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No Porcelain art or Anathema or Heresy here.  Just good times.

Saturday, I decided the best way to enjoy what I assumed to be lousy
conditions was to take my not-quite 5 year old and fully explore all the
trails at Morse.  We did that and more, hitting the little banks and
whoop-de-whoops on the side of the trails as well as ducking into some
short paths through the woods.  Sonya's highlight of the day was when we
both skied a full run putting our arms out like wings and banking them
through the turns pretending we were flying fairies.  She giggled
uncontrollably all the way down the hill and half way back up.

Sunday, Sonya was in Mini Mites and Amy was nursing the lingering effects
of a ladies night out.  Thinking conditions would suck, I wasn't in a rush
to hit the trails, and went to The Family Table in Jeffersonville for an
excellent Cream Cheese & Rasperry Stuffed French Toast(I recommend the
place as my favorite eatery around Smuggs).  Satiated and caffeinated, I
headed up the hill w/o any expectations, or I should say dark expectations,
but I knew that all but two small areas of Sterling were open and I was
curious to see just how bad a condition Smuggs would allow you to ski.

On the first run  down Black Snake I encountered no ice so I decided to
venture into Deer Run glades as they were completely untracked.  Being low
on the mountain and fairly steep, Deer Run is notorious for obstacles
sticking out of the snow.  But a firm, edgeable crust under a couple inches
of fresh kept most of the obstacles hidden.
After that I headed for Highlander glades, where I found a completely
untracked line down the left.  As I pulled out of Highlander and into
Poachers I ran into Ben B and we both enjoyed more untouched snow there.
 At this point we looked at each other with the same thought in
mind:"Should I ask if he wants to try  the b*******s?"

From that point the day became almost excellent.  First tracks down a line
off the Geriatric Entrance were so pleasant that we headed back for the
same entrance.  On our way out for that 2nd run we noticed that new snow
was covering our footsteps and no one else had been out that way.  And so
followed a second run of first tracks in the Geriatric area.  3 or 4 inches
on top of the crust skied very nicely in the lower angled bottom half of
the bowls, and the crust made us more confident than last week because
there was no chance of hitting some thing lurking 12" beneath the surface.

 The confidence made us want to explore steeper, so we headed to The Ear.
We hesitated at the steep and jumbled crux, but didn't need to, as it  had
blown in and skied great.  The surprise came just below the crux section,
which was apparently where all the snow on the crux had blown in from. That
section didn't take kindly to confident & fast skiing.  Lower down, we
again found good low angled, if a bit schwacky, powder turns.

With such success, we felt the need to up the ante and try something
stupider, er, steeper.  On the lift, we decided on Low IQ. Neither of us
had skied it this year, and we knew it could be lots-of hazards bad or
lots-of-slickness bad. As we got off the lift, we commented on a slight
sense of dread.  But, what the heck, it was first tracks again, so why not?
 And it was better than fine.  Yes the steeps were slick under the new
snow, but not so slick that you couldn't edge.  And the  lurking obstacles
never seemed to materialize, though we skied quite cautiously.

Having had 4 runs of first tracks, we stayed inbounds for a run of Hersheys
and Strawberries.  Though these had been skied, there were still plenty of
untracked areas at 2:00, including a phenomenal bit of reserved trail
skiing.  But the run alternated between soft and scratch, so it was my
least favorite run of the day.

To finish off the day, we bombed down a surprisingly excellent groomer and
then traversed out under a set of cliffs for a couple hundred verts of
untracked low el powder, where breakable crust was finally enough of an
issue to detract from the enjoyment, but not enough to make it unenjoyable.


So, though not great, it was one of the best days of a not-too-great season.

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