When I got home from Jay, I dejectedly flopped down into my chair and started flipping through trip reports. I quickly found myself at the NY Ski Blog reading Harvey’s latest post on ski touring right outside his backdoor. And the thought occurred to me that I could keep reading about other people skiing or I could head outside my own backdoor and earn some turns myself. There was only an hour and a half of daylight left but I could just barely squeeze it in.
I quickly ran through the house and gathered up my touring gear. Much to my chagrin, I later discovered that I had been too hasty in gathering my gear. While applying my skins in the howling wind, I cried out in dismay as I realized that I had the wrong pair of skins! I applied a quick fix that worked and commenced skinning on skins that were 3cm short of full width coverage and 10cm short in the tail.
Hair of the Dog style leg rehabilitation continued today at Tenney. While ski areas were fully tracked out and busy with the holiday crowds, there was still uncrowded slopes and untracked powder to be found. I began skinning under a bluebird sky hot on the track of the only other soul on the mountain.
The skin track was just as flat and meandering as most of Tenney’s trails. The snow was fluffy in nature with no base to speak of. Snow depths were significantly less than at my house just a few miles away as the crow flies. Lack of trail mowing was evident but no worse than could be expected.
My original plan called for inspection and subsequent descent of Snap Dragon: Tenney’s steepest trail. But base depths and snow density clearly suggested meadow skipping would be the safest and most enjoyable option. On the descent, I scratched up my boards skiing a trail used as an access road. Low angle grassy trails were best!
With Powder being such a rare event this March, the last week of this month have me craving warm spring skiing, corn snow, and earned turns. Temperatures on Wednesday were rather warm considering the recent stretch of colder than average temperatures. As the sun began its slow linger descent over the mountains west of the Greater Plymouth area, I headed home from work around five o’clock. The thought occurred to me that I should have been heading towards the setting sun instead of away from it.
Upon reaching home, I quickly changed out of work clothes and into ski clothes, grabbed my pack and skins, and turned the car around heading back into Plymouth towards Tenney Mountain. Despite having moved to the Plymouth area this past summer, I had not skied the local mountain all seasons despite often thinking of doing some dawn patrols at Tenney. Today’s Dusk Patrol would be my first ski at Tenney in almost a half dozen years.
Since Tenney closed for the season recently, the base area was down right deserted. I quickly geared up and set off skinning at an aggressive pace. Tenney skis much smaller than its 1400 vertical drop suggests with mostly flat and meandering trails. I skinned right up the gut of the mountain via Tote Road and achieved summit in just over a leisurely hour and ten minutes via a mile and a quarter of skinning. In subsequent weeks, I expect many additional post work skins up Tenney during which I hope to improve my skin time to well under an hour. This should make an excellent twice per week training ritual to get my legs in shape for an epic spring on Mount Washington.
Skiing conditions were less than ideal. I crested the ridge along Tenney’s summit just as the sun began disappearing in a blaze of glory. Which meant snow that was soft and somewhat corn like at the beginning of the skin was freezing up and becoming quite unforgiving. My descent involved previously groomed trails as natural snow and ungroomed trails were horrific to say the least. I utilized big sweep carved turns on low angle trails with occasional speed checks when the trail became steeper or snow conditions became dicey. This will be a sensational post work routine this spring as warmer temperatures and corn snow finally break through winter’s hold. Base depths are simply sensational with no bare or thin spots anywhere on the mountain. Trees would still be easily skiable provided softer corn snow conditions.
Finishing up a week long winter vacation, I found myself with my dad at Tenney Mountain. This was our first visit to the mid-sized intermediate oriented ski area at the foothills of the White Mountains. After years of troubled ownership, Tenney found itself reopened for 2003.
I found Tenney’s consistently intersecting trails to devalue the character of the terrain. Individual trails generally lacked character since most trails lacked individuality. Even those trails that were not bisected multiple times generally failed to offer any special topographical or visual features of interest. Tenney is a very affordable mountain that is excellent for families, first timers, beginners and intermediates. Hopefully Tenney can dial in its niche market as it is a good mountain but it may lack long term viability.