March Buster Blasts

March 4, 2020

Hello Busters and Families!


Epic! That describes the Leap Day Storm of 2020. It was historic, mostly not forecasted, totally under the radar… and it dropped 41 inches of fluff in three days! Buster coach Dusty Burke counted on less than five fingers the number of better ski days in his life! In addition to face shots and freshies, kudos to Buster coaches AND kids for keeping each other safe. When that much snow falls at once, safety and accounting for all become a team effort and everyone’s responsibility. Way to go Busters!


Mountain Conditions

A reminder to all that March is traditionally Vermont’s snowiest month. So don’t be surprised when we get hit by another big dump! Meanwhile, this week, temperatures have been all over the place and we're in a spring freeze-thaw-freeze cycle. Today, many ski school groups who have been skiing all over the mountain dialed back their terrain choices due to firm conditions. That could be the situation this weekend – including woods skiing, black diamonds, etc. We make this promise: Buster coaches and leadership will make the best and safest decisions we can for each group and for the program as a whole. And please remember: Buster coaches’ decisions regarding trail and terrain selection are final.


This Weekend’s Events

  • Sat, March 7th, 1230PM. Skills Quest, Comp Hill. (We canceled SQ last weekend in lieu of shredding pow; this week we’ll have our own private hill space to see where our skills are in this last month of the Buster season!)
  • Sat, March 7th, 1030AM. Ski with a Patroller. Top Patrol building (aka “269”). Mikah Ackerman’s Stowebusters.
  • Sun, March 8th, All Day. Garden Party! All Busters – those who are already park-rats AND those who are just doing their first-ever 90-degree slide on a box – will be sessioning in our very own, private terrain garden behind Midway Lodge. Parents, come check us out!
  • Sun, March 8th, 10AM. Ski with a Patroller. Top Patrol building (aka “269”). Chris Olson’s Mightybusters.


Snow Science

While Busters ski “in-bounds” at Stowe, we continue to incorporate snow science and avalanche awareness into our Buster experience. Groups have been digging snow pits with shovels and studying the layers in our pack (Might it slide? Is it stable?), measuring trail pitch with inclinometers, and rescuing “Avy Bear” with avalanche transceivers. Busters is an all-mountain experience – we ski everywhere from parks to trails to woods to gates. And we learn about snow and snow travel awareness while we’re at it.


Mark Your Calendars

  • March 28. Buster Championships! All Busters. A Giant Slalom race – fastest single run wins!
  • March 28. End of the Season Buster Après Party! Pizza for all… and a cash bar for parents.
  • March 29. We are not focused on this… but March 29th is the last day of Busters (sad!). Four weekends between now and then – that’s four weekends of great times, group camaraderie, and amazing skiing experiences. Don’t miss out… soon Busters 2019-2020 will be memories-only!


Thanks Buster Community! See you on the weekend!

The Buster Team

February Buster Blasts

February 26, 2020

Greetings Busters and Parents!


What do you get when you mix sunshine, warm temps, and exciting groups of friends? You get this past Buster weekend! Wow... how fun was that! With the month of March around the corner, there is plenty of opportunity for more winter fun. (Pro Tip: March is typically Vermont’s snowiest month.) This season is not over. Here are some notes for the coming weekend and beyond.


Need a Tune?

With Sunday’s warm temps and rough snow surface, it’s possible that the wax on our ski bases got worn off. It is worth getting your Buster’s skis tuned and hot-waxed. Come visit our own Stay Tuned shop in Spruce Camp or any of the shops on the Mountain Road. Don’t get stuck in sticky snow; tune your skis and slide on through!


Dress Right!

Hot. Cold. Sunny. Snowy. Changing conditions can make dressing tricky, so please do your best to send your Busters in the right clothes... or have changes in case we call. If it’s cold, remember balaclavas, face shields, and handwarmers in pockets. If it’s warm, send your kids in layers so they have options -- remember, if they're over-warm, that can also sap their energy. Pro Tip: Short-sleeves are never recommended, no matter how warm it gets (can you say "road rash"?). Helmets and gloves or mittens are always required.


This Weekend’s Events

  • Sat, Feb 29, 1230-2PM. Skills Quest on Comp Hill. All Busters. Busters will test their skills to see how far they’ve come since our opening weekends!
  • Sat, Feb 29, 1000. Ski with a Patroller. Nicole’s Mightybusters.
  • Sat, Feb 29, 230PM. Cider and Cookies. Kae’s group, Summer’s group, Jen’s group. An informal social immediately after parent pickup!
  • Sun, March 1, All day. Terrain Garden behind Midway Lodge. (Note: Parents, please check this space out… it’s awesome!)
  • Sun, March 1, 1030AM. Ski with a Patroller. Evan’s Stowebusters.


Photos… Finally!

A few weeks ago we held our annual Stowebuster Bumps contest. On the same day, Mightybusters trained in gates. At both of those events, Stowe ski instructor (and frequent Buster sub!) and professional photographer Russell Fox ( brought his camera. Click here to check out his photos. Email Ali at for a high resolution file of your Buster’s photo. Enjoy the collage – and thanks Russell for shooting!



Here's a shout-out to Mightybusters who participated in Sunday's first-ever Mightybuster Freeride Contest! And to parents who turned out to cheer. Everyone present was filled with pride by the skiing we saw. Way to go Busters!


