Most people save their vacation days for warmer weather, traveling to beaches in the winter or just enjoying summer days. Skiers and snowboarders hoard our days waiting for the opportune storm or coveted trip. Powder days are most precious and after the storm last week it was time to use some PTO.
Skiing midweek has its perks. Despite the sixty-minute drive to Old Forge, I still get to sleep in, compared to a work day. McCauley Mountain reported 9 inches during the week and the parking lot was empty when I pulled in just before the first chair.
I made my way up the old Hall Double and headed for the low angle Rambler glades first to check the coverage in the trees. On my way I laid some deep carves on the soft corduroy.
I had first tracks and cautiously made my way through the entrance of the glades. Coverage was decent but the snow hid some boulders and stumps. It wasn’t a ski anywhere kind of day, but the trees were in play.
I ran into Mike, a retired coworker who I often see at Woods Valley. He bounces around the local resorts following the snow. He says for him, everyday is Saturday. Retirement sounds like fun. We headed down Sidewinder occasionally hopping into the knee deep snow drifts off to the sides.
We rode Skyride over to bowl shaped run that is Racer. Wind blown snow had filled in nicely and we took creamy turns all the way back to the lift. Mike wanted to check out the trees, so we headed back to the Rambler Glades.
Near the entrance a ski patroller and his telemarking friend discussed their lines through the trees. They looked like they knew what they were doing so I asked if I could take some shots as they plunged through the glades. At the top of the lift I introduced myself to Al and Dan, and asked if they knew of any other deep snow.
They led me partly down Skyride before cutting into the middle section of the Barkeater glade. I had been avoiding these trees because they’re steep I assumed they would be too thin. Instead I made some of the deepest turns of the day.
Caution could not be thrown completely to the wind, a root had grabbed Al’s ski and pulled him under. He dug himself out, shook it off and rode out like a consummate professional.
After thanking Al and Dan for pointing me in the right direction, I linked back up with Mike for a few groomers to finish the day. My last run down Sidewinder I cut to Lower Mac’s run and enjoyed knee deep snow back to the parking lot. It made for a sweet finish.
Midweek skiing and riding is always the dream. No lift lines and often fresh snow. Lift tickets aren’t free and retirement is not on the horizon, so for now I’ll keep saving the PTO. Just don’t ask me to go to Florida in the middle of February.
10 comments on “Midweek McCauley”
Great stuff but I just don’t understand the powder obsession by East Coast Skiers personally…
I grew up here in New England, learned to ski at resorts as an adult, and vastly prefer groomed, smooth, hard pack, which I can control, carve and enjoy at a (for me) fast pace… To each, their own and I know I am in a vast minority but I just don’t get the powder obsession to the point I wonder if some people feel the same but are told powder is cool so they believe it…
Ah, to live 60 minutes from Big Mac is to live the dream…jealous…nice work.
Never skied McCauley, but it sounds nice and alot of fun. Nice article.
The 46er is one of the best runs at Gore and it’s rarely open. Why doesn’t the management at Gore spend more time preparing the ski bowl? Also, it would be nice if the lift attendants cleaned the ice and snow from the chairs at the beginning of each day.
Always a great read from you Robert! Old Forge holds a special place in my heart from snowmobiling a half century ago with my ‘73 Ski Doo silver bullet.
@ Matt S. I am also a big fan of fresh groomers, and especially love laying down carves, but powder is something else. When you have a real powder day, like a foot or more its unreal. You feel weightless and limitless. The entire mountain becomes a playground and a powder shot to the face is the tastiest thing on the menu. I think being on the east coast and starved of these kinds of days makes them all the more sought after.
@Robert – Appreciate the reply… I guess I will just have to ski more to understand.
I’ve skied Big Mac midweek, it’s awesome. It’s my favorite ADK mountain by far. Glad you enjoyed it!
As for Florida…gross.
Great report! Glad you had fun! Hoping tomorrow is another epic powder day at Big Mac 🙂
Awesome article, Robert. Way to get after it. I’m sensitive to the anti-powder-obsession element in skiing, especially on the east coast, but there’s no denying how satisfying it is when you catch it on the right day. Keep it up!