The other morning I met Luke and Nate at Mount Wachusett. Nate had been left super psyched on telemark skiing following the on snow demo, and in an effort to keep the stoke I hoped to get him back on the snow in tele gear ASAP. The plan was to meet Luke at the Wachusett parking lot and get Nate fixed up with some demo gear then hit the slopes for some quick lift-accessed runs before Nate had to get to work and I went home to do some very neglected chores.
We met at the lot as planned and hooked Nate up with boots and skis. However, as Nate and I began to head towards the mountain Luke informed us he was planning on hiking up the backside to get a run before riding the lifts and he would hook up with us later. Luke claimed that he needed to hike the mountain at least once in preparation for the backcountry (a season that will hopefully be in full swing post Christmas). After a grueling holiday season, and with a full plate post skiing, I was excited by the prospects of a casual ski day and chose to ride the lifts with Nate.
While I love the earn-your-turns ethic, I am making peace with lift assisted skiing and am seeing the benefits of it in both my ski and snowboard technique. While hiking the mountain is challenging, the repetition you are able to achieve by lift served riding is unattainable if you hope to be human powered. The amount of runs I have been able to get so early in the season have me feeling in mid season form. While my fitness might not be backcountry ready, my riding is.
Nate and I lapped Wachusett with rigor as the lines were short and the snow soft. Once again I found the conditions at Wachusett excellent. The cold nights allow the mountain’s staff to create a lot of snow and the warm sunny days soften the snow, making for Spring-like conditions. After about a half dozen laps we ran into Luke smugly smiling at the base of the mountain. You could tell Luke was very satisfied by his hike and ski.
Luke showed some effects from the hike, namely an extremely red face he attributed to very windy conditions at the top of the mountain, conditions Nate and I had not encountered as we had stayed on the mid mountain lift. Luke bragged about what a great hike it had been and how it was his fastest ascent this season. A clear shot across my bow as this was his only ascent of the season without my company. Luke rambled on about how he no longer enjoys lift served skiing and backcountry/slackcountry skiing is what he finds truly finds pleasure in these days.
Luke entertained Nate and I by joining us for a few lift served laps before bowing out and offering us invitations to join him in skinning some laps over Christmas break. It also served a reminder that he will be passing on the days were we ride the lifts. It is an invitation I am sure Nate and I will be taking.
In conclusion, it was another excellent day at Mount Wachusett. Nate and I skied roughly twenty runs before one o’clock leaving both of us with a feeling of accomplishment. Nate made great progress on his telemark technique and I feel like I did too. In addition, Nate made it home in time to take a pre-work nap and I made it home in time to catch up on some household chores. Luke managed to get a hike in ski in and join us for a few lift laps. Also, Luke got to let us know that he clearly feels his way is better and next time we should join him on the backside instead of joining the masses in the lift line