During my first drives to Saddleback, I would gaze west from Route 17 in Mexico and contemplate Black Mountain of Maine. I originally mistook it for a lost area, making a mental note to research the area for possible turn earning.
But the lifts have been spinning steadily at Black since 1935. More well known for hosting numerous high profile nordic championship events, the alpine portion of Black focuses on affordable family friendly skiing for local area residents.
The reason that the lifts still turn at Black Mountain is Maine Winter Sports Center’s financial support from the Libra Foundation. Without the financial support of the Libra Foundation, Black Mountain would not be able to offer its record low lift ticket price of $15.00 and sustain operations.
Driving up the access road to Abram, it happened. The flood of endorphins. Arm hairs standing up a bit. An emotional reaction to a pile of rock topped by flora and frozen water under a blue bird sky. I knew there was still untracked powder on yonder trails a day after the powder day. Abram is a special place and I knew I was in for a good day.
After grabbing a seat on The Way Back Machine (man, I love that lift’s name and the area’s theme), I surveyed the snow conditions and I liked what I saw. I REALLY liked what I saw. Loose powder was everywhere and the edges of the trails had plenty of untracked. A day after the powder day.
With Shawnee Peak crossed off, The List has now dwindled down to only one area per state (domestically). I expect the remainder of the stateside list to fall in short order leaving only the Quebec areas. Perhaps The List will expand to include more of New York such as the Catskills.
Exploring new areas has become a favorite part of my season even when exploring areas that I know I will never return to. I knew pretty quickly that Shawnee was such an area but that only heightens the feeling of exploration, knowing that this is not only a first time, but also a last time.
After loosing the first to open battle to Killington, Sunday River responded by offering significantly better terrain at a cheaper price for the Veteran’s Day weekend. While Killington offers two trails off North Ridge with hiking to download and a top to bottom route that “may require walking”, Sunday River has three and a half unique top to bottom runs in addition to a connector trail. Unfortunately for Sunday River, the snow condition quality did not match the route count quantity.
I hoped for a half dozen runs before the lines and downloading became overwhelming. Instead, I got a baker’s dozen before the lines and downloading became barely a minor annoyance. The guns were on and then they were off. The turns were good on variable man made blow with natural and skier induced terrain obstacles. Skier’s right on T2 was sweet and Upper Punch sucked the big one. Coming off a mammoth earned turn powder day last week, this wasn’t much to write about. But it was still turns sweet turns and I’ll be back for more next weekend if the natural hasn’t returned.