Gpetrics on Dodge’s Drop

Gpetrics is an accomplished above treeline skier from Hanover, NH. He’s addicted to high adventure and he’s an excellent photographer. When I saw the picture below, it captured my imagination. Following are excerpts from the TR he posted on Time for Tuckerman, after a trip to the rockpile, in early April 2008.

“…backcountryBen and I had a few things to take care of. When I raced in the Toni Matt downhill at Big Mountain a good 6 or 7 years ago, I finally opened my eyes and learned about all the history people like Mr. Matt and Brooks Dodge put into my backyard. I’ve had a hankering to do some of the big lines that these guys pioneered. Tuesday April 8th was the day.

We finally hit Dutchess, Empress, Dodge’s and Sluice. My numero uno objective however was (and always has been) to get up and down Dodge’s. I have no idea why I haven’t done it yet… it’s usually is in play for a good period of time.

Unlike Central which is so difficult to get because, among other things, the time window is so short. Dodge’s isn’t the hardest line in the world (again unlike Central), but for some reason it has eluded me. So pumped to get it done, and say to myself that I can appreciate the history of the mountain just a little bit more.

In all honesty, not the perfect Dodge’s day with the SE wind at the top to keep things firm. It probably would have been a better day to hit something else. Huntington was surely more protected from the winds. But what we did was not bad. Now I can’t wait to get back up there with the monkey off my back.”

Gore Mountain, NY: 4/10/08

Gore Mountain SummitUp this morning and off to Gore, after skiing Whiteface yesterday. I was curious about the condition of Gore, and the coverage. I knew it would be interesting to compare the two mountains side by side under basically the same conditions.

Actually it was bad couple of days for electronics as my iPod died on the drive home too. Man I hate listening to the radio driving through the Catskills. Despite yesterdays really warm temps, it did go below freezing last night. At the cabin, all the puddles had a thin layer of ice.

Gore, unlike Whiteface – was closed all week – since Sunday. So instead of getting pounded by skiers in the warm temps, Gore’s base was sitting there draining. And…It’s apparent to me now that Gore has much better DRAINAGE than Whiteface. Yesterday at the face, there were many spots being washed away by runoff. Gore’s seasonal tribs were raging, but the natural layout of the summit bowl and the manmade drainage improvements really keep the water off the trails.

Conditions at Gore, from 8:30-12:30 today were really significantly better than yesterday’s at WF. (Hey, I’m just telling it like it is.) I have such a “first tracks” mentality that I find it hard to take it slow and wait for corn to soften. That really didn’t matter today. The Gondi ran for almost an hour before they opened the summit, so I hit, in order Sunway, Showcase and Twister. That was the right order as each trail was basically lightly tracked corduroy, and incredibly smooth. It’s great when you are carving corduroy, and your ski is cutting in almost a full ski width. You’re on your edges AND your bases. Even my noodly K2s seemed to have some snap.

When they dropped the rope on the summit, I took Uncas as it’s in the morning sun more than Pine Knot. It was still very hard due to it’s more northern exposure. When I got to the SB quad…I was thinking…maybe I should head down for a few more runs until things got softer up here. Skipatrol skied in at that moment, and mumbled something to the effect of “awesome” so I went for the top. Hawkeye was groomed and surprisingly almost as soft as the bottom. Second I hit Chatiemac, which hadn’t been groomed or skied for 4 days. Joegm would have been proud of Gore offering nice 24″ intermediate bumps on a single black run. Probably the best continuous bump run of my season.

I hit the Double Barrel Jr (under the quad) and ran into another tele guy – Greg – who gave me a five-run lesson. He starts off the conversation….”man you’re really a good skier…you’ve got great balance…but you are leaning way too far back.” Tell me something I don’t know. He actually gave me some drills to do. We hit Rumor and Lies. I do think the top of Rumor has more pitch than anything on piste at Whiteface. (Slides excepted I’m sure.) The bumps on both Rumor and Lies were perfect spring corn bumps. I’ve skied Rumor maybe 25 times in my career…probably never did it top to bottom through bumps this big…under this much control. God it was so much fun.

I hit Open Pit which had the only spotty coverage I saw all day. And really it was fine…easy to pick your spots and get through. For my last run from the summit I hit Chatiemac again. My favorite for the day. Did some big GS turns down Tannery… then rode the Topridge Chair and was going to head down. BUT…they dropped the rope on Topridge and at noon I was getting fresh corduroy again. Another soft single black. Back to the top of bear mountain…I took Fairview to Twister… I really savored that final run to the bottom on Twister, hoping I’m not done for the year. What a day.

Whiteface Mtn, NY: 4/9/08

WhitefaceAfter blowing out of work at 2:30 yesterday and driving to our place in North River, I was excited and anxious to get a shot at the slides. It was not to be. We asked whoever we could find: what is up with the slides? Nobody knew, or would say.

After a few runs on the summit quad, ski patrol at the top gave us the bad news…. Slides are closed FOR THE SEASON.

James, his buddy Steve, Patrick and I made the best of it. I didn’t look at the map much so I’m not sure of the names of a lot of what we did. But here is what I do know: Slightly overcast but somehow sunny… things were corning up nicely by 9:58 when we loaded onto the facelift. Hit Upper Skyward, Cloudspin and some stuff on Little Whiteface.

One tree run was open, and the cover was dicey. Lost lots of snow since yesterday, according to James and Steve. For me, highlights were the bumps on Upper and Lower Mac, the obstacle course on Empire and Blazers Bluff. By the end of the day we were, at times, water skiing in runoff. My camera died. Possibly in response to some impacts. I did get a few pics out of it.

Oh yea. Patrick RIPS. He’s super smooth through big corny bumps. And he THRIVES on steepness. I had a tough time keeping up with both Pat and James and I was whipped by beer thirty. Great to meet those guys and thanks to them for letting me invite myself along.