It was time for Isaac to try his new free-heel skis in uphill mode. We had ordered some skins from a place that sells direct, but they had failed to come through. Fortunately, Isaac’s grandparents had arrived and brought with them a pair of skins from an old set of skis. We cut them down to fit Issac’s, and set him up with a rat tail style attachment for the tails.
As we drove up Shem Valley Rd to AMC’s Cardigan lodge, we wondered how tight parking space would be on a holiday vacation week. When we arrived at the lodge, we were greeted with a nearly empty parking lot; courtesy of the very cold temperatures. The Cardigan Lodge boot room is always a welcome amenity.
Once ready, we headed for the Dukes ski hill. We had wanted to head for the Alexandria, but figured that we would be better off with a very short hike/climb before Isaac got to point his skis downhill. We found powder, on top of crust, on top of powder. A little crunchy, but quite ski-able. While we were lapping the little ski hill, a family of 5 skinned past us on their way up. Mom was in the lead with the youngest being helped by a tow rope behind her. We concluded that we would get more backcountry turns if we did the same for Isaac. We would need to put together our own tow rope system before our next uphill trip.
After a few laps, we convinced Isaac to try climbing a little way up the Dukes trail. We made it a few hundred yards past the stream above the ski hill when it was declared time to head down. We convinced ourselves that getting Isaac to have skinned up that far was to be our victory on this cold day and headed down. …with Isaac in the lead. We carved and bounced and tumbled down, and then glided back to the lodge to enjoy the lunch we had brought with us.