>On Tue, 18 Feb 2003, Henry Barboza wrote:
> Another place I'm thinking about is Mt Tom, that closed ski area in
> Holyoke MA. Has the company that bought that property dug it all up or
> are some of the trails still there and ripe for skiing?  Anyone ever hit
> that?

>I havent done Mt Tom, but it is a similar mountain to West Peak in CT (aka
>Meriden Mountain), which I have skied. All those mountains along the
>Traprock Ridge are pretty similar, 800-1200' tall with a gradual east
>slope and a steep and cliffy west slope. Vertical drop is usually
>around 400-600 feet.
>The rabbly nature of the cliffs tends to generate large scree slopes below
>them. The scree/talus is usually 6" to 12" cobbles and boulders, of a
>pretty uniform size depending on how loose the cliff above the slope is.
>Looser cliffs generate smaller sized scree, which is better for skiing.
>As far as I know Mt Tom is as loose as they come, so it could be really
>good. Scree can range anywehere from 20-40 degrees, but the upper parts
>where there is vegetation can be a lot steeper -- sometimes you can find
>short 50 degree pitches between the cliffs. If you go up and check it out,
>I'd hike up from below, that way you wont get yourself cliffed out. Looks
>like a road cuts across the west slope of Mt Tom, so you may be in luck:


Being a newbie to the world of backcountry skiing my inquiries into Mt Tom were
really pointed to the old ski area
even though it was not very steep.  And having hiked Mt Tom a couple of times I
hadn't thought about hiking up the cliff side and
skiing back down due to the literally tons of loose rocks there.  But this has
gotten me thinking though about the path that the
power line follows up, which is just around the corner from the cliffs, although
it's been a long time since I've hiked it.  I'll have
to check that out sometime because I do think it has a decent pitch to it,
although with the current snow melt occurring down
here right now any backcountry skiing will probably be near impossible going

What I did do though was hike and ski little Somers Mtn.  This is basically a
large hill with the summit around 1,000 ft. and maybe
about 400 feet of vertical that I hike quite a bit in the fall.  I started from
the parking lot just before sunrise with my golden retreiver
Samantha.  There's a road to the summit that's closed in the winter that I
decided to skin up.  Snowmobiles had been there
the day before so the skin up was very easy but very enjoyable.  About half way
up the sun started coming up and for a few minutes
turned everything into gold, with the colors being  magnified by the reflections
off the snow.   It was very peaceful and very quite and
it felt good to be out there.

At the summit, I took off the skins and headed to a trail on the north side that
I thought might be skiable.  The first 100 feet is the only
real steep part of the trail but is very narrow.  And to my dismay a couple of
hikers had been on it yesterday.  So I was faced with trying
to ski a 4 or 5 foot wide path with a 2 foot boot pack in the middle and about a
foot of untracked on either side.  Not having the skills of
the northern contingent on this list, I was forced to just snowplow this first
section.  After that, it was basically just straight lining it all
the way down through a couple of feet of untracked powder, just keeping my skis
pointed at the spaces betwen the trees.  It took
all of about 2 minutes to get to the bottom, but was none the less a very
enjoyable experience.  So much so that I put the skins back on
and went back up and did it again.  Samantha also enjoyed the whole experience
although I think she was a bit puzzled as to how I was
able to get down the hill so much faster then she was. After the second run
down, I put on the skins again and followed the hiking trail
back out to the car.

Although this was not real skiing in the sense of being able to actually make
turns and all, and it was a very, very short run, it was a
very rewarding experience and one that I would do again without thinking twice.
All of you that have live up in Vermont and can do this
on any given day are very lucky.


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