Catching Winter at the Right Moment

The 2017-18 season has been a tale of at least two winters. We got off to a promising start with big storms in December that opened up trails, and the snow was preserved by a persistent and brutal polar vortex that lasted into the second week of January.

Then MLK weekend featured a devastating thaw with significant rain that devoured the eastern snowpack, and since then conditions have largely mirrored last year—extended dry periods with mild temperatures, punctuated by brief periods of heavy snowfall. Getting it while it’s good has required patience, luck, and a willingness to go the distance—sometimes even as far as Quebec.

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The Day After That

Certain questions linger in the minds of skiers and some will never go away. “Ski on storm day or the day after?” Last week I didn’t have to make that choice. I was locked in to ski the day after that.

I have a theory, or maybe it’s a coping mechanism, but it works for me. I’m better off getting to the hill as soon as I can, even if it’s not soon enough.

Last week, from the sidelines, I watched two storms drop snow on the East. Both storm tracks favored Gore, and if you count the snow from Friday night, the mountain recorded nearly two feet. Friday morning I headed north, rising at 3:30 to drive to the hill. I didn’t make first chair, but the crowd was surprisingly light and I parked in the A Lot at 9:30.

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Return to the Mountains: Back to the MAX

Since my fateful and educational collision with a tree at Stratton in early December, I watched my social media feeds with a mixture of jealousy and anticipation as the east got some good early season snow. Surely, I thought, Ullr’s bloodthirst was slaked due to my offering, and he was preparing the mountains for my return.

Then, right on schedule, came the January thaw. All of that glorious fluff gone thanks to two days of rain and near-60-degree weather. I began to dread the ice that would follow as I now fear ice in a way I hadn’t before. But as I kept an eye on the forecast and saw that some areas were due to get up to eight inches of fresh snow, I grew excited and decided to head up north for the first time in six weeks.

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