If I could ascribe the word “formative” to any one place from my past, it would be Sugarbush. For Lukas Huffman and Geza Darrah, it’s the same: this is the place where we fell in love with snowboarding, and brewed our own particular brand of riding. Each Christmas I pack up my board bag, and drag the thing back east for a reunion of sorts—both people and place.

The size of the place always takes me back. Between the two mountains, Mt. Ellen, or Sugarbush North, and Lincoln Peak, or Sugarbush South, there’s over 4,000 acres of rideable terrain, on and off trails raked like claw marks into the thick trees of the mountainside. Will Hansen at the Sugarbush Adventure Center was kind enough to set us up with tickets and tour us around the new additions of the resort—the largest being the Slide Brook lift that connects the two mountains. Sugar bush has put together an aggressive program dedicated to freestyle and freeride—a sick park system and tour guides that familiarize snowboarders and skiers with all the secret stashes and hidden gems these two mountains contain.

Not that the three of us needed much touring. Sugarbush is the resort where the three of us and other central Vermont teenagers used to spend the weekends, dropped off by the spasmatic carload to terrorize and pillage everything in our path.

Back once again for the holidays, almost ten years since moving out west, we thrashed on everything. With nostalgic glee we called out and shredded the old haunts; frozen trees, rocks, more trees, snowmaking shacks and trailside hits—nothing was safe.

It’s nuts how different the west coast is. But comparisons just don’t work, without a doubt the rawness of riding at Sugarbush is what pushed each of our riding styles. Creative, aggressive, and just plain fun: a day back on Sugarbush with my bros is still the best way to do the holidays.