Buster Web Page

Speaking of a photo collage, you can check out our own Buster collage, an archive of the weekly Buster Blast, and event results at our Buster page. Click here to view our Buster page!


Upcoming Events

  • March 15. Park Jam at Tyro Terrain Park.
  • March 28. Buster Championships (a dual Giant Slalom for all Busters).
  • March 28. Buster Party.
  • March 29. Last day of Busters (but we’re NOT thinking about that right now!)


Thanks to everyone for your participation in our program. A reminder… tons of skiing yet to come. We will certainly be looking forward to an amazing March, and we hope every one of you are here to do it with us. Thank you!


Think snow!
The Buster Team

February 19, 2020

Hello Busters and Families!


Keeping this week’s Buster Blast short…


Hero Snow

Overheard at Mightybuster pickup this week:

  •  “I skied Sensation Quad for the first time!”
  • “I skied Chin Clip for the first time!”
  • “I skied [Insert trail or lift name here] for the first time!”

Expanding terrain is so fun, rewarding, and exciting for coaches, kids, and parents. However, in the words of a wise person… our conditions for the past month have been nothing less than Hero Snow – grippable, soft, and dry. Be aware that should conditions shift, so would our terrain choices. But in the words of another wise (and fun) person… we plan to enjoy what we have while we have it!  


Terrain Garden

Overheard at last Sunday’s Buster pickup area: “Where’s my kid?”

Also overheard: “I just did my first 90-degree slide on a box!”

As it turns out, the above parent found the above Buster behind Midway Lodge in our own private, fenced terrain garden learning to slide on a fun box! We will be setting features on the uphill side of Midway from here till the end of the season. So, if you arrive at parent pickup in the afternoon and don’t see your Buster’s group, try peeking around the corner of Midway. There’s a good chance you’ll find us there learning to use terrain park features in our own private space!


Don’t Throw Stuff

Not much more to say about this. Keep the snow on the ground please. When playing before and after pickup and dropoff and during breaks in the skiing action, think about being safe. The Three R’s and the Code of Conduct are in effect all the time.


This Weekend’s Events

  • Gate Training, Sat, Feb 22, All Busters.
  • Makeup Event: Mightybuster Freeride Contest, Sun, Feb 23, 10AM. Freddy’s Chute. (An informal Freeride Contest event to be “judged” by Mark and Carl. Scoring category: Slope Style!) For appropriate level groups, coaches will be take groups for practice runs Saturday on Freddy’s.


Busters 2019-2020 is shaping up to be one for the ages. We appreciate the effort of all coaches, kids, and parents, and we look forward to another awesome weekend. See you on Mansfield and Spruce!


The Buster Team

February 12, 2020

Greetings Busters and Families!


We are at the midpoint of our Buster season. And here’s hoping that our second half contains MANY more weekends like last weekend. With Saturday’s pow and Sunday’s sunshine, how you could top those two days? Well, we’re certainly going to try! Below are some notes about the coming weekend… and the weekends ahead!


Speaking of Sunshine... 

Be Ready is one of our Three R's. After last Sunday, please add sunblock to your list of "things to bring." Being prepared and ready means balaclavas and handwarmers on cold days, layers on variable days... and sunblock on sunny days! 


Snow Science and Avalanche Awareness

Have you ever studied the layers in a season’s snowpack? Measured pitch with an inclinometer? Worked with an avalanche transceiver? Stowebuster and AMP groups have been – and will continue to – digging avalanche pits to study snow layers and crystals; they have measured and compared pitches at Stowe (who can guess which is steeper – Liftline’s Tower 13 pitch or Hayride’s Waterfall?); and they have rescued Avy Bear using our own avalanche transceivers. Be sure to ask your Buster about these valuable (and fun) experiences!


Visiting Groups

We love and depend on Buster parents, and we welcome parents to visit with and watch our groups on the hill for a run or part of a run. However, if parents find themselves consistently making multiple runs with their Buster’s group, please instead sign your Buster out and make runs as a family. (Obviously, bring any concerns or questions about groups and all things Buster to Mark, Ali, or Carl.) Also, remember that Ski School lanes are for Busters in Buster groups. Skiing and having fun are serious business for Busters; please don't distract our groups or coaches from their business!


Thank You Buster Subs!

The Buster team consists of dedicated pros who ski and teach the same group of Busters every Saturday and Sunday for the entire winter. But there’s another group of pros who are equally vital to our success – our Buster Substitute Coaches, who step in when our regulars can't! Next time one of these skilled subs (who, like the Buster team, are selected with great care) coaches your Buster's group, be sure to tell them Thank You!


Upcoming School Vacations

Coming to Stowe for school break during February or March? Want to ski with your Buster coach? Lessons can be reserved by calling 802.253.3681 or 802.253.3682. Set up your private with your Buster coach now -- or they are likely to be booked up. Buster coaches are highly knowledgeable and skilled… and popular. 


This Weekend’s Events

  • Sat, Feb 15. Gate Training on Comp Hill. 1230PM-2PM. All Busters. 
  • Sat, Feb 15. Ski With a Patroller. 1030AM. Nicole’s Mightybusters.
  • Sun, Feb 16. Buster Race. 10AM. Stowebusters and AMP. Dual Giant Slalom Race on Comp Hill. Two runs, fastest time counts. Parents and spectators encouraged. Bring your cowbells!
  • Sun, Feb 16. Ski With a Patroller. 1030AM. Luke’s group.


