Slopes Update

I was able to hit Okemo yesterday, and I figured I would share some info on conditions coming into the holiday week.

It was a brisk 8 degrees at the base when people started catching the lift from the lodge to get on the slopes. Fortunately there was no wind so despite the low temperature, it really didn’t feel bone-rattling cold. I got a bit panicky because there was a good sized cluster of people around the lift. But it was because they didn’t load anyone until 9:00AM sharp for some reason.

The crowd dispersed quickly, and the line to the summit 6-pack wasn’t really a line and so I was at the summit in good time. I made a run down to the Solstice area lift to warm up the muscles, then proceeded over to Jackson Gore. Last visit I didn’t get over there so I made it a point this time.

Trail conditions were good overall. Nice firm groomers made up most everything that I put my skis over. There were a few spots on Tuckered Out in Jackson Gore that were scraped clean, despite it being before 10AM. I couldn’t figure that out, but most all of the trail was covered otherwise. Lower Limelight was in great shape, and allowed for a nice carving run all the way to the new 6-pack (no bubble) lift.

I hit the scraped clean effect again on Sapphire, a very popular trail. There was some loose snow on trail edges, so I stayed to the edge, but there were no usual lumps of scraped up snow in the middle of the trail. It was almost as if the groomer pushed the snow off to somewhere else. In other words, no corduroy on that trail! Very strange indeed. I did not revisit Sapphire.

Snow making was in progress in a couple of places, and there were huge snow whales just waiting to get groomed out and make a nice coating to ski and ride on. But not during my visit. My guess is that the grooming team will leave the whales alone until after the warm spell passes by.

While it is impossible to label conditions “great” this season because of the lack of snow, given the amount of natural snow ski resorts in much of New England have had available, conditions were pretty darn good. There were spots in several trails where bare earth poked through, but that was only here and there and not really of big consequence.

Given the warmth visiting us today, overnight and into tomorrow, it will be interesting to see how the slopes hold together. I won’t mention the “R” word, which will only add to the snow removal process.

The bottom line will be wait and see. What is really needed is three, back-to-back storms that dump a foot of snow or more on the hills of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. And then let it stay cold. Not bone-rattling cold. But cold enough to keep the snow through the end of March, at least.

That’s my wish for this season. I am just getting my legs back into ski-shape. And I am just getting my mojo back as I get comfortable with a new pair of skis. I would love to see the ski and ride season hang in there for another month so that I can really get to having some serious fun on the groomers.

So, nothing real exciting to provide. It’s a wait and see game at this point to determine how this warm spell plays out and what havoc may be reaped.

On a final note, I picked up a pair of Auclair Traverse gloves for this season. My other pair of gloves got packed out and were worthless. Despite the cold conditions Wednesday morning, the Traverse gloves kept my hands warm the entire time. I get cold hands relatively easily, so I was very pleased at how these gloves performed. If you want warm gloves—as warm as mittens almost—check out Auclair Traverse.

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