A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

The Alexandria, Mt Cardigan

February 20, 2015
Emilie Phillips

We are taking a mini vacation this weekend and skiing several days adults only. For our first trip, my parents, Tyson and I headed up to the classic Alexandria ski trail on Mt Cardigan. We spent most of the morning packing ourselves, packing Isaac, and dropping him off at Tyson’s parents. We only arrived at Cardigan at noon. Instead of starting up the trail and almost immediately stopping for lunch, we decided to take advantage of the AMC lodge to enjoy our lunch in warmth. It was 9F and quite windy outside.

We started up the trail around 1pm. Our plan was to skin up to grand junction, then up the side of the Alexandria. From the top of the Alexandria, we could either follow the hiking trail to the top of Mt Cardigan, or just head back down. And then once at grand junction again, depending on time and enthusiasm, we could either ski straight out or detour over to the Kimball ski trail for one last run down.

The trail was well traveled all the way to grand junction. This trip was my first time on skins this year, so it felt a little foreign at first. Then I figured out how to apply some of my new efficient cross country technique and I started really cruising. Tyson was in good shape from his cog trip last weekend. My parents, who live in Virginia, haven’t seen much snow all winter, so they were still on early season legs.

At grand junction, all the traffic stayed on the Holt trail or split off on Kimball except for two down hill tracks on the Alexandria. We saw evidence of other tracks, but they had all blown in with snow. Tyson and I broke most of the trail through the wind blown powder, but we still made good time to the top of the Alexandria. Blue skies, gorgeous views, but rather windy and cold, and we had another ski trip planned for the next day, so we decided not to kill ourselves pushing any higher.

We rested and enjoyed the views for maybe a little bit too long because all our fingers got cold. The photography on the way down suffered a bit as a consequence. Tyson headed down the ski trail looking like he was having great fun. I started out having difficulties initiating a turn in the deep wind packed powder without resorting to an early lead change. Then I remembered a tip I received recently — put more pressure on the outside ski earlier in the turn. That did it. Then  it was all fun all the way down. Mom and Dad skied pretty well too for their first backcountry trip of the season. When we got to the bottom of the Alexandria, Tyson realized he had left his poles long and that’s why they kept tripping him up.

Back at grand junction, we all decided to take the easy glide out to the car rather than detouring over to Kimball ski trail. Again, I used my new cross country techniques to be significantly more efficient on the way out. We arrived back at the car at 3:30pm.

Then, we drove southwest to the Berkshires for the next day of skiing.