A Family Adventure


Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Family ski trip on the Sherburne

January 23, 2021
Emilie Phillips

The first family AMC NH ski trip this winter went really well. We had four kids on the trip ranging from five years old to fifteen. That’s the most I have ever had sign up for a down mountain trip. I also had two solo adults signed up. At first I was worried the adults would go too fast for the kids, but they worked out. One of them was new to back country skiing and needed the slower pace and lots of stops to figure everything out. My original co-leader and his kid had to back out last minute because of a possible covid contact. So we invited Tyson’s brother, Kent, and his teenage kids along. The teenagers hiked up with snowboards on their backs. Kent was on old alpine skis.

Tyson assembling the touring adapters

Tyson jumped at the chance to try lending the touring adapters he bought years ago. They are inserts that go into an alpine binding and let the boot pivot. The bottom part clicks into the binding. The top part has a wire bail that grabs your boots. Some assembly required at 8PM the night before the trip.

Normally, groups meet in the boot room under the Pinkham Notch visitor center, but it’s closed for covid. Instead, I got creative. I tied a bright square of cloth to my avalanche probe and mounted that beside my car in the parking lot. Then I taped a sign to the trunk window. Everyone found me right on time.

Snow blowing off Mount Washington

The weather was the last challenge. Pinkham Notch’s forecast high was 12F. Tuckerman’s Ravine, a little ways above the top of our trip would barely get to 1F with 40 mph winds. That’s challenging conditions for kids and for newbies. I sent out several e-mails emphasizing the need for jackets, water that doesn’t freeze, and quick snacks rather than a long cold lunch. Everywhere except Mount Washington was blue bird skies. The wind blowing over the mountain made a billowing cloud of snow that shaded the whole eastern side. Amazingly we only had two pairs of cold hands and nothing worse.

Sarah and Fenton

Our pace was largely set by the youngest kid. We weren’t sure if he was going to make it all the way up to the top of the Sherburne at Hermit Lake. He did. So congrats to Fenton for his first ascent and ski down the side of Mount Washington.

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