Deep backcountry powder

Skiing in VT - 15/Feb/2004

By David Metsky

A very impromptu ski trip, organized late in the week with the hope of good snow conditions on a trail none of us had seen. We were going to ski some backcountry in Central VT, with some fresh snow in the past few days. Brenda and I were driving up in the morning, Stephan was going to meet us at the parking lot. We were all there and headed up by 10:00, into some amazing fresh snow. There were clearly many tracks headed up and had already come down but we were on snow, how could it be bad.

After a stretch on a roadlike section we started some serious climbing. During the first major pitch a group came down and it looked like the skiing was good. There was one section, atop the steepest section, where the Teardrop turned left along a trail, then right to continue up. From here the trail is wide and steady, with moguls forming from all the skiing. We kept on skining, taking breaks where needed and eventually getting up into the scrub trees. It was noticably colder up there, and we finally decided to turn around where the trail hits the ridge rather than go to the summit. It was completely socked in and snowing a bit.

Frosted tree    Snowy fir trees    Branches and ice

We were a bit cold to stop for lunch so we put on all our gear and started down. The top is fairly narrow, and we did a combination of parallel turns, snowplow, and the occasional tele where applicable. We were also cold and needed a bit of skiing to warm up. As the trail widened up, we got into our groove and began to really ski. The snow conditions were great and we quickly got a feel of what we could do. Soon we were all getting some great turns, using the entire width of the trail to find the best snow. Finally we were warmed up and stopped for lunch on the side of the trail. The snow on the sides was roughly 20" deep and light and fluffy. A good day.

After the quick lunch we headed on down, this time headed into the woods along the side of the trail into untracked snow. It was about as good conditions as I've encountered in the New England backcountry. At the cross road we headed straight into the woods and cut slightly left, going through more untracked but slightly less friendly terrain. There were many crashes and burns here, but we all survived and made it back to the trail proper. A quick ski out the flats and we were back at the cars. What a great trip, I'll definately be spending more time in this area.

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