Buster Groups 

To maximize the experience and learning of all Busters, we constantly assess and re-assess our groups. Even at this midpoint of the season, we may make changes – of course, considering friendships, social dynamics, attachment to coaches… as well as skiing ability. Any changes at this point would include conversations on the front end with parents, coaches, and leadership. Figuring out the best situation for everyone is a team effort that includes parents, coaches, and kids. Thanks all for your contributions to this process!


The forecast is favorable, and the snow is the best it’s been all season. Join us this weekend for Buster fun!


Think snow, 

The Buster Team

February 5, 2020

Hello Busters and Families!


Last weekend was simply awesome. The Bump Contest (Stowebusters & AMP), Mightybuster Race, and gate training on Comp Hill provided plenty of activities to focus on. Plus, we are enjoying the best snow conditions so far this winter. Many coaches reported “breakthrough” experiences – either in terms of skill development, how groups were functioning as teams, or simply groups expanding their terrain. All great stuff… and we plan to keep it going!


Events This Weekend

  • Sat, Feb 9, Mightybuster Freeride Jam, 10AM. Appropriate Groups Only (ie groups that have skied Freddy’s Chute!)
  • Sat, Feb 9, Gate Training on Comp Hill. 1230PM-2PM. All Busters & AMP (Remember, Stowebuster race coming soon!)
  • Sat, Feb 9, Cider N Cookies. Stowebusters who ski in John, Billy, and Ryan’s groups are invited for a cider and cookie après social! Say thanks to your Buster coach, meet parents from other groups… it’s an informal and relaxing time!
  • Sat, Feb 9, Ski With a Patroller. 10:30AM. Laura Robertello’s Stowebuster Group
  • Sun, Feb 10, Ski with a Patroller. Sunday, 10:30AM. Nicole Walker’s Mightybusters
  • Sun, Feb 10, Snowboard Sunday. If you reached out to us and we emailed back, you’re in!


Upcoming Events

  • Sun, Feb 16. Stowebuster and AMP Giant Slalom Race.


Event Results

Results from our weekend events can be found on our online Buster page. Click here to check out results, our photo collage, and our archive of Buster Blasts!


As we approach the halfway point in our season (is it possible), our groups will be refocusing on goals, resetting team goals, and taking Safety, Fun, and Learning to new heights. See you this weekend!


Still Thinking Snow (and it’s working!),

The Buster Team

January Buster Blasts

January 29, 2020

Greetings Busters and Families!


So many exciting things happening this weekend and beyond! Here’s the deal…


Bump Contest, Sat, Feb 1

  • Who: Stowebusters & AMP
  • When:
    • 7-year-olds to 10-year-olds – 10AM
    • 11-year-olds & up – 1045AM
  • Where: Centerline
  • What: A Bump Contest judged on Time, Line Choice, and Air Style. One run.
  • Why: To showcase Buster skills in a new and different setting. Fun!
  • Note: Spectators welcome and encouraged. Best viewing will be at the base of Centerline – accessible from Hayride or Lord.


Mightybusters Race, Sun, Feb 2

  • Who: Mightybusters
  • When:
    • Maggie and Maddi’s groups: 10AM (one run only)
    • All other groups: 1015AM.
  • Where: Competition Hill (the race hill next to Meadows Quad)
  • What: Giant Slalom course, two runs. Fastest time counts!
  • Why: To challenge ourselves. And have fun!
  • Note: Spectators encouraged. Please pay attention to any signage regarding where to stand. Particularly, pay attention to the “bottleneck” area near the Finish area at the bottom of Meadows trail.


Cider N Cookies Après

We are excited to welcome Mightybuster groups who ski with Chris Olson, Tyrus Bergersen, Tess Elsinga, Max Arcynski, and Luke Butterfield for cider and cookies immediately after parent pickup on Saturday, Feb 1. It’s a great opportunity for some of our newer Buster families to connect with other Buster parents and families who have similarly aged kids in our program. See you there!


Snowboard Sunday

If you emailed us (and we emailed back) you know you are on our list for this Sunday’s snowboarding event. There is one more opportunity for Stowebusters (ages 7-14) to snowboard free of charge and get a half-price rental – on Sunday, February 9. Email to get on the Feb 9 list.



This is a shout-out to the parking attendants who allow only Buster families into Parking Lot B every Saturday and Sunday morning. Remember to wave your Buster Parking Passes at the attendant or give them the verbal “code word” if you forgot your pass (see code word below) -- and to give them a huge “Thank You.” It’s not easy closing the best lot on the mountain to the public. Reminder: Lot B is exclusive to Buster families until 9AM when we do let the rest of the world in.


PS  Shhhh… the code word is “Buster”!


Future Events (Mark your calendars!)

Sat, Feb 8 – Mightybuster Freeride Contest

Sat, Feb 8 – Gate Training on Comp Hill

Sat, Feb 8 – Cider N Cookies #3 (John’s group, Billy’s group, & Ryan’s group)

Sat, Feb 15 – Gate Training on Comp Hill

Sat, Feb 16 – Stowebuster/AMP Giant Slalom

Sat, Feb 29 – Cider N Cookies #4 (Summer’s group, Jen’s group, Kae’s group)


This week we will leave you – not with a discussion of the Three R’s (our Busters know them cold) or conditions (looking up!) – but instead last weekend’s Buster poetry submissions (we even got a song and a haiku from parents!!!) Completely inspirational. What a talented group!


