Nothing like a forecast for a big storm to bring the powder hounds out of the wood work. Especially considering how unseasonably dry and warm February has been, beginning with a late “January Thaw” which was followed by two dry weeks. Needless to say, I wanted in on first tracks during a weekend long storm and requested Thursday off from work.
Had I waited until Friday for my day off, I would have skied better snow and probably have survived the weekend injury free. Needless to say, I did not wait and paid a horrible price for my powder anxiety.
Black Mountain! It has been a half dozen years since my last visit and I was LONG past due. Black is one of my favorite “smaller” sized mountains. Mostly a family paradise, Black Mountain in Jackson, NH has sensational character and charm (not to mention cheap lift tickets). Despite the general lack of pitch, Black has several short but awesome trails that ski exceptionally well on a powder day. Aside from my skiing partner and myself, I counted no more than a half dozen other powder hounds on the mountain. I skied untracked snow from open until I left at 12:30pm and for sure there will still be pockets of untracked snow left tomorrow.
Today was the first day the double was open to the summit. So I wasted no time in taking first of the season tracks on completely untouched Lostbo, Lostbo Glade, White Knuckle, and Carter Notch Glade. That involves three individual laps off the summit yielding three completely untracked first of the season runs. Boot to knee deep. KILLER!!! Three unadulterated face shots resulted from those first three runs. The cold smoke was blowing right over my shoulders and up into my face. SICK!!!
Driving into the parking lot, I was directed where to park by an attendant. Upon opening my car door, I was greeted with friendly and warm conversation despite the frigid cold of the morning. Entering the lodge, I was enthusiastically and happily greeted by several employees. The main floor of the lodge is spacious and contains ample tables and chairs, including wood benches surrounding a red brick fireplace. Downstairs on the bottom floor, I purchased my lift ticket for $32 and quickly became engaged in conversation with Black’s attentive and hospitable staff. I was amazed by their Rental setup which seemed well designed and well staffed. Black’s reputation as a family friendly resort that specializes in beginners and those just learning is well deserved. But I was about to learn that Black has more to offer than just for families and beginners!
Black is a Mountain for everyone. First timers to Experts alike will delight in Black Mountain’s classic, narrow, winding trails. Beginners have two dedicated areas for learning which include a J-Bar servicing a wide open practice slope and a Platter Pull Surface Lift which accesses three charming Green Circles. Even expert skiers would do well to try the Platter Pull lift at least once for the experience! If you have never seen a Platter Pull lift, think T-Bar with a plunger instead of a T. The plunger gets placed between your legs which may lead some self-absorbed skiers to believe it is an extension of their man hood.