One of the many trail junctions

Sunday morning Luke and myself were looking to sneak in some quick skiing before having to deal with our holiday obligations.  Luke was off to a holiday party and I was off to spread Christmas cheer at Eastern Mountain Sports.

Luke showing off his new Jones board (I am a little jealous)

Normally when we are looking for a quick workout, Luke and I elect to skin one of the outside trails at Mount Wachusett, either Ralph’s Run or Conifer.  However, we were scolded the other day by a overly authoritative ski patroler about our skinning up the trail.  He inquired what we were doing?  And why we were doing it?  And why we thought we could?  Obviously he had not seen us doing this over the past few seasons (on a side note, I am ready for snow and the backcountry to open up, the resort vibe/ethic is already getting tiresome).  It is strange that almost every encounter I have had with ski patrol at Wachusett has been positive, with inquisitive and friendly ski patrollers, but every now and then someone has to make a presentation of their authority.

Luke on the hike up

In order to avoid any confrontations with ski patrol we elected to keep a low profile by hiking up the backside of the mountain to the summit.  At the summit we would slyly slip into our ski shells, helmets, and goggles and join the masses getting of off the chair lift.

Luke on a slabby section

It was a fun and different way to experience the mountain.  When you skin up the trail you are still one of the skiers.  You are using the resort differently than most, but you have a great deal in common with the other people using the resort.  Hiking the backside was unique in that we encountered trail runners, dog walkers, hikers, and another group doing the same thing as us.  It was a much more diverse group and it was a pleasant change of pace.

Getting ready to sneak onto the trails

It was nice to get off the busy ski trails and take in some of the natural quiet of the mountain.  It was also a reminder that Mount Wachusett is more than just a ski mountain to many people.  It is also place for more peaceful type of recreation.  It is amazing the contrast the backside has when compared with the hustle and bustle of the resort.

We could have used a little more underbrush to hide our approach to the lift

Sadly Luke and I managed only one run before we both headed off to our other obligations. However, I am excited by our recent exploration of Mount Wachusett, and I look forward to repeating this pre work adventure.