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Mt. Washington. This mountain has a grip on me. Always the last ski trip of the season, always memorable, always hard earned. There are no lifts. You have a choice, climb from the bottom, as in Tuckerman Ravine, Gulf of Slides, Monroe Brook, or drive up the auto road after it opens in mid to late May, ski down, then hike back up. I've done both, over 20+ years. With age and declining capacity I prefer the auto road and the summit snowfields which begin a mere 100 yards from my parked car. There is always weather. This holiday weekend the mountain said NO for 3 days in a row. When Mt. Washington says NO, it is a good idea to listen. It was worth the wait. To ski in late May on natural snow in the east is a miracle. Finally, on Tuesday, May 28, the mountain said YES. 

The reward for patience was new powder, blown in by the near 100 mph winds of the recent unseasonable storm, covering the old icy glacier. While not comparable to Tuckermans, it is intimidating to click in and stand there contemplating when you haven't made a turn in 2 months. The slope is convex so that you see only where to place the first few turns, then the valley thousands of feet below. There is room for 2-4 test turns to gain confidence and a feel for the snow. Then you ski over the giant cue ball. You force yourself to commit to the fall line, don't hold back, lean down the slope, not into it. Then the miracle happens, you make the commitment, catch the rhythm and the skis do their job. You are flying, ruling the mountain. The convexity eases and you can see the bottom of the run. Huge smiles ensue. A half dozen others were there, some old friends I've met in past years. The whole experience is, for me, so much richer than a ski area experience.

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