After sitting at home yesterday watching the biggest botched forecast of the season play out to the tune of great corn skiing in the mountains, I was anxious to ski. I timidly checked forecasts again this morning and did not like what I saw. I decided to lay low and check back later in the morning. Temps in Ashland, NH still had not come close to breaking 40 and snow banks next to my house were still crusty and firm. Hardly good skiing conditions or weather in my estimation. Austin and I had been debating hitting Mad River, but it did not look like the weather forecasters were going to wiff twice in a row. I suspected firm conditions along the spine of the Greens. The idea of Cardigan came up but Austin bailed and I decided even skiing terrible conditions was better than farting around at home two days in a row.
Just under an hour later, I was clicking in at the AMC Cardigan Lodge as a few flakes meandered through the air. The snow was surprisingly soft without being completely rotted through. No sooner had I started skinning than Zeke and his friend went flying past me. Not sure they recognized me but they were flying past before I could say hello. Can’t blame them for not slowing down, that run out is a pain.
Snow base was fantastic with snow starting right at the trail head. There was an average of at least a foot on the flatter sections of the Manning and Holt trails and slightly deeper still on the Clark trail above Grand Junction. I made decent time and soon enough was at the ledge above Alexandria when two skiers and a snow boarder came whacking their way down the Clark trail from above having come over from Firescrew (sounded like an arduous journey). After a brief conversation, I decided the limited amount of snowfields on the summit cone of Cardigan were probably not worth the effort, especially as the temperature was starting to drop and the snow was a tad more firm than on the ski trail.
Setting off down Alexandria for my first ski of Cardigan, I began making survival turns at their finest. The snow alternated from frozen crust to wet sloppy mush. This classic trail ended far too quickly. I left a few sitzmarks due to being unadjusted to my sloppy soft G-Rides that need replacement. Base depths were considerable. Even with the pending warm weather this coming week, Alexandria should ski well at least through next weekend. A very narrow snow bridge allowed dry passage at the end of the ski trail before the intersection with Clark, but crossing was difficult and it will surely be washed away within a day or two leaving a stream crossing at the end of the run. The ski out was uneventful. Upon reaching my car, the sky opened up and started puking white pellets. A nice final glimpse of snow fall as we leave winter behind.