After weeks of waiting for the perfect spring corn weekend, I realized it may not happen before the season ends. Warm t-shirt weather and perfect spring corn bumps are more rare than a powder day during any given season. But that doesn’t mean that the skiing won’t be fabulous without the warmth, sun, and perfect corn. The late season was passing me by while I awaited perfection when I realized the perfect turn can still be found in less than ideal circumstances.
Those perfect turns were found hammering down Preston’s Pitch, the steep finale to Superstar. I kept finding that perfect line and letting the skis go full speed, bashing the bumps for direction and speed control, more the former than the latter. I kept saying one more run but then I’d find myself turning right back onto the lift rather than turning left towards the lodge. Back up again, trying to find that same line that felt so good during the last run. And failing to find it until that last pitch… and there I was again hitting the same bumps even faster than the last time.
The coverage on Superstar is amazing for mid-May thanks to two weeks of cold and cloudy weather with temperatures well below seasonal norms. The snow was nearly edge to edge and absolutely top to bottom with several sections of Superstar featuring base depths as deep as the chairs moving uphill. Significant amounts of snow were stockpiled at the top and bottom of the run. Memorial Day is almost certainly going to happen. June is a possibility with a little help from the weather.
Not just faceshots. Full on, can’t see a thing, Whiteroom.
Simultaneously both euphoric and terrifying when it happens in the trees.
Three feet of fresh fell on top of barely covered ground. The euphoria was tempered by the knowledge (understood and physically felt) that roots, rocks, and deadfall lie deep beneath the surface. Three feet was almost enough to bury it all over again.
But it is hard to care about what lies beneath when you can’t even see where you are skiing.
Four times in a row. Four times knee to thigh deep untracked down Burke’s widest and most prominent run, rarely ever a good option for untracked powder due to grooming and race training. While the local guys went straight for the trees, I lapped some of the deepest and best untracked powder turns I’ve skied in years in plain sight of the Quad.
I will never understand the urge to rush the trees when a normally groomed trail is just begging for deep and smooth tracks. Isn’t that why we went into the woods in the first place? Because we couldn’t find good snow and untracked powder on the trails? I hollered and screamed at the top of my lungs in plain sight of the lift, yet no one riding that lift seemed to be following me down the most obvious run into the best snow on the mountain.
A Cannon Day: It is good for what ails you.
Fourteen hours ago, it seemed like this powder day was not to be. I got up, took out the dog, and sat down looking out the window, dead eyes. I felt absolutely wasted. I had not been feeling well for days and the cold hit hard Saturday and Sunday. I knew that a foot of fresh was awaiting, but my body said “no way”. I sat there for half an hour watching the minutes tick away. I had to make a go decision soon to make first chair. I chugged some water, tossed some medicine in my bag, and got moving. I might not be able to ski much but I sure as heck was going to try.
I can report that I have found the cure for the common cold and it is a powder day at Cannon. Once I got going, I felt better every run. As per my usual plan of attack at Cannon, I started on Zoomer and found about eight inches over scratch on the groomers. Untracked on top of groomer is my favorite powder condition (since I get to ski it so rarely) but powder on top of scratch is not so hot. Lower angle Rocket had the best snow of this variety. But the better and deeper action was in the trees as I found in Lakeview and Echo.
Three runs and done at Smuggs. That was not due to the conditions or injury, but rather fatigue. Coming off twelve days in a row of work averaging 12 hours per day, I took Saturday off from skiing to recover despite the recent storm and epic reports from the notch. I assumed one day of doing nothing was enough for recovery, but it definitely was not.
I got right to work at Smuggs and delved into a line I suspected existed but had not yet discovered. Discovering new lines is always a treat, especially at areas that you have mostly mapped out. But you never want to be in discovery mode, especially at Smuggs, with anything less than your ‘A’ game. I hacked my way down the line looking rather amateurish. But I felt that the turns were not there so I decided not to force it.
Given my lack of energy, I opted for something a bit more mellow for my next run. I found some boot deep untracked despite skiing two days after the storm. This was a very well known woods area but the line goes against the fall line and requires counter intuitive thinking. Always a late-day-go-to but two days after the storm during a weekend is exceptional. It was only a half dozen untracked turns but far more than I expected.
Conditions in general were wicked firm and fast on the groomers despite the recent storm. The groomers had massive wind buff and felt like skiing an early season WROD. So suffice it to say, I stuck to the trees as is my wont.
Despite my fatigue, I couldn’t resist skiing off the backside of Sterling into the Notch. My line choice was suspect given my condition, but I couldn’t resist dropping into a creek bed that I haven’t skied in a few years. The snow was phenomenal and my turns were acceptable if forced. But by the time I got down to 108, I knew I was spent.
It is never good to spend more time driving round trip than skiing. But it is best to call it a day when your turns get sloppy and your energy is lacking. It was a disappointing end to two exceedingly long and difficult weeks. But the worst of my work is done for the winter and I have two weeks of use it or lose it vacation to burn. The season is just getting started as far as I am concerned.