Sunday, November 29, 2009

Better than cleaning chains and dodging pine cones

The storm that made riding unpleasant for much of the holiday weekend dumped abundant snow in the Whites. Hard to imagine, as it never got very cold in southern New Hampshire. Bretton Woods was open Saturday on 4km of trail and expected to open more for Sunday as they cleared storm damage. I needed a recovery day Saturday anyway, so timing would be perfect. The nearly foot of new snow would have a chance to set up.

Waxing skis is way less messy than cleaning dirty bikes.

I couldn't find any other takers on short notice, so I headed up solo. It was a brilliant sunny day. Heading up I-93, you could see that the Whites in the distance were indeed snow capped. Driving for nearly another hour, still no snow on the ground. There was zero snow in Lincoln and only a dusting at the summit of Loon Mtn Ski Area. As I began to head up into the Notch, it was like a switch flipped to winter wonderland. In two minutes it went from no snow to nearly a foot of snow. I feared it might be altitude only, but as I descended into Twin Mountain, the snow did not diminish at all. The snow bank at the corner of Rt 3 and Rt 302 was higher than my car. Awesome.

I got to Bretton Woods before 10am. The parking lot was full. Hope they had a lot more than 4km open, else things were going to be very crowded.

Thanksgiving weekend in the Whites

I waxed with yellow, figuring the wet snow was still saturated and it was supposed to rise above freezing. I think I got it right. Conditions were fast. The first grooming always contours the undulating terrain underneath, making V2'ing the first time on snow for the season tricky. Snow has much different feel to it than rollerskis on pavement. It took about 5-10km before I began to feel completely comfortable. I'd guess around 6-8km were groomed when I started, and the chainsaws were still going on some trails to clear the way for the groomer. Heavy, wet snow and subsequent wind took a lot of trees down.

There were numerous juniors there on classics, maybe out numbering skaters 3:1. Saw a couple familiar masters faces. Trails were busy but it rarely interfered with keeping a nice tempo pace going. I planned to ski about 2hrs/30km, but when I saw the groomer had made a new sweep through the biathlon range area, I kept going. How often can you skate right after the groomer on 10" of new snow and it is perfect? The moisture content, density and temperature were such that the freshly groomed snow set up instantly. Seems the wind carried the scent of fresh corduroy, as this new 2km of trail quickly filled with skaters. Big smiles all the way around, perfect V2 cruising material. After a couple bonus laps on this stuff, my turkey pop-out button popped. I was cooked.

All the flat stuff was groomed by the time I finished.

I skied about 37km in 2.4hrs. The only thing missing were hills. Due to limited terrain being open, BW was charging only $10. This includes showers and fresh towels! I think that was the best $10 I've spent all year. Sure beats another ride in glop and having to spend an hour cleaning the drivetrail again.  No chance of hitting BW mid week, so it looks like its back to dodging pine cones on rollerskis. Going to suck.


Anonymous said...

Figures. I was secretly hoping conditions would $uck.

Luke S said...

Thinking about making a weekend trek over to the valley to get some time on snow, if it holds up this week.

Hill Junkie said...

Seems Bretton Woods was the only place in New England that got enough snow to groom, maybe only place east of Rockies. There were a couple thin spots Sunday. Might be warm with rain Wednesday. Forecast hints of more snow Friday. Hope for the best. Saturday is good bet for me.

Skogs - finish your honey-do list this week so you can head up Saturday.