While hiking back up for my third run, I overheard a descending hiker mention that “you only see snow in July so many times in your life.” That is true for hikers and die hard skiers alike. Having now skied in July four times, I almost started to think of it as a regular occurrence. Something to be expected as normal and just another part of my season. Which it is. But that comment in passing reminded me that no ski day should be taken for granted, especially a July ski day.
MadPatSki and I partnered up for our second July Tuckerman outing. This time around I didn’t mention the lack of rain nor bugs and things seemed to go much better. I might as well have commented on the temperature as the sun beat down on us all the way to HoJo’s.
We got another leisurely start resulting in auxiliary lot parking due to the double holiday and resulting hiking crowds. Before starting up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, we were passed by a large group of a dozen skiers, riders, and friends who we soon caught up with due to a moose crossing the trail. The sight of that many skiers and riders on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail in July was more stunning than seeing a moose cross the trail a dozen feet away.
One of the benefits of having so many skiers and riders hiking the Tuckerman Ravine Trail is fewer questions. Either skiing in July seems more normal or the dumbfounded questions are spread out between more skiers and riders. A lone duo or two groups of skiers seem to get inundated with far more questions about intent and plausibility of remaining snow.
Our fears of excessive crowding and out of control newbies were unfounded. Aside from the large group, only a half dozen other skiers were making turns and many skiers and riders from the large group only took a single token run. Despite some first timers to the ravine, everyone skied and rode well and good times were had by all. The large group setup shop bringing beers and barbecue to the ravine and a semi-carnival like atmosphere ensued. Things only got slightly out of control when a cross patch snowball fight ensued. One benefit of having so many people in the ravine was the ample photography opportunities:
The snow patch was in great shape with minimal undermining on the edges, easy access, and a worry free dismount. While not the most snow I have seen in the Ravine in July, it certainly skied the best out of my four July days.
My first turns were tentative as I was skiing for only the second time in two months in a somewhat spicy situation. But the snow was excellent and my skiing was substantially stronger on subsequent runs. By the third run, I found the snow to be exquisite and I couldn’t help letting out a holler of excitement. Normally I find that the turns themselves are not truly worth the effort in July. But that was not the case today. The turns were exceptional. Even though there was only 150 vertical feet, every single vertical foot was a joy to ski.
Small ruts and a few mini bumps began forming due to the volume of skiers and riders tackling the snow patch. Things only got better when the sun came out from behind the clouds and corned the snow. However the sun also sapped my energy and water reserves. Despite wanting one more run, I had to settle for six due to the heat and resulting fatigue.
The only questions remaining is whether or not this concludes my 2010-2011 season or not…