Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lifts Smifts

A somewhat decent sized storm for this early in the season came through town yesterday and man did it blow!

High winds, 6-12in in most places and just like that New England is in the middle of winter. Remember when it was 60 degrees like 5 days ago? Bill and I coordinated and decided our first turns were in order so we met at Cannon looking forward to some early season on piste powder turns that would fill in run after run.

For some reason it never even occurred to me that the lifts would not be running at Cannon. I have ridden the lifts there in weather that would make most people crap but I think it may have been the combination of wind and the fact that there was maybe 25 people on mountain yesterday...that's a lot of electricity to use for 25 people I guess. But all 25 of us decided there was no way we weren't getting some turns in after driving all the way there in less than ideal conditions.

Unfortunately because it had never occurred to me that there wouldn't be lifts running it also didn't occur to me to bring any of my AT gear that I have now. Not even a pack I could have used to haul my skis. Soooo time to shoulder those skis and start postholing our way up. A benefit of the running I have started doing immediately presented itself. The hikes up felt great, could have gone all day. Bill and I hiked over to the top of the Zoomer chair and got a run down Zoomer with a quick hike up a cattrack to grab a little more vert on the bottom 1/3 of Rocket. The snow was interesting, extremely wind blown and a bit grabby but better than sitting at a desk.

Top of Zoomer

We looped back around to the base and grabbed another lap up to the top of the Eagle Cliff Chair and down Gremlin. The wind was getting even worse into the late morning and I was literally blown over waiting for Bill before our second run. I had just put my skis down and went to turn my back to the wind and as I was spinning around a huge gust came through that I was not ready for and it felt like someone ran up and tackled me.

me sulking after getting pwned by the wind

After wrapping up our two laps the next challenge was getting the hell out of the Notch and home safe. Winds were still picking up and I was not looking forward to the drive home. Luckily the Echo is low profile and great in the snow. As I was leaving southbound through the Notch I came upon a tractor trailer stopped with hazards on pulled all the way to the left and hugging the guardrail that runs down the middle of the parkway. The reason he was hugging that guardrail is because it was keeping him from tipping over. The trailer was rocking back and forth in the wind almost enough to pick a wheel up off the ground. There was a enough room to crawl/sneak past him and I got the hell outta there. WILD.

Bill ended up getting a pretty good shot that shows just how gnarly it was...

Unfortunately all that wind lowered the accumulation at Cannon to just around 5in all said and done, but all the other snow got blown somewhere (the woods). Really looking forward to getting this season rolling. Looks like my skins will arrive in the mail the 14th and they will be trimmed and ready to go 1hr after that.