A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac


February 15, 2010
Emilie Phillips

Saturday, Tony and Ted were going to lead a trip to a historic ski trail in western MA — the Thunderbolt. Unfortunately, reports were that the trail had a one foot wide ribon of snow left. To keep the trip in the same general area, it was moved to Wachusett. For context, Wachusett is the main ski area that serves Boston, so it is very crowded. Not the same as a backcountry trip.

Friday night, Tony came down to stay the night at our place since we were almost on his way. Tyson and I stayed up way too late socialising before we started packing. Tony, somehow was already packed.

We started from the state park trailhead, skinned our way up on off season roads, along the side of the downhill trails to various odd looks, and finally to the top. We skipped the actual top since it did not have snow and did not look that interesting.

Tony is taking a PSIA moguls class next weekend, so he wanted to go down the one run where they allow moguls. The run was groomed flat on one side, so you didn’t have to ski the moguls. Ted gave a couple tips on how to ski bumps for those of us who were unsure of our abilities. I tried some at the top, but I really was not having much luck, so I gave up and just skied down the smooth half.

We stopped at the lodge for snacks and pit stops and then headed back up around the other side of the mountain. This time we were on hiking trails for most of the time. Only near the top did we transition back to the unplowed access road. At one place we got a nice view out across Massachusetts.

Once again at the top, we headed down the mogul run. This was my second run, so my legs were warmed up enough that I persevered all the way down the moguls, but it really was not pretty. Folks decided the moguls were fun, so we dropped packs and hiked back up. But first, Ted took pitty on me and gave me a little more lesson on how to ski bumps. In this case it was on transitioning and releasing the edges. I am sure I had heard other people describe the same motion to me before, but it took Ted carefully demonstrating to convince me that it actually does result in a turning motion. So then I did a couple laps on the bumps, starting from the flatter section at the bottom and working my way up. The photographic evidence suggests it still wasn’t pretty, but I was feeling in control rather than the first run where I was just barely getting my carcass to the bottom in one piece.

Then we all headed to the bar at the bottom. On the way down, I continued trying my new skills, and they did result in nice fun turns, except they also required a good deal of energy. So I kept having to stop and gasp for air. I really need to get into better shape.

After some indeterminate time hanging out at the bar, we skinned back up to the cars and called it a day.

But then, there is that bit where you make sure everyone starts their car before leaving. Well, one of the cars wouldn’t start. We tried jumping it, no such luck. After listening to it, it was decided that it had a bad starter. Luckily it was a stick shift, so we could do the push it down the road to get it started trick.


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Comments (4)

  • Mixed group

    It appears that your group was a mixture of telemark and randonee. Is this the normal, and how do the two technique compare on up and down hill?

    Also do you know that some of the pictures from the trip show as a watch icon instead of photo?

    • Re: Mixed group

      The two guys on randonnee gear are both European. Randonnee seems to be far more popular over in the Alps, and telemark far more popular here. There is one other AMC-NH member who regularly shows up in AT gear. Everyone else is tele.

      Straight up the hill, the two are comparable. Touring across the hill with little ups and downs, telemark appears to be easier. The AT skiers seem to have to keep swapping their bindings from tour to ski mode. Skiing down hill, AT is much faster, and since it is just alpine skiing, easier to master.

      There are two jokes that get told:
      1) The telemarkers say that randonnee is French for can’t tele.
      2) The AT skiers say that telemark is Norwegian for “wait for me at the bottom.”

      As far as the photo album: it’s the movies that haven’t finished uploading to picassa.

    • Re: Mixed group

      So long as there isn’t much touring on rolling terrain, randonee fits in reasonably well. …and all us tele-skiers mock the randonee folks. 😉

      The “watch icons” are supposed to be videos. I’m not sure if there is a problem or I’m just waiting for google to finish re-encoding them. I’m still trying to sort that out.