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    Boy how I wish last Sunday could have been like yesterday.  Spring
skiing at it's best was on tap at "the Face".

    Greg's 6 yr old granddaughter gently reminded him that he promised to
take her skiing again so there was no way I was going to convince him to
head to Vermont with me.  She has only been skiing three or four times so
far and already likes to do moguls and some of the easier black diamonds.
The heavy loose corn of the day would eventually take it's toll on her just
like the rest of us but whenever he suggested we head home she would scowl
and say no.  He says he is creating a monster and loves it.

    My daughter accompanied us and we got started up around 9:00 with a
slight chill in the air despite the total sun drenched day.  I went up the
triple to mid station ahead of the rest since we all had packs to drop off
and didn't want to ski down with them from the gondola.  I went ahead up the
little Whiteface chair to scope out conditions and caught the chalkboard
message that the summit was closed until it softened up.  Then I realized I
was actually on the little Whiteface chair and not the Mt. Run and we could
access the summit from mid station.  This boosted my spirits even more since
I really didn't want to do laps in the slop to get to the gondi every time.

    I got off at the mid lift off ramp anyway and radioed the rest to wait
at mid station and I would be right down.  I tried lower McKenzie and it was
left ungroomed but the moguls were quite "stiff" much the same as at Stowe
last weekend. I clattered and chattered my way down to meet the rest and it
appeared that the non-sun facing trails were going to be tough for a while.
We headed up the lift to the top of little WF and took excelsior and lower
Northway down to the junction of the upper quad.  The groomed but firm corn
provided excellent turning and even little Mercy (Greg's granddaughter) was
cruising along pretty good.  By now the summit quad was opened so we decided
to go up and try Follies and Peron's.  This is where I did not endear myself
to my daughter.  The loading platform had snow only where you stood to get
on.  I didn't want to crowd Mercy on her first ride on a quad and "perhaps"
scrunched Shana a little too far to the outside.  She couldn't sit down and
her board hit the mud and well, it wasn't a pretty sight.  I had to wait at
the top while they had a patrol check her out for routine required
procedure.  Knees were a little scraped, pants a little dirty, a little
scuff on the front of her jacket and scuff marks on the heels of her
mittens.  The mittens had been starting to wear through the outer protective
layer anyway and I said I would get her some new ones.  She grinned and said
"no"---"duct tape".  I guess that meant she was ok.  :-)

    Despite the 10 to 15 minutes I waited for Shana we caught up with Greg
and Mercy at the junction of Excelsior and  Upper Valley run.  We had
cruised a delightful run in firm corn and granular conditions all the way
down Follies, Peron's and Excelsior.  Greg indicated that we had to do a
water  and potty break at mid station and Mercy said she wanted to ride the
gondi.  I decided to split and check out some trails on my own and went up
to the top of LWF and headed down Approach.  Northway, Empire and Upper
Northway were closed because they are sheltered away from the sun and were
set up like Chin clip last week only with excellent visibility.  This meant
there would be no glades also.  I wandered down upper parkway and back to
thruway and down to mid again.  The turning was so sweet I just had to go
back up again.  I did Essex on hard but edgeable moguls to Excelsior and
Connector and did the pole line beside lower Cloudspin.  You can duck under
the phone line a lot easier now, you also have to watch out for stumps, logs
and rocks starting to show though.  The snow was a little firmer in there
than the main trail and therefore less work.  I then went up the quad and
did a full Skyward run.  Oh man, it doesn't get any better than this.  The
higher elevation hadn't deteriorated to slop and the turning was just
fantastic.  I radioed to Shana and she said the trio was just above mid and
ready to do lunch so I joined them.

    After lunch Greg said Mercy wanted to ride the gondola again.  As we
were putting on our skis we heard people saying the slides were open.  This
being a call too hard to resist I encouraged Shana to accompany me and give
it a try.  Several weeks ago Shirley said she mentioned to her that "next
year" she might like to try the slides.  I figured loose corn snow would be
better to start out on than a couple feet of powder since I know what Shana
can do and can't.  The sun hitting the huge granite openness was making
short work of the cover.  We decided on #1 and picked our way through the
ice and exposed slabs.  The skiing was excellent.  As we got to the top of
the ice fall some people indicated that it wasn't too bad to the sides.  I
scoped it out and knew I could do the two mogul wide edge with short jump
turns but no way Shana was going to.  I told her we had to cut over to #2
through the trees and brush and she didn't give me a nice look.  We
maneuvered through there with great dexterity and the snow was actually
quite better than out on the open sections.  We worked out of what I call #2
1/2 into # 3 and encountered the 3 ft. ledge I remembered I had to jump
before.  At this point we could cut back across to the bottom of #1 again
before jumping the ledge and decided to do so.  Down on the out run of #3 I
had just witnessed another snowboarder crash over a 50 ft section of exposed
granite and watched him tumble and clatter off the bottom of it. I sure
didn't want Shana to wind up in that predicament. We were over in the best
part of #1 again and I thought we were ok but we still had to do slide out.
The whoop-de-doos were greatly smaller than they had
been last time I was in there but many were crashing in the entrance.  Shana
remained a little too stiff and caught some air off the first bump and
landed on the back of her neck on the second.  This caused a major traffic
jam holding up every one in the slides.  She wasn't the only one so people
were understanding and patient.  She decided to walk out however the track
is only single lane and the snow on the sides was way deeper than her pants
inseam.  First I take Shirley in Twister glades and now I take Shana in the
Slides.  You would think I would learn.  :-)  Anyway, we made it out alive
with
a grumpy daughter with snow caked in her goggles dangling off the back of
her helmet.  She actually put her board back on half way through with strong
encouragement from me and rode out the last of the egress through some heavy
whoop-de-doos successfully.  She split to meet back up with Greg and Mercy
for easier terrain and I looked at my watch and thought I might as well
finish up my day on the top.  I did a full Cloudspin run in unique
conditions.  I would be turning in the loose heavy slop in the sun and
exactly at the shadow demarcation where the sun was dropping behind the top
it was immediately crusty over corn.  The balance and edge setting had to be
adjusted constantly.  I did another full Skyward run in the same conditions
encountering the shadow line effect on the lower part where it tilts away
from the sun.

    I was getting pretty burned out so I headed for mid station expecting to
find the trio waiting for me.  It was 3:20 and all the packs were hanging
where we left them and no sign of anyone so I jumped the LWF double for one
last run to the top on that side.  My plan was to do approach to upper
parkway to thruway and back to mid again but I noticed the top of McKenzie
open.  I thought the shade would have kept it hard but it doesn't get the
sun much at all so the thaw/freeze cycle hasn't affected it like the ones
that get sun blasted. I stumbled on the best conditions of the day on the
last run.  This could easily have been the best bump run of the season I
have had there and it's on what might be the last day of my season (there).
I cut over into High Road Glades and found excellent firm corn snow with the
best turning of the day.  So I did get one glade run in during the day and
it was an exceptional one.

    Arriving at Mid-station I found the packs still there and no one around.
It appears the youngest die hard of the trio insisted on one more run and
Shana radioed me they were plugging along rather slowly on Excelsior.  The
run from mid down was very wet and the base area was almost unrecognizable
from our first arrival in the AM.  It appears to be vanishing pretty fast.
I spoke to the asst. mgr. this AM and he thinks it will still be open next
weekend and the slides should hold up enough to be open.  I may get one more
shot in them yet.  This season is definitely not going out with a whimper.


Jimski

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