the more consistent options.

My preferred run is shown in dark green, basically taking Chute down under the lift until the midstation and then cutting over to Canyon. This is the go to route early season before it gets bumped. At some point you should do Paradise and Fall Line from the top just because they are classic MRG trails. Personally I don’t feel like they have a consistent enough flow to really rip. Plus they are a magnet for aggro skiers and are very difficult to get fresh tracks on.

Later in the season, I like to take Antelope (in light green) as it has lots of great banks to slash and gets far less traffic. One interesting aspect to MRG is that the sides of the trails always have powder stashes due to the lack of snowboarders. The only bummer of Antelope is that you have to hoof it at the bottom to get back to the base lodge for the most important part of any poach, the bottom slash. It is your right, nay your duty, as a good snowboarder to lay the biggest powder slash possible at the bottom so that all the skiers lining up for first chair know you just obliterated their cherished freshies.

I will leave it to you to do some greater exploring to locate the hidden stuff in the woods. Post your triumphs to the social media and tag it #freeitifyoucan.

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