See you this weekend!

The Buster Team


PS Poetry below…


Buster Poetry

From Kae’s group:

On the snow today I glide

It is so much fun to slide

Everybody grab your skis

We’ve learned to ski between the trees

We eat lunch every single day

And balance food on our tray

Our ski helmets protect us

We wish we rode here on a bus

We go on lots of big bumps

And sometimes get air on jumps!


From Nicole’s Mightybusters:

We like to ski down the hill

But we don’t like to take a spill! (Gunnar)


Skiing, skiing, let’s have fun

Skiing, skiing, skiing a ton! (Colleen)


From Solomon:

I like to ski fast

At Busters I have a blast. 

I take lots of runs

And stop at the Octogon for cinnamon buns.

I do skills quest on Spruce

And after I ski the Bruce.

Bumps, races, park jams and beacons

At Busters we do everything on the weekends! 


From Evan’s group:

We go skiing with Evan

But we also ski with Nevyn

We have 11 in our crew

And we all go poo

We like to ski with Jane

But she doesn’t have a big brain

We like skiing with our group

And we like to ski Lord Loop

We like to ski in Stowe

Where there’s a lot of snow


From Matty’s group:

I like to ski everyday

I sometimes get carried away

We eat lunch once a day

Mostly at Midway

At the end of the day, I sometimes say

How fun it was to play

Goat and Star are a blast

We go down very fast

January 22, 2020

Hello Busters and Families,


We finally got a powder day! It was a long-overdue and much-deserved event – obviously Busters were doing their snow dances and other tricks. Along with the snow came challenges beyond any of our control with families (and staff) getting stuck on the Mountain Road. Thank you to parents, Busters, and coaches for your flexibility and teamwork as we started the morning with shuffled, combined, and in some cases mixed-aged groups… and then worked to get the program sorted out – all while accounting for every kid. It was great teamwork and a great moment for our program!


This Weekend’s Events

  • Cookie and Cider Social, Sat, Jan 25, immediately after parent pickup. Parents, siblings, and Busters in Maggie, Marston, Maddi, Matt, and Nicole’s Mightybuster groups are invited for a snack in the Brown Bag area by the windows upstairs in Midway Lodge for a brief Après. (See below to see when your group gets to Après!)


  • Ski with a Patroller Sat, Jan 25, 1030AM -- John Dewitt’s Stowebuster group


  • Skill-Builders on Comp Hill, Sun, Jan 26, 1230PM-2PM – How many hop turns could Busters do in December? After 6 weeks of Busters, by how much has this number increased? Find out this answer and others on Comp Hill, our very own teaching space – sans public!


  • Ski with a Patroller, Sun, Jan 26, 1030AM – Max Arcynski’s Mightybuster group


  • Snowboard Sunday #1, Sun, Jan 26. If you signed up for this first Snowboard Sunday, you know because you emailed us and we emailed you back! The next snowboard events are Feb 2 and Feb 9!


Tracking Our Progress

Look for progress cards written by our coaches for you and your Buster. How far have they come? What improvements can still be made? Answers: SO far. And the sky is the limit! For specific feedback, ask your coach for Buster progress cards!


Skis on Racks, Please! Labels Too!

This is a reminder to all Busters to continue to rack your skis when you go inside for lunch or breaks. Skis littered all over the ground are a safety hazard (as the many guests this past MLK weekend demonstrated at Midway!). This weekend, snow monsters (aka Buster coaches and supervisors) will be hiding left-around skis. Don’t let your skis get hidden – take care of your gear!


More on Equipment

Related to the above… the results of a recent study show that ninety-seven percent of Busters have identical skis and poles! Please label and decorate your equipment. Make it IMPOSSIBLE for someone to mistakenly pick up your skis and poles!


Upcoming Events

  • Stowebuster Bump Contest, Sat, Feb 1. The contest is next weekend; this weekend groups will head out to the bump fields of Stowe and get ready to practice Line Choice, Ski-to-Snow Contact, Turn Shape, and Air Style – the criteria on which we’ll be judged next week! Spectators encouraged. Location TBD.
  • Mightybuster Race on Comp Hill, Sun, Feb 2. Regardless of ability we have a course for you. More advanced groups will race the entire course with timing. Racing neophytes will ski a novice level course… and get cheered by all. Spectators encouraged.


Snowboard Sundays

If your Stowebuster or AMP participant (that is, ages 7-16 only) wants to try snowboarding, there are two more opportunities – Sun, Feb 2 and Sun Feb 9. The lesson, run through our daily Mountaineer program, is free. Snowboard rental is 50 percent off through our rental shop at Spruce Camp. Please contact Mark ( to be added to the list!


Ode to Busters

The poem below, written by Lord Byron, uses rhyming couplets. This weekend, we ask Buster groups to jot down couplets of their own. (Pretty simple: two lines, with a catchy meter, and last words that rhyme.) We will post the results on our famous Buster webpage. Busters don’t just ski; they have many unknown talents as well!


Note: Not familiar with the aforementioned famous Buster page? Click here to view the Buster webpage with our growing Buster photo collage, an archive of this season’s Buster Blasts, and our calendar of events.


