Well, finally, after a few trials and tribulations, I got my first day in.
I was going to wait until the weekend, but I looked out the window today
and could see the snow falling in the mountains; certainly worth a couple
of hours to check out the slopes. Left work in Burlington around noon or
so to the tune of a light drizzle and a few flakes. Flakes became more
numerous around Richmond and light snow followed me all the way to the
mountain. First sightings of accumulation were in Duxbury (as usual) at
the 1000' mark. The light coverings soon disappeared as I dropped down
into the Mad River Valley. Saw the slopes from route 17; totally white,
such a nice sight in October. Like clockwork, as the atlimeter ticked of
to 1000' on German Flats Road, snow started to appear on the ground and by
the time I reached the base of South at about 1600', there was a solid
inch; which covered up everything enough to make it seem quite wintry.
Uploaded on Heavens Gate and got to read all the new promo signs on the
lift towers about snowmaking, National Forest, 5-day vactions etc; kept me
amused. I noticed a few of the downloaders had a bit of that
Snowmaking-sheen and assumed the guns were running (oh well). Hopped
right off the lift and noticed that the entire right side of the unloading
area down to the lodge was powdery and untracked... No?... Could it be?...
Firts turns of the season get to be powder? Oh yes. 4-5 inches of
natural on top of something (maybe a machine-made base?) meant powder
turns and oh so sweet, no thinking invloved; best first day tracks ever.
This small fantasy soon came to an end after about 8 turns as I entered
the zone of machine-made snow and was bummed yet still jazzed and almost
considering hiking back up to lay another set :) Instead I continued on
down toward downspout and was happy to find a few other places where the
snow had been untouched by man or machine. There were maybe 2 or 3 guns
going on this section of the trail but they were in whisper mode making
that very light snow and it looked like the snowmakers were shutting them
down for the day. Downspout was bumped up in areas with a few nice lines
and plenty of contour. Up the good ol' Heaven's Gate; Ripcord and
Spillsville are looking mighty fine with maybe 6 inches of natch;
certainly rocky but if I was FORCED to, I would have been happy to make
some turns. Unfortunately, Jester had the big guns going full force so it
was a bit of a letdown from the bottom section; still stashes of natural
powder could be found along the edges and away from the spray of the guns.
Don't get me wrong. I complain about the snowmaking but it was certainly
needed; there would have certainly been rocks without it; the noise and
ice is just a bummer. Anyhoo, just grabbed a few runs and back to work;
the legs needed a good burn to remind them of the upcoming season. I
asked about the weekend price and the lady in the office said $25 or $29,
she was unsure. Plenty of skiing to choose from though with Killington
and Sunday River already open along with the 'bush and more on the way.
The snow was letting up as I left around 2:30 P.M. Should be a fine weekend
for some turns; more flurries in the forecast for the week.