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Nothing beats KMart at this time of year.  No one there except the kernel of
humanity that lives for the bumps.  I even passed up overhead surf this
weekend, and it was well worth it.

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Crowley, Jr." <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, May 07, 2005 9:56 PM
Subject: [SKIVT-L] K-mart redux 5-7-05; the alternative: northwest at
Concord


> I was back in New England again at the end of the week, this time inBoston
for work.  On Friday night at Chez Shefftz in Cambridge, diningover homemade
chili with the host and brother Jim, we prepared for ourimpending trip to
the Rockpile.  During  gear organizing efforts wediscussed the foreboding
weather forecast, alternative plans and theimpact "thou shall not ski types"
are having on mankind (essentially,members of the list).
> Sometime in the middle of the night those rains of religiousconnotation
came pouring down, and never let up in Boston.
> Heading northward at 620 am through sheets of rain, after dropping
thetokens at Hooksett, our driver made a critical decision before theConcord
split - much to the angst of our chili-fest host.  Momentsbefore, via
Blackberry, several NWS and Obs reports provedinformative, with a satellite
image showing a classic Nor'easter andtemps of 22F on the summit and 4F
windchill.  "If it was winter, itwould be one of these storms dumping in
Boston and dry in Vermont",and since this was May, that made the call easy.
> About the time we hit the Connecticut River and entered the greatstate of
Vermont, the skies cleared (high overcast, but dry).  An hourlater we parked
by Superstar quad.  With so few skiers around at theearly hour, there were
no cars parked in the lot, but instead all wereon the access road by the
lift maze.  The snow was push-able dry sandwith ice underneath.  It was
groomed up the middle of upper Skye Larkand lower B-sweet - but everything
else, including Civic-sized bumpson Supastah, were brick.  The stiffness of
non-groomers meant we hadto "ski it up" in the sand until things softened.
We saw Camel'sHump, Whiteface and ribbons of snow on Flatton and Okemo.  Our
viewinto NH was that of an ugly curtain.
> As we got some peeks of sun mid-morning (it looked sunny over theChamplain
Valley to the northwest), we began visualizing softeningcorn in the Canyon.
Longtime local luminary instructor/mountain bikerJon Lamb (who skied all but
4 days this year, when he took the kids toNYC during their April break)
agreed to join us on an assault on thein-bounds sidecountry (yeah…
whatever).
> Following Lamb's lead, our trek from the top of Skye Peak took us upthe
old Gondola stage 3 line, where we saw derelict erector set towerslying
horizontal.  Jim and I remarked that we hadn't seen thatapproach to the
summit since we last rode in the orange cabins twodecades ago.  We climbed
until reaching the Downdraft headwall (100feet from the summit) where there
was still wall-to-wall coverage. Jon lead us eventually into the trees
alongside Double Dipper, wherethe trail proper was lacking because of its
season-long exposure tothe wind.  Tree skiing was excellent for May 7th,
except for theoccasional downed branch and moss.
> We emptied onto Dipper where the on-trail coverage was trail-wide,just as
it rolls over down into the canyon.  Having kept our skis onsince leaving
the summit, there was no stopping us on the coarse corn. We skied along the
tall snowmaking apparatus line and dove into thesled lane while jumping
hoses and glide cracks with abandon on sixfeet of coverage.  All the way
down to the Lower Cascade junction,where the snow ran out as the trail
flattened.
> Lamb bid us goodbye to go for a mountain bike ride and we journeyedupward
again.  Coach Shefftz utilized ski crampons to great advantagethrough the
Canyon bumpfield, while Jim decided on Upper Cascade toLower Downdraft.
After my second run down Dipper with Jonathan, Jimclimbed again for a run on
East Glade to East Fall and then another,Rime to East Fall.  Jim felt the
best snow all day was on LowerDowndraft.
> During our climbing on Dipper, we noticed one redneck ripper type whohiked
from Superstar as well, but somehow got an employee to haul hisgear over on
an ATV.  Another guy over there later was climbing withcrampons and an ice
axe.  When Jim spoke with him, "I've skied enoughthis year already," as his
girlfriend skied over on Superstar.  Toobad for him, as Dipper will last at
least another week with a shortwalk in the middle and Superstar will last
into June.
> As we departed, there were many more skiers around, withbump-daddy'ers out
on a softened Supa-stah (temperature 42F), andseveral people were getting
ready for next week's triathlon with theirmountain bikes or running the
course.
> As we hit Lebanon during out late afternoon return, the rains cameagain
and persisted all the way to Boston.
>
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