A journal of my 2010-2011 ski season and the quest for 100 days!
Day 101: Apr. 12
You didn’t think I’d stop at 100, did you? Warm sunny day. The combination of yesterday’s rain with warm temps meant the surface was very soft and needed skiing. Where it got skied, the surface was good. The quad apparently knows its days are numbered and acted up today. It had to be shut down for awhile and they opened Lookout (which had its own set of problems.) Skied with Bob Simeone and Calvin for a sociable Spring day.
Day 100: Apr. 9!
I made it! And what a day for the 100th day! I couldn’t have planned it any better. It got really warm today and still blue skies and sun! A bigger crowd as you might expect for such a prototypical Spring skiing day. (And I thought they were there to celebrate my 100th day.) The parking lot was one huge tailgate party with barbecues and beers everywhere you looked. Conditions softened up early and actually got too soft by lunchtime. But some great hero bumps on Starr, National, and Goat. Meg had a good day also skiing those soft bumps. While I’m glad I set and attained the goal of 100 days, I probably won’t keep such accurate track in future years. If it happens, it happens. I look forward to being able to ski when I want to and as often as I want to. When Mike Weisel and I were skiing on Thursday he remarked, “Did you ever think we’d still be skiing the way we are at this age?” The answer is no, but it is a definite blessing that we are!
Day 99: Apr. 8
Another bluebird day and slightly warmer than yesterday. I took advantage to ski Starr from the top, National, Liftline and Goat. I also had a good social day visiting with Bud Kassel, Herb Swift, the Hausman’s, and John Irish. It was a perfect Spring skiing day since things softened up, but didn’t get too soft. You could cruise some of the intermediate trails even at the end of the day!
Day 98: Apr. 7
Beautiful day! Gondola and Spruce were Spring-like. Mansfield was more wintry. Skied with Mike Weisel and it was like old times. We cruised and also tested ourselves by taking both Starr and Lookout from the top. In both of those cases the shady wintry side of the trail was better skiing than the sunny spring side! Surprisingly small crowd today for such a nice Spring day.
Day 97: Apr. 6
Sunny morning with 6-8 inches of powder! Winter conditions at the top, more spring-like at the bottom. The untracked was great, but once it got skied on the lower mountain, it was heavy and a lot of work. I got some good runs at the gondola (extreme skier’s left on Gondolier by the race course, for example) and Liftline. Woods were great.
Day 96: Apr. 5
Went up late due to rain in the morning and then lifts on wind-hold. The rain changed over to snow and led to some good skiing in the late afternoon. The snow was dense so it covered the ice at the top and blended with the rain-soaked snow at the bottom. I put down fresh tracks on every run. Granted you could practically the number of people there. I’ve never seen it so deserted. I had great runs down both skier’s right and left lines on Liftline. last run was on Nosedive and skier’s left was untracked!
Day 95: Apr. 4
Some snow in the morning made for some good skiing. I actually got first tracks down Gondolier and Perry Merrill at 10:30! Visibility was tough so I tried some trees, but there was even fog in there that made discerning the surface difficult. By 1:00 it was changing to rain with freezing rain at the top. I quit before the rain really picked up, but still got wet.
Day 94: Apr. 3
Spectacular day with bluebird sky. The mountain didn’t really soften up, but the gondola and Spruce did get very springlike. Big crowd! Meg and I came up in the afternoon and it was hard to find a parking spot. There was a steady wind that made it feel colder than it really was. The finals for the Sugar Slalom didn’t finish until after 4:00PM! They had close to 600 racers. Coming back on Over Easy it was neat to see all the tailgate parties going on in the Mansfield lot.
Day 93: Apr. 2
My last hosting day and it’s Sugar Slalom! Big turnout for the race. Conditions were pretty good in the morning as we did get 3+ inches of snow overnight. however visibility at the top was next to nothing. Eventually in the afternoon the clouds raised so even the top had moments of sun. I gave a tour to a woman and her son which went well. Finished the day at Spruce watching some of the racers deal with the ruts.
Day 92: Apr. 1
Well, the great snowstorm was a fizzle. Just some dust on crust. Still some trails were pretty good, but others like Hayride were a little slick under the new snow.
Day 91: Mar. 31
Ahhh, back home again. Quite a change from Snowbird, but very good Spring conditions today through filtered sunshine. The surface softened, but didn’t get slushy. The lack of a crowd meant that the groomed trails stayed very good. This included Liftline, Nosedive, and Hayride. It took me a run to adjust back to my skis, but after that it was back to normal.
Day 90: Mar. 28
Yup, it snowed again and at times quite hard. We put in a short day since it was our last. Took a run on Peruvian and then traversed over to the Gads. We met Calvin and Tory for lunch and then took a couple of runs with them before heading back. STH was fantastic! Steep and deep. Although due to the depth of the snow it didn’t seem as steep. Meg had a spectacular run on her rockered fat skis! What a great vacation!
