We did two backcountry ski trips this weekend. Mom and Dad came up to go skiing with us, so we wanted to maximize their skiing time.
Saturday we did the Tear Drop on Mt Mansfield. As we drove across VT, most of the fields were brown with clumps of snow here and there. I was not too worried because Mt Mansfield is higher elevation than most of its surroundings. Then we got to the exit off the highway, which is about 20 minutes from the mountain, and there was still bare grass showing. Even worse, we got to the meet up parking lot at the base of the mountain and the fields were still mostly bare. We compacted cars and drove up to the trailhead parking in Underhill State Park and finally found enough snow to ski on. It was still little enough that the unplowed road was open (though icy). Then we skinned up the mountain. By the intersection with the Tear Drop, there was enough snow to cover most of the backcountry hazards. About a third of the way up we had a decent base and 5 inches of fresh snow on top. And it just got better as we kept going up. I was so glad to see real snow that I had a grin plastered on my face the whole trip.
Sunday, I was leading an easier telemark trip. Or at least the terrain was much less sloped and the ascent shorter. The snow conditions were much worse, so the skiing was about as hard. We had to relocate that trip to find snow. We chose the Black Mountain CCC trail in Jackson which my co-leader had skied but I never had. It turned out to be a pretty nice trail. I will be inclined to lead it again next year. There were two people on the trip who were completely new to the backcountry. I lucked out and had warm weather which reduced all the risks for them. They seemed to have fun and hopefully we will see them again.