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January 1999, Week 4


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Jay Silveira <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Skiing Discussion and Snow Reports <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 23 Jan 1999 18:11:42 -0500
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        I was waiting out on skiing today to see if we'd avoid the
downpour of freezing rain / rain that was potentially coming.  It turned
out that the moisture was still to our west, and aside from the fact
that it was a gray day out there, temps were nice and the mountains were
calling.  The Ford King of the Mountain Downhill race was supposed to be
held at Lincoln Peak, but when I arrived at around 1:00 P.M., the finish
area seemed surprisingly unpopulated.  It turns out that due to the low
clouds (I assume) they did not race today, and the winners were picked
according to yesterday's time trials.  At around 2:00 or so, they
finally called the race off, and then had an awards ceremony and photo
shoot.  The Swiss won in the team competition, and I understand that the
U.S. team of Tommy Moe and A.J. Kitt are also doing well.  Although I
didn't get to see them race, it was still cool to see the racer's live
and in person right in front of your eyes.
        After I watched the awards for a little while, it was off to
skiing.  I wasn't sure if the temperatures had warmed up the surface of
the snow, so I'd brought my carving skis.  As it turns out, things were
softening up nicely, and there was a big time temperature inversion
going.  They had 106 out of about 112 trails open, and coverage, even on
the natural trails, looked good.  On my third run, I headed up Heaven's
gate, and low and behold, what do I run into but blue sky above all the
clouds.  I had to hike up to the top of Lincoln Peak to check it out.
It was an awesome sight, with a fluffy undercast all over the place and
peaks sticking out in various places.  I t was so cool that I had to get
my camera, which meant a screamin' run down to my car 2400' below (darn
;).  I headed down Jester, and since my usual route of Snowball / Spring
Fling was closed for the race, I tried Jester all the way.  Man, what a
ride!  It was late enough that the upper portion of the trail was
completely empty, and by following the signs, I actually found out that
Jester goes almost all way to the bottom of the mountain, with curves
and bends, just like the upper section.  At one point after dropping off
the summit, I entered a cloud bank, and then blasted out about 20
seconds later with blue sky and more cool undercast views.  It was
enough to provoke a big "Woop!".  I won't forget that run for a long
time, soft snow, empty trail, and some of the coolest clouds I've seen
in a while.
        I grabbed my camera and made my way back up the mountain.  As I
hopped onto Heaven's Gate, I got paired up with another single skier,
and as I looked closely, it was none other than John Egan.  I mentioned
to him that the last time I'd seen him, he'd given me some of that
Ginseng Chaw, and what do you know, out popped a little plastic bag of
the Chaw, just as before ;)  He told me about a group of guys in the
valley that make that, as well as more stuff including a pair of silver
plated socks that he was trying out.  Another guy makes those I guess,
and they're supposed to be very heat reflective, and odor absorbent.
Weird wild stuff in these parts ;)  It turns out that the X-Team clinics
were going on, and he had temporarily lost his group.  He was making a
definite effort to find them though, by skiing under the lift for two
runs (although he had a radio as well).  It would have been fun to take
a run with him, but I wanted to hike up and get some pictures, and he
did have to find his group.  (If there are any X-Teamers out there, I
can vouch for him as a witness to his dedication ;)  I got my pictures,
and then went for another run down Jester.  It was a bummer having to
leave the mountain and all the blue sky, descending back into the low
clouds.  One last trip up the Gate House lift got me another view before
it was time to head home.  A pretty exciting day at the old 'bush; it
was great to have virtually everything open.