FasterSkierMarch 16, 2012

What has this winter been up to?  We’ve been celebrating this week, up in Stowe, and on the slopes of Mad River Glen.  It’s been a great stretch and our legs are tired — a good sign of winter.

Wax testing in Soldier Hollow.

Before we get into this week we’ve gotta mention a great day of skiing in Alta, Utah.  It was a nordic skiers dream, the Sunday after a championship week and you are at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon.  Even better we were getting to share our trip with guests, Bill, Henry and Don Harmeyer, and Ben Hegman.  All of these skiers had the forethought to put some tele or touring skis in their quiver for a trip to Utah.

Hans and Dev under the Devils Castle.  Superior in the background.

So we took over the New England Girls van, complete with pastel writings including, “Hugs and Kisses,” “Girl Power,” and heart shaped drawings and headed up the canyon.  After visiting friends here for many years now I was getting to give the tour of a skiers Disneyland.  “To the left you might see some climbers and mountain goats,” we looked — and by golly they were there.  Through the slide paths and past he Y Couloir we drove.  Because of our window art we were given VIP Parking at the front of the lot!

Jason with the group looking west.

We toured a lot of the area and found chalky snow, most memorably on High Rustler, and corn and frozen corn.  During our ski we ran into several friends including, Mid – A coaches Bill Brooker and Jason Hettenbaugh.  We also had the chance to check out a friend’s octagon house off the Albion Lift — elk burgers with a view!!

Bro, good GNAR Points! @awesome

This week started with a tour up the Hual Road at Trapps.  We climbed up and descended into the Mansfield Touring Center, purple and yellow klister eating up the tracks and kicking on all eastern surfaces.  Ice-slop-freshly groomed corn-pine cone-stick-water-air-rock-snow.  A special time climbing up Ranch Brook, running proud with melt, and feeling the rich forest air fill your lungs after two weeks of thin and dry Utah air.  David Sinclair was back training with us for a few days during break and helping keep the pace.

With the strong group we were covering good ground and soon found ourselves rounding the perimeter of the trail system, heading straight up Houston to Stowe and then onto the Derby Trail.  The trail we raced over only weeks ago was reduced in places to a thick, dark sheet of pine cone ridden ice.  It’s the sketchy conditions are what make skiing so much fun!  As we climbed home the snowmobile groomer cut a fresh track directly in front of us — good luck is following us … so we hid our hunger and tiredness and did a continuos interval to the top.  David said good bye, Evan made a proud push, and I kept them parallel.

David and I skied on Sugarbush during Christmas — bell to bell – three months… Oh winter what are you up to?

Thursday we skied on the lower trails at Trapps.  Again we were greeted by varied conditions and all feeling a sense of loss for this winter that never really seemed to come.  We’ve been lucky for sure, Dev and I made turns in October, and we had great snow in Yellowstone and then constant skiing up to this point.  The east side of the Greens is going to be the place to be for the next years!

After a quick warmup we did a three person sprint relay with each skier doing six laps around a fun stadium loop.  There was gravel showing through the Sugar Road and the field is getting quite green.  Our course had two options at the far point; if you turned early you could gap, or ski over a patch of grass, or continue to the second gate and stay on the snow.  When we dropped off David we interrupted a coyote stalking a group of four deer.

Rafter supervising snow angel making at the Starks Nest 11/11/11, during a training hike.

Today we went up to celebrate the snow on Mad River Glen.  Part of being a skier is the ability to ski it all — skiing at Mad River you get to do that.  Skiing Paradise is the definition of skiing to me.

We had a great posse and got to show Evan around some of the best trails.  The signs of spring and a soft winter all over, the ground barely looks like it froze.  The skiing is great and the grass is fast all over so get out and enjoy the heck out of it.

We are so fortunate to live here in the Mad River Valley and get to ski and travel like we do.

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