It was still snowing when I left Jay Peak yesterday and temperatures were forecasted to remain below freezing. So I had no reason to suspect conditions would deteriorate overnight. But I quickly discovered during my skin up Goat that the snow had been wind blasted into a crust. The snow was oreo cookie like: crust on dust on crust.
My plan was to ascend Goat and evaluate options including some combination of Poma Line, Upper Ullr’s, or JFK using Weddlemaster as a skin track back to Alligator Alley with a final descent down Green Mountain Boys (which had treated me well the day before). But the crusty snow only got worse the higher I went.
I evaluated Northwest Passage thinking that the trail may have been protected but the entrance was just as bad as everything else. Ascending further uphill seemed to only invite worse conditions. So I deskinned and began my first descent down Green Mountain Boys.
Despite being protected, GMB also suffered significant wind buff. Thankfully, the crusty top layer could be cut through easily and was supported by soft powdery snow. I am really pushing my definition of a ‘Powder Day’ tag on this report. But after last year, this one counts. Close enough.
After finishing my descent of GMB, I noticed that Racer was completely untracked. And why wouldn’t it be? Even when slightly tracked up, Green Mountain Boys is the better and more appealing line. Cutting into Racer is usually the play to make once GMB is toast. Untracked snow still skied the best despite the top crust layer (whereas normally a crust layer means tracked snow skis better), so Racer was enticing.
I skinned up Racer hoping for the best and continued up the middle section of Green Mountain Boys to ensure a full run. Turns down Racer were sensational, floaty, and fun! I opened up wide turns which cut through the top layer and into the softer snow below. I was dumbfounded by how good the turns were so I wasted no time skinning back up to lay down a second set of tracks.