As reported elsewhere, I did make good on the threat to dash to N VT last
weekend (20th) and sample some early season skiing.  This report is late
because I stayed there all week.

My friend Jeff flew up with me from Balt. to Manchester NH and we set out
for Burlington in a rental car.  Sat. morning found us at Jay Peak for
opening day.  Jim B and I met Mark Renson in the Stateside Lodge and Benjie
Putnam, Jerm and list legend Matt Duffy on slope.  On the first ride we
spotted Peter Murray working on Jet.  The snow was plentiful and spring
like.   I had expected refrozen crud and had dressed for colder
temperatures but it was warm right from the start.  After this warm up in
variable snow we jumped into Haynes for some soft bumps, or make that cream
cheese bumps.  That emptied one Camelbak and I headed in to refill, shed
some layers and catch a rest.  After that the snow only got heavier but it
was skiing and it was great.  I found few rocks but took a beating from
falls in the tough snow, repeating Haynes and the next one over (Derrick?)
several times.  By lunch time I felt pretty good and had gotten some ski
legs back and emptied another Camelbak.  In the afternoon it must have been
60 deg.  I wore just a T shirt and polypro briefs under shell pants &
jacket with pit zips, side zips, everything, open as far as modesty would
allow.  It still was too hot.  I took off my helmet to let the steam escape
while riding chairs.   2 after lunch runs and I was medium rare approaching
well done.  At this point I met up with Jim and Mark who said the woods
were great.   With big grins we jumped into Timbuktu.  The top was very
nice and I even kept up with Renson and his "I ski _faster_ in the trees"
ethic.  But then heavy snow, dehydration, fatigue, all jumped up and got me
all at once.  Should have done woods in the AM with the young guys while I
was fresh.  I did one more on Kitz and called it quits.  It was 2:30 and on
my slow beaten shuffle back from the triple base to Stateside I was cheered
up by Susan Graham.  After finally making it to the lodge I had just enough
energy left to get one of those 25 oz. cans of reeb out of the case and
carry it back to my table.  Noticed that the benches were draped with the
semi comatose bodies of guys half my age who had also skied themselves to
the brink.  Jeff hung in there for 2 more runs, a stellar performance for a
guy who had arthroscopic hip surgery 2 months ago and usually skis (is
spoiled by) good western snow.  A fine day.

We returned to Burlington and Jeff and I sat my grandson Conor while
Kathleen & Jim took in Warren Miller's "50" with friends.  Actually "sat"
the baby is a joke; we sat our tired carcasses on the couch and hoped he
wouldn't set the house on fire or do anything else that would require us to
get up.  While doing that we were treated to an impressive display of
lightning outside followed by torrential (I can't say it - the R word).

On Sun. Kathleen, Jeff and I went to Sugarbush knowing that they had made a
lot of snow before the freak storm and that it would hold up better than
natural.  I believe that they had 65 trails open on Thurs.  On Sun. there
were 5; 2 of them, organgrinder, and Jester into downspout had lots of
snow.  It was bowling for bodies on Jester, since that was the only thing
open for non experts.  Organ grinder and downspout had big corn bumps with
massive relief, i.e. deep troughs.  I found this very tiring on my teles
and so we went to look at the remains of the natural snow on Spillsville
and Ripcord.  I thought these were really excellent and greatly enjoyed the
lack of other skiers and the chance to slalom between the bare spots.  I
took some pretty good rock shots and also smelled the scent of pine a few
times after trimming the saplings coming up thru the snow.  Kathleen and
Jeff went back to the bumps but I liked this.  Wes and Jumpin' Jimmy passed
overhead so I waited to do a run together.  They were pumped and it was
contagious; we made some awesome turns together IMHO and got a few cheers
from the lift.  It was our private slope and except for the lift, it could
have been May on the Gulf of Slides.  That was my best run of the weekend.
Jeff had to work on Mon. so he took the rental car back to Manchester while
I returned with Kathleen to Burlington.

Mon. I returned to Sugarbush.  It had stayed warm all night and spillsville
and ripcord were totally gone.  There were just a few widely separated
patches of snow left.  Jester/Downspout and grinder still had plenty of
snow but you had to download on a chair (name?) to the base.  There were
less than 100 people there but I somehow missed brother-in-law Josh and
nephew Mike, who were waiting outside for the lift to start while I was
hydrating inside.  I was hurting from 2 days of challenging conditions,
skiing conservatively, and not having much fun when Mike snuck up behind me
and said Boo at about 11.  It was even softer than on Sun. and we decided
to ski the bumps slowly and work on form and picking lines for the rest of
the day.  This forcing ourselves to go back to school soon had us skiing
much more confidently.  We picked up the pace again and had a blast.  I
even tele'd organgrinder without poles a couple of times (can't do it
unless you face the fall line and ski with your feet).  I talked to a
Patroller who said that in the last week he had seen 3 of the 4 seasons -
hence the title of this post.

On Tues. car issues (you don't want to know) kept me in Burlington.  I
visited Climb High for an equipment fix and bought the second ed. of Lou
Dawson's Wild Snow.  On Wed. AM Jim and I took Conor to the business office
at Mad River to get their pictures taken for season passes.  Conor has the
limited edition child's free pass.  He
will have a lifetime souvenir of this pass with his beloved Bear in the
picture along with his smiling face.  Afterward we put him in a backpack
and hiked from App. Gap to the top of the double.  He loved it.  We saw
only a few small patches of snow, which is amazing because I had checked
the App Gap daily picture on Wed. and Thurs. of the big storm and know that
they had 30" +
We met a couple coming down from the top of Stark Mtn. who said it was icy
up there with treacherous footing.  The girl wanted to know how many
mountains Bear had climbed with Conor.  Well, part or all of Stark (several
times), Mt. Wash. and Camel's Hump.  I have hiked large parts of the
Appalachian trail in VA and PA and I must say that the Long Trail is far
more rugged, wild, and beautiful.

For the remainder of the week we did Thanksgiving with Josh, Maureen, Meg,
and Mike in MA.  We also took my Aunt Mary to lunch.  She has family
bragging rights on skiing, having gone in the 20s, 30s, and 40s on the
Boston to North Conway snow train.  She is 99.  Hope you all had as good a
Thanksgiving as we did.

Denis Bogan

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