Yesterday's storm developed nicely all day, with snow falling heavily later in the day. It was absolutely lovely, and we knew it was going to be a potent storm. From home Bob had watched the storm develop, too, and knew to time their arrival to maximize their playtime. Dropping off some BC skis for a mount and a wax, I set them up for a little skate session before the storm arrived. While they were out I mounted new bindings on and waxed up his trusty old backcountry dogs, which were to be passed on to Damien, with all sense of tradition. While they were skiing I went plowing, knowing our worlds would again converge after their session and after dark. I had a plan.
Departing at 8:00pm, we ascended up past William Blake Pond and into the Botheration Pond NY State Ski Trail in driving snow with a lift in our hearts and headlamps ablaze. It was stunningly beautiful with snow piling in, hanging in the trees, blowing all around. The snow was light and fast, and we just cruised through the trees making easy turns wherever we wanted. Dropping off the ski trail, we crossed the length of Botheration Pond with our lights off, listening to our echoes careen off the hills surrounding us. The downhills on the loop are very well laid out with perfectly radius'd corners wide enough to criss-cross each others lines. And we did, hooting and hollering through each downhill twisty section, pumping the ground's rolling undulations and accelerating the whole way to Old Farm Road. If you nail the corners fast enough on the last descent to Botheration Bridge, you can actually ski right up onto it with enough momentum, I discovered with a loud "wahoo!!!". We stopped there with lights out and listened to the silence of absolute tranquility -- that place is one of the deepest darkest most deliciously silent special stargazing places around here.
Climbing up on the way back from Old Farm Road, I convinced them to do one more climb, which they begrudgingly did, lift in the hearts tipping under heavy legs and 8 or so miles already traveled (not including their earlier skate session, or their pre-dawn marathon drive, for that matter). That allowed us to get the cream of the crop of local downhills -- The Hooper Mine Trail! It is always worth it, no matter how hard you are hurting, to finish with the Hooper Mine Trail descent after looping Botheration clockwise, and there is nothing like descending it in fresh deep powder. In the dark, with headlamps. Laughing all the way... Turns were so easy, everywhere, slashing back and forth, snow so soft and flowy. The descent was just phenomenal. They nailed it, and we descended back to the shop arriving just after 11:00pm.
We got in very late, chatted, and turned in well past midnight. My 6:00am alarm seemed to chime on as soon as my head hit the pillow, and it was right back into weather forecasts, snow reports and plowing. Another day, another play, another way.
Sleep is hard to come by at times like these, with snow like this. If my writing seems fragmented and random, I attribute it to slumber deprivation and falling in and out of sleep while writing this. Today Chef Andy I did a ski-through from Barton Mines Road through the Vly to William Blake Pond then down to Old Farm Clearing. As I am writing this I've just come in at 10:00pm from a powder trek with some lodge guests, climbing past William Blake Pond just to descend the Hooper Mine Trail again to make turns. Earlier Chef Andy and I ran into D.E.C. Ranger Art just before we clipped into our skis, and he is plotting another ski through on another trail for tomorrow. Another day, another play, another way off the mountain. On skis. While cranking lovely turns in the fresh powder! I wonder if Bob and Damien will be up for that? And the night ski I have planned for later Friday?
Do whatever it takes to get up here to play in all of this fresh snow. It is absolutely glorious out there! We've got awesome conditions, wall to wall powder and packed powder skiing on 43KM of perfectly groomed trails with trackset, and a ton of great vibe. Come on up and make your own tracks. And bring your headlamps...
Bob in Repose. As is, he had to re-pose for this 20 times to get the light right!
This picture pretty much tells it all...
Heavy snow in the trees, dropping in on Andy's Run.
With all of this powder, you really need a big shovel!
Chef Andy in the tall trees of the Vly.