This was a long day trip, mainly due to the drive time and late start, but the skiing was excellent and the terrain easy. We left Boston after 8:00 AM so we didn't arrive a the Livermore Road trailhead in Waterville Valley until well after 10:00. In the parking lot we waxed up our backcountry skis and packed up our gear. The very first part of the trip is on groomed trails from the Waterville Valley ski area. It made for a pleasant approach to the Greeley Ponds trail. Once off the groomed, the trail is gentle and was well broken out. It's an easy backcountry tour, and can easily be done without metal edged skis, although care should be taken on several places, like the bridges.
It's a few miles to Greeley Ponds and the ski trail goes straight out onto the water. As we got out onto the pond we saw two skiers approaching from the other side. There are some great views up towards East Osceola and the cliffs above, well worth the trip in winter or summer. We skied across the ponds and found a nice place out of the wind to eat our lunch. It was cold though, and we didn't really plan on spending too much time out in the cold, so we skied back across and took one last look around before getting ready for the descent (video, 2.3 meg).
The first part of the trail is the steepest, and even that isn't very bad. The trail follows a stream which was looking very pretty in the ice and snow. On some of the short sections with a drop we practiced our tele turns on our backcountry skis and soft leather boots. There are several side trails along the Greeley Ponds trail, and we decided to head up the Flume trail. There was some deep snow which forced us to stop and rewax to make progress in the untracked snow. It was very pretty but slow going.
We only skied a short way up the Flume trail before running into steep terrain that we really didn't want to ski that late in the day. We turned around and had a quick little descent in the untracked snow alongside the trail, back to the main trail. From there it was a quick trip back out to the Livermore Road and then the parking lot. We drove over the now closed Snows Mountain ski area and took a few earned runs (video, 2.3 meg). It's a fine day trip from Boston, one that most cross country skiers could do with a solid snowplow and good conditions.
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