Day 89: Mar. 27
Another 9 inches of snow overnight and then the sun came out! Well, at least it was out until about 1:00 and then clouds quickly rolled back in. But the skiing was fantastic! Fellow host Calvin Pickersgill and his daughter Tory joined us today so we gave them the tour. We caught the opening of Road to Provo and got a couple of epic runs. The wind had gotten to the snow which made it a little heavy, but in spots it was deep – you were skiing on the accumulated 41 inches during the past week. This confirms yesterday’s opinion that there seems to be deeper snow to ski in here rather than Alta. We also took a run into Mineral Basin just as the clouds came back and turned the light flat. That was interesting. At the end of the day the four of us had a couple of beers at the Tram Bar. The ski movie they were showing featured Duncan Adams and Tanner Rainville among others. What a coincidence.
Day 88: Mar. 26
Surprise, we actually had some sun this morning! We took the bus up to Alta and spent the day there. Interestingly there wasn’t as much loose snow as we’ve been skiing at Snowbird. It appears the wind gets to the open areas more at Alta. Now there were untracked areas that hadn’t been opened yesterday. They eventually opened Glory Hole and the Greeleys. They briefly opened Ballroom. I did drag Meg out the high High Traverse to examine the Yellow Trail area and then High Greeley. Since it had started to snow again we actually took Greeley Hill off the end of the traverse with its sparse trees which helped visibility.
Day 87: Mar. 25
Snowed all day. More people here for a Friday which made it a little more difficult to find untracked. But there was some! And if you were lucky and found a spot where all this snow that has fallen in the past week accumulated, wow! Once again we used the trees for visibility skiing off Gad 2 in the morning. In the afternoon we took Peruvian and made the trek to get to Dalton’s and Mach Schnell. Both were in great shape and I had some great runs! Where we came out on Mach Schnell must have a favorable exposure because the snow was lighter and you could get a legitimate face shot. Once you got down a little way it got a little heavier, but still very nice. Oh, I just checked the Snowbird website and they’re claiming 10 inches so far today.
Day 86: March 24
Mostly snow day. The official tally was only 6 inches, but it was enough to make some slopes a lot of fun! Due to limited visibility we hung near the trees. Spent a lot of time off the Gad 2 lift including STH which was skiing really well. Definitely one of my best runs down that trail. For the last run we braved the flat light at the top and took the tram. We took the Cirque Traverse to see if we could find our way to Mach Schnell. We didn’t, but were able to drop into Wilbere Bowl which contained some of the best skiing we’ve had. I guess because it’s hard to get to not as many folks had skied it. Anyway it was a run to remember!
Day 85: Mar. 23
A sunny Snowbird day! Plus there were some areas such as Bookends and the Road to Provo that just opened after the past two days storm. This led to some fresh tracks and good skiing. I’ve rented some K2 Aftershocks which are handling the conditions pretty well. Meg has some K2s as well (no extreme rockers like last year.) In some areas the wind drifted the surface so it was like fresh tracks even though it had been skied. The Gad Chutes were an example. Topped off the day in the hot tub. All in all a good first day!
Day 84: Mar. 21
Skied for the morning. Snow began when I got there and accumulated a quick couple of inches by the time I left. Conditions on the groomers were good. Gondolier and Liftline were great no-effort cruisers. Perry Merrill on the other hand was a little rough – must be training a new groomer!
Day 83: Mar. 19
Hosting day! Temperature dropped overnight with just a dusting of new snow. Firm conditions to start and then the trails facing the sun softened up to be spring-like. However trails that faced away from the sun such as Liftline and Nosedive stayed hard all day. Non-groomed trails were closed. There was a good crowd that I think beat their forecast and it included a lot of first time Stowe visitors. I did ride up with one fellow who estimated that it was 30 years since his last visit! After the ski day, Meg and I attended the staff recognition event where I received a vest for 15 years of service. It was a good event with some great hors d’oeuvres (they were too fancy to be called appetizers!) and free beer or wine.
Day 82: Mar. 18
Still soft since it didn’t go below freezing last night. If we did get any rain, it certainly wasn’t too much. It was windy with the temperature dropping. Eventually they had to close the gondola. I didn’t waste runs and just skied the front four: Starr, National, Liftline, and Goat. All had soft spring bumps. Well, actually you could avoid the bumps on Liftline.
Day 81: Mar. 17
Saint Patrick’s Day! Started the day at McCarthy’s and Irish Coffees! It was the prototype Spring-skiing day: sunny, warm, and very soft conditions. Skiing with Todd Kelley, Charlie, and Mo Diette. We covered a lot of territory from gondola, the mountain, and Spruce. You could tire yourself out pretty quickly!
Day 80: Mar.15
Wow! This was the day you picture when you think of March skiing: sunny, temperature pushing 40, good conditions. Granted at the top the temperature stayed below freezing leaving some of the not-sunny trails firm. I did ski Lookout from the top and it was good. For the first time upper National wasn’t quite as good as the loose snow has been skied off and you have to deal with a firm surface. I took a couple of runs over at Spruce which was really good! It only got mushy down near the very bottom. As the photo indicates today was Pauli’s last day. Her smile in the Quad line will really be missed.
