Tuckerman Ravine: Because I Love It

Headwall & Snow Patch

I’ve skied Tuckerman Ravine in June and July many times. Sometimes because it was there. And other times because it was still there. But this year, I didn’t do it just because it was there. I did it because I Love It.

For three out of four runs, I was the only person in Tuckerman Ravine. I had one of New England’s finest natural areas all to myself. I was the only person in the eastern United States that was skiing. The only one. My own paradise for my own turns, experiencing something that no other person was experiencing at that moment.

Being alone in the Ravine was baffling. Today was an almost perfect day for skiing on Mount Washington. The temperature was in the 60s with a light but steady breeze and the sky was mostly blue bird with occasional small fluffy clouds. Bugs were non-existent due to the pleasantly refreshing wind. The skiing was exceptional with near perfect corn snow from the first run.

Snow Patch Bottom

Despite enjoying my unique and solitary experience, I was somewhat disappointed to not have any one to share the adventure with. So I was glad to see a skier starting down the snow patch while I was hiking for my third run.

Since no other skiers hiked up, I knew it must be fellow T4T’er jshefftz who had just completed the Mount Washington Road Race. It was one and done for jshefftz, so I finished off my fourth lap solo. I ran into another fellow T4T’er snowmonster and his friend during my hike out. So only four skiers enjoyed the Ravine on this beautiful day.

Snow Patch Halfway Point

Conditions in the Ravine for mid-June are below standard. I would expect the current snow pack for late June during an average year or early July during a good year. The lower end of the snow pack is melting fast and a pinch is already developing in the middle of the patch. However, the upper end of the snow patch is doing quite well. Mounting the snow patch was trickier than normal for the current patch configuration which was surprising considering the shape of the lower patch.

The snow patch should ski quite well into next weekend, though the middle section will likely pinch down considerably. It may be skiable still for the last weekend of June but I wouldn’t trust the lower and middle sections to hold out that long. Even for the craziest of the crazy, the first weekend in July will not be possible. If this is on your radar, I would recommend skiing it within the next seven days. Anything outside of that will require extremely favorable weather conditions and perhaps some luck. Or more guts than love.

Steve Before Second Run

10 thoughts on “Tuckerman Ravine: Because I Love It

  1. Sounds like a great day. What a feeling it must be to be alone in Tuckerman, AND to be the only one skiing east of the rockies! Pretty damn great. Hopefully next year my “to-do” list won’t be so long and I can some trips like this in…

  2. Glad to bump into you yesterday. I regret not being able to ski with you but glad that I got out. Pretty neat to think that I was only one of four people who were skiing on snow east of the Rockies. We do love Tuckerman dearly. All the best and have a great summer.

  3. Great stuff. Tim’s thought about you being one of only four people that skied in the east is pretty impressive. Seems you’ve had that distinction many times over the years.

    What caught my eye, oddly enough, was your camera bag. It seems smaller than the slr chest bag that I have. I have no problem skiing with it but hiking down steep terrain is difficult because it blocks my view of the trail directly below my feet. Have you had similar problems?

    • I’ve been up there before on days when only four people skied. I don’t know why the thought never occurred to me before. What was most cool, though, was being up there all by myself for almost two hours. I’ve never been alone in the ravine before. I guess the TRT was closed but I didn’t see signs, that must have kept people away.

      I have a M43 camera, not an SLR. The body and kit lens are fairly compact for a system camera. Maybe three inches wide total? The camera bag is a Clik bag. It definitely wouldn’t hold a dSLR with any type of moderate sized lens. It has the volume of approximately two of my fists at best and doesn’t have a place to slide a lens in.

  4. Thanks for the post! I’ll be turning 30 in June 2014 and was thinking a Mt. Washington/Tuckermans trip with my brother might be a good way to ring in being over-the-hill…if there’s snow. This is really useful to me, thanks!

  5. Just found your blog spot… I really enjoyed your photosā€¦. Brought back lots of memories of good times and bad on that mountainā€¦. over the years I was lucky enough to ski into June and July a number of times…. the latest into the summer was on July 28, 1969…..it was a little sketchy because anything resembling a run out was goneā€¦. But it was fun and how many have skied in NH on July 28th ā€¦. I live on the gulf coast now and do miss Mt Washingtonā€¦ but do manage to get back up to Tucks whenever I canā€¦ Hell Dodges drop is a lot easier now on short shaped skisā€¦

    • Thanks for the comment, Pete! I think my latest day on Mount Washington is July 5th or 6th. I’d love to make it to July 28th or even August! But we haven’t had those massive years you enjoyed back then. Still need to ski Dodge’s and you are right, I can’t even imagine Brooks Dodge dropping that line on old wooden skis!

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