This AM I was off to WaWa to skin a lap ahead of today's forecast innundation.  Swinging into the parking lot at 8:25AM the dashboard thermometer was reading a tropical 43F under grey skies & light niar. Seriously- 43F & dripping? What month IS this anyway?
 
The parking lot was spooky-empty, and the reason soon became clear: No bullwheels  were turning warming up for the 9AM start, no lifties, patrollers or instructors in sight, no AM grooming crew either- they were CLOSED, it was just the bare-bones staff taking up fewer than 20 parking slots!
 
Parking next to the off-white behind the Ski School it was three paces from pavement to skinning territory.  Conifer was a bit scarred up with snow-cat and snowmobile track, but still the ascent route of choice, cleaving to climbers right to abide with the resort's stated skinning policy. No uphill or downhill traffic was in evidence until the upper bight of the S, where some snowmaking staff were turning off valves.  At the summit I was met by a randoneer just beginning his descent headed toward Conifer, warning me "It doesn't look like they groomed 10th Mountain". (Really??? Go figure!!! ) OK, I was headed for Smith-Walton anyway! ;-)
 
At the lift station was stockpiled an 8' tall 15' wide 50' long pile of sludge, apparently destined for filling in the holes after the deluge, but rounding the sludge pile and dropping below the patrol shack it was as fast edgy, smooth, & firm as my old college girlfriend (and almost as fun! :-) ).  At the headwall the  water-bars were well covered-  no hint of melt-outs or undercutting (yet), and it was near race-course-perfect conditions from top to bottom, with nary a snow-cat or snowmobile track to mar the line,  and FAR better skiing than Conifer would have been. (Nothing ventured...  I can't imagine the other skier had anywhere near as much fun.)
 
With no lifts running, no cool-off runs were taken- given the freshening niar & warm breeze, "one run and done" seemed about right.  Pulling onto the road at 9:05 it felt like a perfectly nice post-closing April morning of skiing @ WaWa.  But can we have January back before race time on Thursday?!
 
dana
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