I know where that is and I just got a new GPS.  Just think of the furor I can create!
Mark P. Renson 

From: Patrick Haskell <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Mon, January 25, 2010 11:52:15 AM
Subject: [SKIVT-L] Central Mass Backcountry - A Fine Week

Backcountry skiing in Massachusetts is largely a feast-now or starve- tomorrow affair. It was a rare treat earlier this month when some unusually light fluff hung around long enough for multiple days of enjoyment. However, the thing about such fluff is that barest hint of sunshine and warmth will reduce it to a memory in no time at all. The MLK weekend storm was more typical for MA with cream cheese falling straight from the sky and plastering the land with a layer of white that I feared might set like quickcrete just as fast. Thankfully, the storm finished colder than it began, so the surface was kinder than the 34F temp that accompanied the initial dumping would suggest. It just as often goes the other way, and another winter where weeks were spent staring at a foot of nicely unconsolidated snow trapped under a 1/4-inch rain crust might have turned me into a gibbering idiot. (Insert witty riposte here.) However it falls, it's strictly a
 ski-it-while-you-can affair around here, so I was glad for the excuse of a nominal holiday to work a half day and join John Mc at a favorite spot shortly before the crack-of-noon. I strategically arrived a half-hour late, and John obligingly broke trail, an unenviable task I'm sure, as every time my ski strayed from the track, it felt like somebody had stepped on the tail of my ski. After summitting, I followed his track down through the glade he had lovingly improved this summer. The heavy snow skied better than I could have hoped. What it lacked in lightness, it made up for in smoothness. I felt as if my skis were pastry knives and I was frosting a wedding cake with my feet. Where the previous week, I made gentle turns with my toes involuntarily curling up in my boots in fear of what lay beneath the delicate crystal surface, Monday was a day for fast, conscienceless turns. We made four laps of the steeper top half of the hill, while the weather
 transitioned delightfully from snow to sun. Despite the holiday weekend, there were only two snowboarders competing for fresh tracks. I gave them some beta to help them access the obvious, in-your-face line, which they kindly visited multiple times, leaving the rest of the snow to us. I even pointed them toward the kid- sister to that line, but they missed it, so we took it upon ourselves to finish our day there, before bootpacking a short way up to the top of the most interesting of the lower mountain lines and visiting a roadcut rockface that most days is merely an eyesore, but this week passed as a sort of playground. I got back out there Wednesday with hopes of catching the sunrise, but sleep was too sweet, so I settled for enjoying the nice lighting on the uphill instead of the summit. The main ridge was still catching flakes, but I enjoyed the sun that shone on my little monadnock. 
 Despite being well behind schedule for getting to the office, I took my sweet time descending amidst the quiet snowcaked trees. 
 Wednesday's snow was much lighter, and I was sure that three days of above freezing temps and sunshine would wreak havoc on conditions, but the sun-sheltered slopes suprised me again Saturday and did not show any sign of the crust that lived in my yard. Saturday was a liesurely day, as I introduced a friend to backcountry skiing and another friend introduced his wife to the same, and I enjoyed what looked to be my last chance in a while for enjoying the backcountry without an annoyingly long drive. The day was picture-perfect, and of course, I left my camera behind. Everybody and their sister were on the hill, as we ran into a several hikers, a couple groups of skiers, and the snow machines that are ubiquitous in Winchentucky, MA and environs. Despite the crowd, we still managed to find an untracked route down the hill, which brought smiles to the face of everyone, except my friend's wife who was struggling in the tight quarters. I had a brief ethical
 quandry as I saw her hugging a tree with her ski bases facing uphill toward me, but decided that since she was only whining and not actually asking for help that I should proceed past her and enjoy the untracked snow that she had so thoughtfully left for me. I thought for sure our day was done after that one run, given that one of my friends was having wife and binding issues, but a quick round of whiskey snow cones rallied the troops for a second lap. There was still good snow, but no untracked lines left by this point. With the sunshine and views extending to Boston and the Whites, nobody was complaining. The snow only lasted a week, but I was glad to have done my part to put it to good use. - Patrick - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - SkiVt-L is brought to you by the University of Vermont. 
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