"What a difference a week makes."
        " Get out there and ski!"
            WAW  Stowe 2001-12-21
Our fearless leader, WAW, hit the nail right on the head.  I started my vacation on Friday with what I thought was going to be some mediocre skiing on one trail down from the Gondi at Whiteface.  Boy was I wrong!  The little snowmakers have been busy over there.  Top to bottom (little WF) had Excelsior complete, Excelsior into lower Northway, Essex (bonus of the day), and Approach to Upper Wilderness/Lower Wilderness.  Upper Valley was better than I have ever seen it.  It hadn't had time to melt and refreeze or get skied off and glazed at all.  They also had Broadway from the top of the valley triple as an alternate to mid station.  Yes it was groomed and mostly man made but the carving was really, really sweet.  It wasn't late season bottomless powder at Jay or MRG but it was FUN!!!   If I didn't have a pass I would say it was more than well worth $35.  Lower Valley was exquisite.  Again, what a difference a week can make. 
Shana and I got there after 9:00 and easily got a close spot in the first parking lot across the bridge.  Most people hadn't started vacation yet and the hoards had not arrived for the holidays.  I had to try my new V3's again because last Saturday just didn't do them justice.  Well I got my money's worth Friday.  23,900 ft of vert on day #3 of this season and I paid for it dearly Friday night and all day Saturday.  Lest Jimme Quinn give me an "ahem,ahem" :-)  let me explain the math.  Eight total gondi runs at 2650 each and three Lower Wilderness runs at 900 ft. each.  It's not like me to simply churn out the vert. unless I'm trying to chase a gang of vittlers at MRG or Jay or something but the skiing was so dang delicious that I simply kept saying "just one more, just one more."  Telenaut would have loved it, except I did practically pass out and left by 3:15 and could have gotten one last one in.  Shana followed me run for run, turn for turn on her board all day on her first day out.  She says, "wow, it feels like I have been doing this all summer."  Dang 19 year olds. :-)  I'd say, "one more on Essex, or one more on Wilderness" and she would stoically grunt, "yeah, sure."  I wonder if one gets better at snowboarding from year to year without actually doing it in the off season.   

 The performance of those skis made it even more impossible to slow down or ease up.  They just want to scream!!  They are an excellent replacement for the V21's that broke on me last season and are everything  the ski mag write ups claim they are.  Of course it remains to be seen how they will handle heavy deep powder and tracked up crud like last year gave plenty of but I was very satisfied with the V 21's at Jay Peak and MRG and the slides on Whiteface last year.  They aren't super phats but they will be plenty versatile for average eastern conditions.   It looks like I may have to slice and dice more ice than pow this year but hopefully I will be wrong.   

In the wipe out department I out did my daughter by a long shot.  At one point she caught a heel edge in a snow bank and plopped down on her butt, rolled over, came up on toe side and never really missed a beat.  I, on the other hand, did a classic on the steepest part of Wilderness.  It was last run of the day and my legs were spaghetti.  Running on adrenalin I was determined to make it my best run.  I was jamming a nice little two width mogul line on the far left side just trying to see how much I could get out of the skis, and they kept asking for more.  I got caught between two moguls pointing at the side of the trail and saw I was aimed right at some nasty trees.  I twisted upper body back into the trail off balance rather than eat bark and wound up booking straight down the fall line hanging back over my right ski uphill edge with the left one off the ground and couldn't get back up out of the back seat.  I biffed over three moguls and  Shana described it as a white explosion that she couldn't see me at all and one ski shot straight up out of the whole scene.  When the snow settled the ski had stopped almost instantly and I hadn't even slid another 50 yards.  That's pretty amazing for that particular trail and pitch.  I stopped before my brain could tell my body to try and self arrest.  It validates my assessment of the snow surface conditions in that neither I nor my ski, with brakes and all, slid another thousand feet down the trail.  Don't laugh, I have seen it happen when conditions are a little more stiff.
Well I am psyched!  The drizzle has started as I type this but TWC says changing to snow by AM and 1-3 inches during the day tomorrow and 2-4 over tomorrow night into Tue.  I am going skiing tomorrow and I don't care what type of precip is occurring.  Gondolas are good for keeping one's butt dry on the way up.  :-)  Then I hope to do Wed straight thru New Years for 7 in a row.  Not like last Friday I assure you as I hope to have Shirley with me  a few days.  After Jan 1st I may not have another chance till SWIII.  I have a feeling that this season is going to get consistently better but perhaps no where as dramatic as last year.  Maybe I'll be wrong and it will dump, dump, dump.