Snow Ridge: Dog Days of Winter

You may not want to believe it but Winter is approaching halftime. Despite a slow start, winter came back with vengeance the last two weeks delivering the goods in varying degree all across the state. I’ve been traveling for work and had some serious FOMO down south. It was bad. I had to stop checking social media and stay off the mountain webcams.

Snow Pocket T Bar
The Snow Pocket T-bar

Home for the weekend, I wanted to make the most of my time off, hoping to find some untracked snow. In situations like this, the Snow Pocket is often part of the calculation. As usual it lay dormant all week waiting for me to claim first T on Saturday morning.

I pulled it to the Ridge around 10:45, hustled to get my gear on and grabbed a ticket. I didn’t have enough time to ride the chair up, so the walk from the lodge over to the Snow Pocket would count as my warm up lap. I arrived as the first ski patrolman headed up to clear the trail.

Craig in Sap Line
Craig in Sap Line

I was first in line and waited for the liftie to get the all clear. I chatted with Jay, a telemark skier who’s been at the Ridge his whole life. He’s a Snow Pocket snob and only comes when the snow is deep. He also claims to have the record for most broken T-bars, at 3.

We made the first tracks down Black River Run and he obliged me with some pics. The snow was heavy, but smooth and creamy. I tested coverage along the sides and didn’t bottom out. Could the trees be in play?

Sap Line Glade
Sap Line Glade

On my next ride up I ran into Craig and his dad. While his Dad took a break Craig and I dipped into the Sap Line Glades. Yes, the trees were in play. Line choices were important due to the heavy snow but it also kept the speed in check. We floated through the trees, making sure to bail out to the left before the creek. Get stuck on the other side of the creek, this time of the year, and it’s going to be a fun hike out.

We figured the Sap Line glades would keep until later, so we headed skiers right to check the Pocket Glades. A few adventurous trails led into the trees but for the most part it was wide open. Lower down I blasted out of the trees to the Side Pocket squealing with delight.

Alyssa and Helix

I wasn’t the only animal enjoying the fresh snow. Tyler with his dog Colden and Alyssa with her dog Helix were romping around and fixing to head up the T-bar. I’ve photographed a lot of characters on the mountain, but action shots of a ski dog were too good to pass up.

We made our way up dogs in tow. Helix was the more experienced ski dog, he didn’t miss a beat staying right by Alyssa’s side the whole way down. We had some serious speed too, but Helix was in his element gliding through the chest deep snow.

Snow Ridge trees
The Ridge

Behind us Tyler and Colden soon caught up. It was only Colden’s second day on the mountain but he was learning the ropes quickly. After a few more laps all the animals needed a break so we headed to the tavern for a refresher.

I wanted at least a few runs on the main face of the mountain. I had spent all day on the Snow Pocket and it was a relief to ride the chair lift up. Of course the main face was busier, but the perfect packed powder conditions were a nice way to finish the day.

On Monday I’ll be back on a plane heading away from the snow, but my FOMO has subsided and my thirst for powder quenched, for now. We are in the dog days of winter, better get it while it’s good.

6 comments on “Snow Ridge: Dog Days of Winter

  1. I love ski dog stories! I won’t bore you with mine but note that few areas allow dogs. Another gold star for The Ridge.

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