We’ll tear down walls and jump through hoops

To join our weekend Buster groups


Etched in our brains, written in stars

Every Buster lives the Three Rs


With our teams we search for snow

With Buster coaches who know where to go!


See you this weekend!

The Buster Team

January 15, 2020

Hello Busters and Families!


We are hearing three of our favorite words this week: “Winter Storm Warning!” We are expecting significant snowfall tonight, and forecasts for the weekend also sound fluffy and white. Busters must have done their snow dances!


The Buster Code… and Progress Cards!

As we prepare for the fifth Buster weekend of 2019-2020, groups have had plenty of chances to discuss goals, to make plans… and to model the Buster Code of Conduct! Thanks to coaches, Busters, and parents for living the Three Rs – being Ready, Responsible, and Respectful! It’s not just our skiing skills that everyone on the mountain admires about Busters!

Meanwhile, as we approach the middle of the season, coaches will be handing out midseason Progress cards for every Buster. The idea: to share with parents and Busters where we’ve been so far… and where we’re going. These documents track lots of progress and show how far we have yet to go.


This Weekend’s Events

  • Cookie Race! Sat, Jan 18 (Mightybusters). 12PM on Inspiration. Mightybusters will navigate highly-decorated gates on Inspiration… and munch sweet treats at the Finish!
  • Superhero Saturday! Sun, Jan 19 (Mightybusters). Who are your heroes? Along with my own dad (he’s awesome!), my heroes are Buster coaches and Busters who constantly strive to improve their skiing while staying safe. Mightybusters will decorate their spaces and selves like superheroes (hero supplies provided). It’s not a bird or a plane; it’s Mightybusters!

Upcoming Get-To-Know-You Socials

Some Busters have been at this a really long time. Others not so much – yet! Here is an opportunity for newer Buster families to meet kids and parents from your child’s Buster group in a small and informal Après event immediately after parent pickup. Note your child’s date. Parents, Busters, and siblings are welcome…. Refreshments provided by us!

  • Sat, Jan 25 (4 & 5 year-olds)
    • Maggie’s group
    • Maddi’s group
    • Marston’s group
    • Mark’s group
    • Nicole’s group
  • Sat, Feb 1 (5 & 6 year-olds)
    • Chris’s group
    • Tyrus’s group
    • Tess’s group
    • Max’s group
    • Luke’s group
  • Sat, Feb 8 (7 & 8 year-olds)
    • Kae’s group
    • John’s group
    • Billy’s group
  • Sat, Feb 29 (8 & 9 year-olds)
    • Summer’s group
    • Ryan’s group
    • Jen’s group


Snowboarding anyone?

We will offer a limited number of Stowebusters a one-time opportunity to snowboard on a first-come-first, served basis. Busters don’t have to be just skiers; some of us ride (or want to learn to ride) too! Details below:

  • Who: The first ten (10) Stowebusters per Sunday who email us at We will start taking sign-ups by email only on Wednesday, Jan 15. First-come, first-served.
  • Where: Drop-off and Pick up at the Adventure Center Mountaineer Corral
  • When:
    • Sun, Jan 26
    • Sun, Feb 2
    • Sun, Feb 9
  • What: Snowboard lesson free of charge with a discounted rental for Busters.
  • How it works:
    • Ten pre-registered and confirmed Busters will have access to discounted rentals (50 percent off) in our Spruce rental shop. Payment due at time of equipment pickup.
    • Snowboard-Busters will be welcomed free-of-charge at our Mountaineer corral behind the Adventure Center at 915AM and matriculated into the appropriate level in our regular ski school snowboard lessons.
    • Note: Adventure Center lessons begin at 930AM and end at 330PM. Lunch is included.
    • You must pre-register by the Wednesday prior to your Sunday so that our Rental and Ski & Ride School teams can plan accordingly.
    • Ages 7-16 only.
    • Busters may participate in one snowboard lesson.


Safety Message

This is the third consecutive week we have made a significant statement about terrain and safety in our weekly Blast email. The Mount Mansfield snow stake currently reads 18 inches. Although we hope (and expect) to get some good snow this week (and weekend!), our coaches and leadership will continue to make the terrain decisions that we deem safe for participants in our program. The snow is coming… and when it does, we’ll be skiing everywhere. For now… ski the terrain we have, continue building skills, and – most importantly – always listen to your Buster coach. Yayyy Busters!


We look forward to seeing everyone this weekend!


Think snow,

The Buster Team

January 8, 2020

Greetings Busters and Families!


Things that every Buster can do in order to help our snowpack…

  • Do your best snow dance
  • Wear pajamas inside-out
  • Place a spoon under your pillow (plastic, metal, or wood)
  • Leave ice cubes on your porch
  • Place a white crayon in your freezer
  • Run around your kitchen table five times
  • Pray for snow!!!

The snow surface is in great shape today, but we need a deeper base in order to ski all of the areas that Busters want to ski. Please pay attention to your Buster coach; they have specific information on safe areas to go.


To Go or Not To Go?

Busters has never been cancelled due to conditions or weather. If you’re concerned about whether or not to go, we advise sending your Buster out for a run and then hanging around to re-assess. Our coaches are experts at keeping people safe, knowing when to take breaks (obviously more often when conditions, wind, or temperatures call for it), and communicating with parents when necessary. As long as we have lifts turning, we’re going to do our best to dress right, stay safe, and go!


