Monday, March 20, 2017

spring skiing springing early

We're continuing our dry patch of weather where it's been warm all week - allowing H to ride his road bike outside (much less boring than on rollers in the basement) - and that has brought some serious spring skiing conditions to the mountains.  On Saturday, it was already 40 F at the base when we got there, although the snow did manage to set up overnight.  It was windy (a warm wind) and mostly cloudy, clearing a bit to partly cloudy in the afternoon.  The crowds are way down since a lot of people don't like spring skiing - it is definitely more difficult than cruising smooth groomers - but we were there.

The corduroy had frozen hard overnight, however, so after only one Collins run we bailed for Sugarloaf.  That side of the mountain gets the sun earlier and thus the snow tends to soften up earlier.  We aren't the only ones who know this, unfortunately, and around 10:30 a.m. it was evident that almost everyone who was out skiing was out skiing Sugarloaf.  We moved over to Supreme at this point where, amazingly, Challenger was pretty good: soft and not yet bumped up enormously.  We stayed there before going in for an early lunch.  Patrol was keeping Supreme Bowl closed while the off-piste snow was still hard but all the groomers were decent.

Me and my giant mittens at the start
of Devil's Castle

The sun broke through the clouds when we were in at lunch and that set the snow to softening quickly.  The groomers started getting slushy and stick and even off-piste was soft.  We did an Extrovert run, then went in to Devil's Castle.  The snow was pretty good in there, all things considered, although H's legs started yelling at him for all the tele-turns he was making.  We went back to Supreme - where the vertical is short and the chair lift ride is long, so: good for resting legs - and did laps there.  Challenger was great and super-soft.

Our last run was in Catherine's Area.  We weren't sure what the conditions would be like but figured that if we did So Long, the area that gets the most traffic, it would be beaten down enough that we could still make turns.  This turned out to be exactly the case.  That section was nice but when we attempted the trees, where it hadn't been all tracked out, the snow was too heavy for either of us to turn in.  As we picked our way down, the snow got heavier and stickier and by the time we'd gotten out of there, we were done.  We'd made it until almost 3 p.m., leaving ourselves just enough time for a PBR before catching the bus home.

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