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Great ski weekend!

Posted Mar 01 2010 6:43am
Finally, we have snow - almost 5 feet of new snow at higher altitudes. However, due to warm temps during the snowfall, especially at lower elevations, the snow was very variable. So, we had to search out the best snow for skiing through the weekend.

Early Saturday, some co-workers tried a popular tree line. They bailed out because the snow was too dense lower in the run. That put me on guard and I told the girls that I teach that we would not be getting "first tracks" anywhere. I wanted the snow to be skied first by others so we would know it was safe. We took it fairly easy in the morning, but eventually tried some bump runs before lunch. I was surprised at how soft the snow was on those lines.

So, after lunch, we tried a couple tree lines and found them to be very fun. We then headed to the Castlerock area at Sugarbush - an area with no snowmaking, minimal grooming, limited lift access, and difficult terrain. The lines were ridiculously long, but one of my students wanted to ski a run from this chair to complete her tick-list of skiing all eight double-black trails at Sugarbush. Others told me that the wait for the chair was worth it. So, we waited - about half an hour. And then we skied under the chair - a run called Liftline. It was amazing - as much fun as I've ever had on that run. I described the run as "epic", only to have one of my students tell me I wasn't cool enough to use that word. Oh well, I may be old but I can still ski circles around my students.

By the end of the day, I was beat from difficult skiing. I was starting to take off my boots when a co-worker told me I HAD to ski some more. I tried to protest, but he wouldn't listen. Fifteen minutes later, I was at the summit. We wanted to ski a tree run, but the normal access point was not available, due to a 3:30 trail closure. So, we improvised and skied some seriously steep tree lines, including some untouched lines of soft powder. It was almost 4:30 until we got off the mountain.

I went home, cooked dinner, and fell asleep pretty quickly. Sunday morning was coming quickly. Because the conditions had been so good on Saturday, I changed our routine on Sunday. We normally start on easy terrain, but it's late in the season, the girls are in good shape, and the snow was great. So, we "warmed up" on an intermediate bump run followed by an expert bump run. From there, we rode the chair again and did an intermediate tree run and rode the chair to the summit. From there, we took our time on a double-black, natural snow run - one of my favorite runs on the mountain. We then went for an early lunch.

After lunch, we headed back to the summit. We skied one tree line on the way. I let the girls take about 30 minutes to play on a summit platform at the top of Mt. Ellen. And then, we skied another double-black diamond run. The snow was so soft and consistent, that I wanted the girls to attack the line aggressively, and a few of them managed to do that.

As we finished this run, we had two choices. Some of the group wanted to do one more hard run in the Castlerock area. But, two girls had clearly had enough. Their hands were dropping, their hips were dropping, and they were clearly tired. Skiing a steep, narrow, twisty trail late in the weekend when people are tired is dangerous - someone is likely to get hurt. The operating slogan of the Professional Ski Instructors of America is "Safety, Fun, Learning". I opted for safety, as I always do, and we went inside for a hot chocolate break.

After that break, we did a little skiing on easy terrain to wrap up the day. At the end of the lesson, I handed a group of happy and tired girls back to their parents.

To be honest, I was tired as well. The final run on Saturday took a lot out of me, and I failed to properly re-hydrate Saturday night. I was planning to ski with my family for the day today - something we hardly ever get to do. But, it was windy when we woke up this morning, so we deferred until tomorrow. The kids have today and tomorrow off fromschool, so my wife and I simply changed our vacation day.

So today, I'll do an upper body lifting workout, but I'm letting my legs rest. And, I'm trying to catch up on hydration. Tomorrow should be a really fun day, hanging out with the whole family at a resort that I've skied a lot, but one that my son has only skied once, and my wife and daughter have never skied there. We have a gift certificate for one free lift ticket and a second gift certificate at a restaurant close to where we'll be skiing, which we'll use for dinner after skiing. It should be a great day.
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