But Always Be Prepared!

Because we go no matter what, Busters have to be prepared for anything. Some things to consider…

  • Layers. Bring ‘em! My Uncle John always said, “You can always take it off, but you can’t put it on if you don’t have it!” Truer words were never spoken.
  • Exposed skin. As in, don’t have any! Remember balaclavas, face shields, and neckwarmers. Parents, please show coaches this equipment at drop-off. And thanks Buster coaches for teaching kids how to position skin protection and goggles so that no skin shows!
  • Handwarmers and toewarmers. A great idea for your kids. They don’t necessarily need to use them, but it’s a great option to have in a pocket when the sun falls behind Mansfield… but our groups are still out there shredding.


Dressing right and being prepared is a team effort. Thanks to all for keeping everyone safe! If a Buster isn’t prepared, we will definitely enlist parents to help us get the equipment needed in order to safely go!


This Weekend’s Events

  • Sat, Jan 11 – Safety Poster Coloring Contest. During a break in the action, Busters will break out the colored pencils and crayons to show what safety looks like… Buster style! (Mightybusters.)
  • Sun, Jan 12 – Park Jam, 1030AM-12PM. For 90 minutes, the Tyro terrain park will be closed to all… except for Busters. In this early season Park Jam, we’ll fill the air with tunes and kids as we get introduced to the 20 features of this small-to-medium-sized park! (All Busters.)
  • Sat, Jan 11 – Ski With a Patroller (Billy’s group)
  • All Weekend – More Snow Science!


Events – Looking Farther Ahead…

  • Sat, Feb 1 – Freeride Contest (Stowebusters and AMP)
  • Sun, Feb 2 – Mightybuster Race
  • Sat, Feb 8 – Freeride Contest (Mightybusters)
  • Sun, Feb 16 – Stowebuster & AMP Race


As always, thanks for your participation in the Buster program. We can’t wait for the weekend!


Think snow!

The Buster Team

December Buster Blasts

December 31, 2019

Happy New Year Busters and Families!


I hope everyone is happy, healthy, and rested after our winter holiday break. Busters resumes this weekend – and we will go uninterrupted until Sunday, March 29. Here are a few important New Year Buster notes as we get back into the swing…


Be In the Know!

In addition to our weekly Buster Blasts, we maintain a Buster webpage with the following important information:

  • A calendar of upcoming Buster events (so you can plan ahead)
  • An archive of previous Buster blasts (in case you forgot)
  • A most awesome photo collage of Buster groups doing what Busters do best… having winter fun on Mansfield and Spruce Peak.


Click here to check out the Buster page.



If you have not attended Busters yet this season, we hope to see you this weekend. We do track attendance as consistency is one of the hallmarks of the Buster program. The more you attend, the more you get out of Busters! For those who don’t attend regularly, we may need to adjust which group they are assigned.


Race Training

My New Year’s resolution: to improve my skiing in the icy ruts that form between gates in a race course.  Stowebusters and some Mightys will hit the race gates on Saturday, Jan 4 from 12:30PM until 2PM at Competition Hill on Spruce. Busters don’t shy away from different conditions; we practice in order to get better… because Busters ski it all.


Snow Science

Speaking of skiing all snow conditions, in 2020 Busters will be studying the snow too. Starting this weekend, groups will head out armed with inclinometers. By the end of the weekend we’ll have answers to the long-held debates about which are steeper:

  • Upper Meadows or Easy Street Headwall?
  • Exhibition Hill or lower Perry Merrill?
  • Hayride’s Waterfall pitch or Liftline’s Tower 13 pitch?


Ski With a Patroller – Starts this Weekend!

The Stowe Ski Patrol was the nation’s first. Starting this weekend, all Buster groups will have the opportunity to get a tour of 269 (the top Patrol house) and take a run with a Stowe patroller. The first groups to participate will be Kae Zaino’ (Saturday, Jan 4) and Jen Carp’s (Sunday, Jan 5).



The good news: we have been receiving snow the last few days, and we continue to expand our open terrain. However, with just 23 inches of snow at the Mount Mansfield Snow Stake, many trails have yet to open, and most of our woodsy areas are not yet open. Please remind your Busters: our coaches – while open to input – make decisions on what to ski… and their decisions are final.


We look forward to seeing everyone this weekend!


Happy New Year,

The Buster Team



December 18, 2019

Greetings Busters and Parents,


Significant snow is falling outside, and we have a favorable weekend forecast! That said, we were hugely encouraged by the number of you who joined us for the first weekend despite a dismal forecast… and were rewarded with pretty nice weather and REALLY nice conditions. We’re excited to announce… Busters 2019-2020 has begun!


With a holiday break on the horizon (remember, no Busters on Dec 28&29), we hope to see close to one hundred percent attendance this coming weekend. The more the merrier!


Our Goals This Weekend

  • Welcome new and returning Busters who weren’t here on Weekend #1
  • Groups. Continue to assess our groups and to make changes where necessary
  • Goals. Discover your Busters’ goals… and yours too.
  • Safety. Continue to review and establish safety guidelines and expectations (think Buster Code of Conduct and the Three R’s). Note: the key to skiing trees and parks when snow conditions permit… build your coach’s trust in you!
  • Fundamentals. Continue to build and hone early season fundamentals (see Skills Quest below).
  • Speaking of goals… parents, do you know what your Buster’s skiing goals are?