Day 79: Mar. 14
Slow start to the day for both me and the mountain! I had to remove a flat tire and take it to the garage. The mountain had some icing problems so lift openings were delayed. By the time I got there all lifts were running, the sun was out, and the temperature had warmed up. Conditions were surprisingly good with more wintry at the top and spring-like as you approached the bottom. And with daylight savings time the sun stays on Mansfield longer, well actually later in the day. Starr was rather firm, but National remains good with some loose snow to work with. I finished the day on Chin Clip which wasn’t quite as soft as I imagined.
Day 78: Mar. 13
Meg and I went up late for some quick afternoon runs. While it was snowing it wasn’t really accumulating (it was raining in the village). Conditions were reminiscent of Saturday, but they have done more grooming. And lower on the mountain the new snow on top of the firm surface still produced that drag/hooking feeling I saw yesterday. The left edge of Nosedive was spectacularly good: wintry powder!
Day 77: Mar. 12
Hosting day! Twelve of us gathered early for a 7:30AM run in memory of Lonnie Field. Bud Kassel led us over to the Chapel in a ski-school-like line. I think Lonnie would have liked it (but he would have wanted to go faster!) Due to yesterday’s rain and the fact the temperatures didn’t dip to freezing until about 3:30AM, they did limited grooming. Skiing any ungroomed trails required strength and commitment as you had to power through some heavy stuff! The groomed trails had a dusting of new snow over the firmer, groomed surface. The new snow was slow which caused your skis to drag and in my case, my tips really wanted to hook! When your left ski wants to go right and your right ski wants to go left it pays to keep them a fair distance apart! Did Mansfield in the morning and Spruce in the afternoon. Took advantage in the afternoon to watch the second run of the NCAA Men’s Slalom won by UVM’s Tim Kelley, a Corcoran offspring! It was a bear of a course and there were some awesome skiers.
Day 76: Mar. 10
A pleasant surprise as there were 6+ inches of new snow this morning! This inspired me to demo a pair of Volkl Gotama’s. They definitely are easier to handle in this soft mix we have. I really liked them in the woods (Tres Amigos and Lookout glades)! I quit at 1:00 before things changed over to the forecasted rain.
Day 75: Mar. 9
A recovery day! Started sunny then became overcast. After skiing Mansfield in the morning I went over to Spruce and watched the NCAA men’s GS. Some very impressive skiers. I’m afraid UVM’s #1 man lost a ski and so was DSQed. That puts them in a big hole for winning the NCAA’s. They still haven’t groomed Liftline, Hayride, or upper Nosedive. It’s a lot like the old days with soft bumps everywhere! Hard to find a groomer to enjoy a cruising run.
Day 74: Mar. 8
Skied with Neil Schell today. Great day with bluebird skies. The wind had gotten to the new snow so it needed some skiing. Interestingly there weren’t many there to do that skiing! So we got tired doing it! Even Nosedive glades weren’t entirely tracked out as at 9:30 I could still find fresh lines. Oh, Perry Merrill and Gondolier were groomed to a velvet surface so our first two runs were effortless! Starr and Lookout were great, but a lot of work!
Day 73: Mar. 7
We got the big one! Rain turned into snow and there was close to two feet on the mountain. However getting to the mountain proved to be difficult! The town didn’t plow Cady Hill road until sometime in the afternoon. My plow guy made it around 11:30 and we headed up right after noon. We spent the time on the gondola which was running verrrrrry slowly due to wind. The skiing was good since the snow was heavy enough that you skied on top of it.
Day 72: Mar. 5
Hosting Day! The forecast of rain seemed to scare people away so there wasn’t the big crowd they had anticipated. However the rain really held off until about 2:30. And the skiing was great! Thanks to the reduced crowds the surface held up all day. I gave a tour down Lord and North Slope to three ladies at about 2:00 and it was great – smooth with no bumps.
Day 71: Mar. 4
Went up for the afternoon which was sunny and warm! Liftline was particularly good. The surface is holding up really well even though they’re grooming it nightly. I took Starr and it’s interesting that some of the bumps are getting skied off, or maybe I should say rounded off. The result is less bumps and smaller bumps which makes it easier to ski. Very little soft snow left between the bumps however.
Day 70: Mar. 3
Cold day. Skiing was good, but the surface was a little firmer due to the subzero temperatures over night. I didn’t push it as hard only skiing Starr in the double black category.
Day 69: Mar. 2
Snow squalls dumped a few quick inches around noon time. The winds picked up and blew it around, but it still made for some good skiing. Lookout was particularly good and Starr also, but that had been skied more. They did a good job repairing the base of my ski.
Day 68: Mar. 1
Town Meeting. Another bluebird day with relatively warm temperatures. The sleet/snow the mountain got yesterday actually helped. On trails like Starr and Goat it filled in between the bumps and you could ski on it rather than in it. I skied them all: Hayride, Lookout, Starr, National Liftline, Goat, Nosedive, Chin Clip, and even skied the National Glade for the first time. It was an excellent day. I dropped my skis off to get the base repaired from Sunday’s “incident”.