Friday, December 28, 2012

A day of season firsts

As predicted most of yesterday's storm's accumulation occurred later in the day and Cannon had some goods on offer this morning. First 'powder day' of the year!  Unfortunately its the Friday of holiday week so there was also TONS of people competing for said goods.

Shaun and I missed first chair by just a bit but were headed up mountain by 9.  We got some fun early turns on Taft and Upper Hard (which was riding much better than I expected).  We paused and thought about ducking into Middle Hard but I had visions of that nasty third pitch that is just steep enough to not really hold snow early season and is basically a boulder field. Save that one for later.

We then b-lined it to Zoomer to try and lap that a bit before things got played out over there.  They had dropped the rope on Rocket with all natural snow.  It looked like shit from the top but rode awesome.  The nice thing about the Front 5 is that they are almost entirely grass underneath so you can rip on very little without worrying too much.  We did three laps there before heading back to Peabody to try and find Bill and Irwin.

We caught them just as they were sitting down for coffee and we pretty quickly made plans for an exploratory jaunt to Mittersill.  We figured the tube had to be good and after that we would play it (slowly) by ear.

It was a good call, first Mittersill runs of the season!  The tube was indeed great, even that late in the day.  Based on the overheard conversations at the top (does anyone know the terrain over here? which way are we supposed to go? GOOGLE IT.) and the tracks leaving from the top of the chair, everyone was hitting Baron's.  We were very worried about that first section being wind scoured and rocky on almost every other option so we decided to stick conservative and go with the more packed down route on Baron's where the dangers would be more uncovered and easier to avoid.

We then skied 5ft down mountain and completely changed our plan and went way skiers left.

Sometimes you gotta take some risks, plus Bill was on old skis so we sent him down first.  The coverage was actually quite good and hardly anyone had ventured out this way.  We made a few turns here and there searching for the best options and we were able to find some untouched staches that were great.  We decided to pass on what looked to be a decent option to do some recon on a wooded line.  It was just about ready but looked really scary in a reach up and grab you kind of way.  One or two might have been able to get through it successfully but there wasn't enough snow for 4.  We passed on it and ended up getting untouched boot deep on that last little snow field heading over to the Tuckerbrook area.

Then we found out the Peabody had broke again so Shaun and I took Eagle Cliff to head over to the Tram to get at the summit again.  Everyone else had the same idea and the line was across the bridge...eventually though we got our first Tram ride of the season!  Got too more mediocre runs off the top before calling it a day.

Bring on the shred!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Meet at the Oasis

First snow riding post of the year! Guess its time to change that banner image?  I'm not sure I have any good candidates from last year...I'll have to do some searching.

This was my third day on Cannon but the other two didn't warrant any kind of mention really.  Typical early season stuff.  We finally got our first real significant 'event' for the '12-13 season and I had a pretty interesting time trying to take advantage of it today.  Its now looking like tomorrow will probably be the better day to really get the benefit from the accumulation, seems like this morning was a bit light (and really windy) and now as I write this its dumping more in the inch an hour range.  But I'll be there tomorrow as well so I don't regret making a stab for it.

I brought Gina to work and ended up just missing first chair by about 20-30mins and got the word early that first chair may have been last chair.  Everything was on wind hold except for Eagle Cliff.  SWEEEEEET. Eagle Cliff was better than nothing and they had left lower Gremlin ungroomed with all kinds of irregular whales and berms to mess around on so at the very least the one option we had was interesting.

I lapped that until about 10:45 or so until I started hearing rumors that they were running the Cannonball lift.  Which seemed very odd because at that time they weren't running any other lifts that would access Cannonball.  Apparently there were enough people who made it up while the Peabody was still running and had camped out up there instead of heading back down that they decided to run it even though no one from the base could get there.

A rumor was all I, and a few other hardy souls, needed though.  I only had a bit over a half day before I would need to grab Gina from work so it was either continue to lap Gremlin or start hiking up into a whiteout chasing stories of an upper elevation oasis.  I chose cardio.

I was with a mixed group at the time...Irwin and his wife with a few others I didn't know, some teenagers who tagged along, Joe and maybe 1-2 others.  Pretty early on though the conga line was moving much too slow for me.  Luckily some stopped to rest and regroup at the access road over to middle ravine which allowed me to take the lead.  Normally I wouldn't just ditch everyone but I was on a limited schedule and it was snowing so I dropped everyone real hard. NO FRIENDS.

You still couldn't see Cannonball with the blowing snow, I had to get pretty hilariously close before I knew it was running for sure.  The lifty was PUMPED I had hiked for it.  I guess I was the first one to show up having hiked.  He said there was only a handful of people up there and to hit Skylight first.  I did, and it was good.  As I was finishing my first run the rest of my initial group was just arriving and there were another group or two coming behind them.  I was able to get 2 more runs in before they opened the Peabody back up and the masses arrived.

I took one last run and ducked over to Taft on one of the lower traverses and that was nice in spots but it was just barely worth it.  I bet by tomorrow they might be able to drop the rope on it.  It felt real good to be out really getting after it a bit instead of just lapping groomers.  Hopefully these weather patterns are here to least until April anyway.