Special Events – Starting Saturday, Dec 21

Busters will be doing the same early season skill-builders that World Cup overall points leader Mikaela Shiffrin worked on this summer (unlike Busters, Mikaela’s ski season extends 11 months of the year!). Busters get our own hill space to focus on these challenges that build solid fundamentals. Fun!

  • Where: Competition Hill
  • When: 1230PM-2PM
  • What: USSA Skills Quest activities


Morning Options

If you live at Spruce or you are based at Spruce in the mornings, you have options.

  • Option 1: The SMC Pickup Service. Meet one of our Buster pros at the ski racks in front of the Stowe Mountain Club on the Plaza at Spruce Peak at 810AM. We depart the Club at 815AM sharp, take the Over Easy, and hike to Midway.
    • Note: We don’t recommend this for Mightybusters; better to drive over or look at Option 2.
    • Note: there is not a similar service in the afternoon.
  • Option 2: For Mightybusters whose groups ski mostly at Spruce. Communicate with your coach to arrange a pickup on the Spruce side (we recommend the end of the “Bridge to Nowhere” on the side of Spruce Camp or the Spruce side of the Over Easy). (Note: On-hill drop-offs and pickups are A-Okay… as long as they don’t disrupt the flow of the entire group.)


Parking Pass

In order to make lives easier (yours, ours… not to mention the Lot B parking attendant!), we are issuing Buster parking passes for Lot B. Lot B (the two lots in front of Midway Lodge) are exclusive lots for Buster families on Saturdays and Sundays until 9AM when the general public is invited in. If you haven’t yet received your pass, see Mark, Ali, or Carl.


Don’t Deck the Halls… Deck Your Skis Instead!

Please… be sure the skis you pick up (and the ones you pack into your cars when you leave!) are yours. And set us up so that when your Buster pulls skis off the rack that it would be impossible to grab the wrong set.


Ways to protect and personalize ski gear:

  • Make sure not just that your Buster’s name is on your skis… but that your Buster’s name is ALL OVER your skis. Bigger is better. More name tags are better than one or two. Your Name. Everywhere!
  • Looking for last minute stocking stuffers? How about a ton of stickers? Then have your Buster decorate his/her skis with above stickers! Same for poles!
  • Don’t like stickers? Then how about patterned duct tape? Stick a big piece on your Buster’s skis (and wrap a few wraps around his/her poles too!). My favorite duct tape patterns: Digi-Camo and Retro-Owl.


There are tons of Busters… and only a few brands of skis. We all place our skis on the same racks. End the heartbreak of coming out and finding your child’s equipment missing. Make it so nobody could possibly mistake yours for theirs.


Ho Ho Ho… Get Your Buster Hat!

They’re back! Buster hats will be on-sale this weekend at Midway pickup. Hats are $35, with a $5 donation made with each hat sale to Friends of Stowe Adaptive Sports.


No Busters on Dec 28 & 29

Reminder that there are no Busters during the Holidays. We wish you a happy and safe holiday with friends and family, and we will see you on Jan 4 & 5. Remember if you want to book your Buster coach during the holidays, do so quickly – Buster coaches are popular, busy, and sought-after pros.


Happy holidays and we can’t wait for the coming Buster weekend.


Think snow!

The Buster Team


December 11, 2019

Greetings Busters and Parents!


The countdown is on: just three… two… one… days till Busters 2019-2020!


Some important reminders for our opening weekend – Please read!


Meeting Locations – First Day and Beyond

  • We meet at 830AM in the Great Room in Spruce Camp on opening morning, Sat, Dec 14.
  • Parking on opening morning
    • Option 1: Lot B (that is, the lot between Midway Lodge and the Gondola Barn).
    • Option 2: Mansfield lot in front of Mountain Operations Center (MOC) building (that is, the brown building next to the stairway to the Over Easy terminal)
    • Reminder: there is no parking at Spruce
    • Reminder: Please place your Buster’s skis on the racks on the snow front behind Spruce Camp on opening morning (NOT on racks in Plaza).
  • Lunch in the usual places
    • Mightybusters eat in the Adventure Center at 1115AM
    • Stowebusters and AMP eat in Midway at 1130PM. (Note: Please send your Buster with a little extra cash until they test the Resort Charge function on his/her Epic pass!)
    • If your Buster packs a lunch, please arrange to leave it in Midway beforehand (best practice: drop it off after parking and before coming to Great Room!). Please don’t ask your coach to transport it.
  • End-of-the-day Pickup on opening day, Sat, Dec 14
    • ALL BUSTERS (that is, Mightybusters, Stowebusters, and AMP) end in front of Midway Lodge at 230PM starting Sat, Dec 14 and for the remainder of the season.
  • Pickup and Dropoff starting Sun, Dec 15 (and for the rest of the season):ALL BUSTERS (that is, Mightybusters, Stowebusters, and AMP) begin and end their days in front of Midway Lodge.
    • Morning Dropoff: 830AM
    • Afternoon Pickup: 230PM
  • For those Busters who live at Spruce, we will resume our “Stowe Mountain Club Shuttle Service” on Saturday, Dec 21 (pickup in front of SMC at 815AM sharp). Why not opening weekend? We instead encourage parent/coach face-time!


