Today Chris and I rolled back the clock at MRG and got way more than we 
expected for our $3.50. I haven't skied a whole lot yet this season, but 
it was easily the best day of my otherwise lame season so far. The 
overall conditions were about 8" of fluff over a hard base. This was 
gradually chewed up on the trails, and some spots were scraped down to 
that nasty hard base, but it wasn't difficult to find the soft spots. 
The summit stake read 18", so neither of us was too gung-ho about the 
usual woods runs, but we found some remarkably good low-angle lines off 
the double, including a few lines of shin-deep untracked. Chris enjoyed 
both L.A. runs, while the high points for me were the Quacky 
neighborhood and the overlooked corners of Birdland.

The temperature was comfortable, the crowd was happy, and the atmosphere 
was festive, with demos and free samples from Vermont food producers, 
including soup, sausage, cookies, granola, cheese, and generous bowls of 
Ben and Jerry's mint chocolate chunk ice cream.

This was the first real test of my new Black Diamond Joules. It took me 
a few runs to make the adjustment from my old Explosivs, but once I did 
they responded nicely. They don't have the crud-busting power of the 
Explosivs, but at about 3.5 pounds lighter, that's to be expected. The 
two skis have almost exactly the same dimensions, but that doesn't mean 
they ski the same, and once I realized that the lightweight Joules don't 
like to be stomped on like the Explosivs, I began skiing with more 
finesse (which is the way I prefer to ski anyway) and they happily 
handled all the bumps and crud I threw them at with ease. The only 
problem I found was realizing that when I mounted the bindings, I forgot 
that as a women's ski, the centerline is a little bit forward of what 
I'm used to (maybe about an inch or less). I could consider remounting 
them, or I could get used to the way they are, which is what I did, and 
they're fine.

Unfortunately it looks like the precipitation tonight and tomorrow will 
be of the liquid variety, so once again it looks like it'll be two steps 
forward and one step back. Or one step forward and two steps back. Or 
something. I was glad to get it while we could.

Dave G.

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