Wednesday, March 6, 2013

first day of spring skiing

Saturday was a gorgeous day, pretty warm and mostly sunny - at least sunny enough to make up for not having any new snow to speak of.  I wore my trusty little Volkls and H took his new skis, interested to see how they would do in spring-like conditions.  We'd have to wait a little while for the snow to soften up, however.  Since it had been pretty warm and mostly sunny the day before, we knew that anything south-facing would have gotten really soft in the afternoon and then frozen up overnight.  Devil's Castle would have held up better, not having gotten any direct sun this time of year.  When we hiked in and skied the Castle, our theory held: the snow was chunky, soft and cold.  Nice!

Looking at Cecret Lake from Devil's Castle

The Sugarloaf lift and surrounding runs got busy quickly so we moved over to Supreme, looking for sunny places to ski.  The Challenger trail looked like it was going to be good, out in the open and not covered in bumps.  The Challenger trail was not at all good: hard and scraped off.  Runs in Catherine's Area before lunch proved a mixed bag, soft and cold up high and in the trees, but all frozen up in the last pitch before the run-out back to the lift.

Pausing for photos in the Castle

After lunch it was a different story: everything got soft.  We did a couple runs on the back side where Lower Yellow Trail was mushy, but around the corner in East Greely and the Glitch/Glatch chutes the snow was soft and really quite fantastic.  When we went back to Catherine's, all the hard bumps had softened in the sun to the point where it felt like creamed corn underfoot.  I finally felt like I was skiing well and enjoyed those last few runs quite a lot.

Sunshine and smiles apres-ski

Other things of note. They opened Baldy Chutes and skiers swarmed up there, including several young, gorgeous, bad-ass telemark ski-girls.  Avalanche dogs have the best jobs in the world: while waiting in line at Supreme, we watched a happy and exuberant black Lab ride up on a snowmobile, then roll around like a crazy dog in the snow until his patroller got him up on the chairlift for a ride to the top of the mountain.  We also got up close and personal with a porcupine who was unconcernedly stomping across the trails between Alf's Lodge and the Sugarloaf lift.  Finally, we paused for a PBR on the patio at Goldminer's Daughter Lodge, our first of the year.  The place was packed with folks - everyone was enjoying the sunshine on Saturday!

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