Beautiful posting. This for me fundamentally is why I ski the east. It is the magic of what we get and the acceptance of everything else.
That is so nice photography.
Every winter in New England there is at least one weather event that truly tests the sanity of The East Coast Skier. Although The East Coast Skier’s mountains are quite far north in comparison to resorts in the western United States, they are relatively low elevation, and are close to a warm ocean. Because of this, sometimes there are days in New England when it’s going to rain. Monday January 25th was one of those days. With a brisk wind out of the south-east, temperatures rose into the mid 40s at all elevations, and a soaking rain–heavy at times–doused the heart of The East Coast Skier. In that dark moment the East Coast Skier undoubtedly looked west, and considered a life without soul searching rainy days in January (and delicious real beer) in exchange for a life with reliable, predictable, and great snow (and 3.2% beer).
As we have documented before however (see parts one, two or three), VTah is a surprising place. While one day can truly decimate the resolve of even it’s hardiest gravity enthusiasts, the next can truly lift them to great heights. On Wednesday January 27th our own Scott Braaten wrote the following which sums up what occured less than 48 hours after a devastating rain storm slammed the region:
“Its alllllll good. Just got home after what was quite possibly the best powder morning of the season…following what was quite possibly the worst ski day of the season (yesterday).
I definitely under-reported with 6-8″ this morning… there’s a solid foot across the top half of the mountain. Skied everything and it was all blower. Streams and creeks were open and are now filled with 10-12″ of
snow… as long as you are cautious, its game-on again.
Today was the best of days… un-forecasted powder day with the majority falling after the skiers/riders had left yesterday and even with only 2-3″ down in the town of Stowe, no one had any idea it would be face-shot heaven up there.”
To the East Coast Skier’s chagrin, the surprises have continued right up to this very moment. Almost every night since January 27th, the Green Mountains have managed to find moisture hidden in the stiff Arctic breeze, and wring it out in the form of pure VTah blower. While the valleys received nearly no snow whatsoever, the mountains became buried by round after round of “nickle and dime”–or “magic snow” storms as our own Lionel Hutz likes to say… and of course we decided to go skiing. While other skiers resigned themselves to the groomers for fear of hitting the dangerous ice crust buried beneath the surface, we went out in search of the deepest, softest, and most surprising snow on earth… here’s a pictoral record of what we were surprised to find in VTah.
The first day Greg got out with a friend he hadn’t skied with in a long time, and both were surprised by the quality and quantity!
After a few tentative turns before the surprise wore off, we decided it was time to rip.
…and then get deep.
About 28 seconds after the above photo was snapped, Greg sent Ben a text message simply saying: “Waist deep easy.” Since the moment of that text message that’s been the name of the game. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before Ben left the confines of his academic endeavours and joined the party.
It was definitely hard for Ben to get back to business with this sort of stuff waiting to be skied.
Although the snow in the alpine had been completely withdrawn by the wind, the sub-alpine had definitely received a few deposits. This was very very good about 20 seconds after this picture was taken:
The anticipation before Christmas… an untouched snow filled sub alpine gully… the appeal of lingerie…
CHRISTMAS DAY! A TOUCHED SNOW FILLED SUB ALPINE GULLY! A TOUCHED—um… nevermind
A TOUCHED ALPINE GULLY!… oh wait a second! Shoot! We already used that one.
The next day we went out searching for the goods and the steeps. The “steep goods” one might say. We started out in some unlikely places like “Upper Chin Clip.”
To be honest that wasn’t all that fun… so we moved back to the DEEP goods… O.K. now we’re talking!
Giggity giggity giggity!
Ben: (Giggity giggity giggity!)^2
Greg: (Giggity giggity giggity!)! (that would be a factorial at the end < /dorkout >)
OH NO! POWDER AGAIN!
Well that day kinda was OK we guess. The snow was excellent, but Greg broke a ski and a boot. What a horrible day… Luckily the next day was…um… a new day. Let’s go find some more deepness. The top of this line was a bit windblown this day…
But the bottom was definitely all right.
Spooky place! We weren’t sure what we were going to find this day. All I can say without pissing people off is that I’m VERY glad we ski with a length of rope.
With that expedition out of the way, we were glad to still be alive, and decided to celebrate by getting back to the VTah deepness. Luckily no one else had decided to ski it (except for us whose tracks are visible)… at 3 on Sunday afternoon.
Late in the day? Check! Soft landings? Check! Ice bulge? Check! Time to HUCK
…and ski it deep to the road…
We got back to the bottom around 345 and were ready to call it quits, but had one more special line in mind. Would it still be fresh at Sunday at 4? You betcha!
We went home and figured we were all done with what was undoubtedly the best VTah weekend of the season. But low and behold! The next day dawned with ANOTHER 4-7″ of magic blower! KC couldn’t be happier
On second thought… maybe she was a bit happier here:
And maybe even just a wee bit happier yet here:
Maybe even just a touch happier still here:
But I think without a shadow of a doubt I’ve never seen her happier than she was here in this “shade” shot! Look at that smile!
Ben was probably approaching all time highs of exuberance as well!
Greg seconds the motion!
So much happiness, I almost forget that these shots depict EPIC VTAH DEEPNESS
Greg in need of his air supply.
Or at the very least, his snorkel
Honk if you love gravity. (apologies to some Salomon poster I saw when I was 10 years old at a Warren Miller movie)
Gravity winning again…
Greg couldn’t help but throw his hands up in surprise. VTah delivers again!
And with that… VTah IV concludes. Indeed, considering the fact that it rained well over a warm inch on January 25th, this was the most surprising snow we’ve ever skied on earth.
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