Expectations for Opening Weekend

  • Coaches will be assessing groups and communicating with leadership and parents.
  • Coaches will cover safety topics, the Responsibility Code, and the Buster Code of Conduct.
  • All Buster groups will ski Spruce until lunchtime.
  • All Mightybuster groups will ski Spruce all weekend.
  • Groups will focus on mostly blue and green terrain.
  • Tons of friends, tons of fun!


Eat Well, Ski Well

Buster coaches again discussed nutrition at this year’s annual Buster team training sessions. We will continue last year’s candy policy – that is, no candy before lunch. You are what you eat, and if you eat well, you’ll ski well. Please communicate to your Buster to plan on eating food other than candy during morning breaks!


Where is my Identifier Tag? Do we get a parking pass?

New this year: No Buster ID Tags. And yes, please be sure to get your Buster Lot B parking pass from your coach on opening morning. Note: Lot B is exclusive to Buster families until 9AM (at which time the General Public is welcomed in).


(Follow-up Question: What if I forget my parking pass? No worries, just roll down your window and explain to the parking attendant you’re in the Buster program. Thanks to our Parking crew for patrolling Lot B every morning!)


Equipment, Clothing, and Weather

Anything can happen in Vermont in December – and that may be especially true this weekend! Thoughts regarding your Buster’s kit:

  • Please test your Buster’s skis and boots (do they still fit?).
  • Think helmet, balaclava, goggles, insulated & water-proof jacket, insulated & waterproof pants, insulated & waterproof mittens or gloves.
  • Think insulated base layer (and no wrinkles in your Buster’s socks)
  • Please pack foot and handwarmers in your Buster’s pocket.


Final Words

We have spoken with many of you in the days and weeks leading up to Saturday. We are as excited as you! We can’t wait to reunite with our returning families and meet the new. Safe travels… see you Saturday!


Think snow!

The Buster Team

December 1, 2019

Hello Busters and Families!


Welcome to Winter 2019-2020! We have lots of good news: 1) We’ve had snow and cold this November and there’s snow on our trails. 2) Stowe Mountain Resort is open and our early season conditions are deluxe. And 3) best of all… the Buster program is around the corner. We can’t wait to get started!


Below are the Buster basics. Please read!


WHAT are Busters?

Experience of a Lifetime. Safety, fun, and learning. Those describe the Buster program. The Buster program is the perfect combination of all-terrain skiing, technical instruction, and making friends for life. Sound life-changing? It does to us too. Welcome to Busters 2019-20!


WHO are Busters?

  • Mightybusters (ages 4-6). Lunch included (lunch at Adventure Center 1130AM)
  • Stowebusters (ages 7-14). Lunch NOT included (lunch at Midway Lodge at 1130AM)
  • All Mountain Program aka AMP (ages 13-16). Lunch NOT included (lunch Midway Lodge at 1130AM)


WHEN do Busters ski?

  • First Weekend: Sat & Sun, Dec 14&15, 2019
  • Last Weekend: Sat & Sun, March 28&29, 2020
  • No Busters on Sat & Sun, Dec 28&29
  • Busters meet every Saturday and Sunday between the above opening and closing dates for a total of 30 ski days.
  • Buster drop off is at 830AM and groups leave promptly at 845AM. Buster pickup is at 230PM.

WHAT are our Expectations? What is the Buster Code of Conduct?

The Buster program provides consistent instruction and consistent groups. Be advised that Busters is a popular program and that many families were turned away this year. Please attend regularly. Another note on attendance: spotty attendance can affect the group in which your Buster skis. We may make changes based on performance and attendance.


Participation in Busters also requires adherence to our Buster Code of Conduct. We ask that parents be familiar with this Code and that you review it with your child.


WHERE do Busters MEET?

New this year: All Busters meet in the morning and afternoon on the snow in front of Midway Lodge. One meeting place for all Busters/AMP.


Note: The very first day of Busters (Sat, Dec 14), we meet in the Great Room at Spruce Camp Base Lodge at 830AM. Repeat: first day in Spruce Camp!


WHERE do Busters ski?

Busters is an all-mountain program. We ski everywhere possible in a wide variety of ways. Every Buster skis green, blue, and black terrain. We race in gates, and we ride in parks. We ski in the trees (in-bounds); we ski forwards, backwards, and sideways. We meet in all conditions, so be prepared! We encourage friendships and group bonding; we discourage cliques. Most of all, we keep it safe and fun!


WHY Busters?

Skiing lots, learning lots, making friends. Learning to be safe, responsible, and to make good decisions that affect oneself and others. Getting solid technical instruction and free-skiing time too. Coaches who love the sport and who love to share their passions for being outdoors in Vermont in winter. Families who do the same. Why not Busters?


Same Kids, Same Coach

We strongly encourage you to – at all costs – be here on the first weekends before the holiday break so that we can assess everyone. Many things change from season to season. Just because you were with us last year (and the year before that and the year before that), doesn’t mean we just plug everyone into the same groups. Our goal will be the same as yours: to get everyone in the right group with the right coach as quickly as possible!


We wish you all a safe holiday with family and friends. And we look forward to seeing you in a few weeks!


Best regards,

Mark Aiken

Alison Berlin

Carl Bertelsen

And the Buster Team