Snow conditions up here in NH are still pathetic. Tyson was to have led an ever popular ski down the back side of Wildcat — lift ride up, gentle ski back down towards the neighboring town. We never did get 100% clarity on the trail conditions, but it sounded like odds were, the trail had some bare spots. So instead, Tyson relocated to Moosilauke. Theoretically it had snow. But now the trip was an up and down on what was probably a steeper trail. Although neither Scott nor Tyson, the two leaders had been on the trail.
Anyways, the snow turned out fine once you got off the well tracked areas. A lot like we had seen the previous week — some soft stuff on top of a firm but not icy base. One of the trails we took had been a down mountain ski trail, but the Dartmouth Outing Club moved it to be a less steep climb up the hill, and did not cut it wide as a ski trail. We ended up going up to the tree line which was a bit above the difficulty the trip had initially been rated for, but it was absolutely gorgeous. There was an issue with one of the participants getting cold, so we did not stay long or summit either of Moosilake’s peaks.
The way back down was a little tricky. Where the trail was in dense trees, there was plenty of snow, but of course the trail was not very wide and had trees on either side. Where the trail, actually old carriage road, was wide and open, the wind had scoured all the snow off the trail and dumped it on the side leaving exposed rocks and hard crust in the middle. The sides of the trail were better, being merely wind compacted drift with small trees and bushes poking out of it. Bill, Scott, Tyson, and I — all the regulars — took our skins off to ski down, but the other two left theirs on to control their speed. I added to my own difficulty by keeping the same skis as I would have taken for Wildcat, namely my shorter cross country skis with their optional cables. Everyone else was on some variant of plastic boots and shaped skis. So, initially, I was skiing the side drift ok, but eventually, I got tired enough that I was just snow plowing and side slipping. And once we got back in to more snow, alpining.
Overall, I’d say not my favorite ski. Tyson wants to go ski it again, but I’m not really sure what redeeming qualities it has. Maybe with more snow and heavier gear it would be more fun. Also, I was still distinctly hurting in places from last sunday’s epic, so that probably didn’t help. Instead of great skiing, I got good conversation out of the trip. On the way up, I tried to convince Scott to try sea kayaking with us. And Bill and I talked about how to use new media (aka facebook and twitter) to recruit young folks to the AMC.
There was one funny spot on the way down. It was near the top in the deeper snow and narrower trail. I had picked up too much speed, so I turned up off the side of the trail, and my 50% chance of excessively sudden stoppage resulted in a fall. That was all well and fine, except that in falling, I threaded a large stick through my pack straps behind my head. I tried wiggling up, down, left, right, but I seemed good well and stuck. So here comes along Scott who sees me with a stick protruding from behind my neck and my head at a funny angle. That gave him quite the shock until he figured out that, no, no I just needed some help getting extricated.
We got back from skiing early enough that a pack of us went out to dinner and talked about skiing la Gaspesie.