The Rookie

Matt and Mickey hiking up

Mickey Spades started the new year off with a purchase of a set of AT skis and a new years resolution to become a skier.  I can hardly blame him for wanting to ski, it sucks to hike down a trail that your friends blast down on skis.  It also sucks to be the person everyone is waiting for at the bottom.  Another issue with being a hiker when everyone else skis or rides is that you are only able to participate in half of the day’s activity (which also means you miss out on half the story telling at dinner and on the way home as the day is recapped and stories are swapped).  It also means occasionally you get the car moved on you.  I can empathize with Mickey Spades having not learned to ski or snowboard until quite recently, and am glad to see him taking steps toward becoming a more complete outdoor athlete.

Doug at the summit
In order to get some slackcountry time in, and not to get Mickey in too far over his head, we decided on a Tecumseh trip.  Mickey is familiar with the hike up Tecumseh making the first half of the day easy on him and, if forced to bail off of the ski trail, we were confident that Mickey Spades could find his way to the car (provided we did not move it on him again).  Furthermore, Tecumseh seemed to be the easiest skiing objective with the only real difficulty coming in the first few hundred feet.  After the first section, Mickey would be home free on a casually graded slope to the parking lot.  
Matt at a scenic vista
From the parking lot you could see Mickey Spades’ anxiety level was high.  We also brought Matt along for the day; sensing Mickey’s anxiety, Matt attempted to calm him down, assuring him that everything would be fine.  The problem was Mickey was never quite sure if Matt was being honest with him or not.  I myself was curious to discover if Matt was being honest with Mickey or waiting to exact his revenge.

A gorgeous day on top of Mount Tecumseh
I found myself a little curious if Matt would look to pay Mickey back for a day of climbing with in November when Mickey was eager to show off his climbing prowess.  Matt, a snowboarder for over twenty five years, had a distinct advantage over Mickey, a skier of over 5 times today.  In the end Matt ended up being supportive and even complimentary of Mickey Spades (I was a little disappointed, as I had been hoping Matt would give him a hard time).  
Warm weather (notice the short sleeves and meager snow) punctuated the day
The hike was in sad condition with little to no snow cover on the trail.  I found myself wondering what had happened to all of the snow we encountered last weekend at Waterville?  The lack of cover had us carrying our skis from the parking lot to the summit of the mountain and we were only able to put our skis on for the skin across the mountain to the ski area and the descent of the ski area. 
Matt and Mickey at the top (Doesn’t Mickey look like a storm trooper with his white boots and  jacket?)
Overall it a was a great day, with great weather, and lots of laughs (not all of them at Mickey Spades’ expense).  Mickey did a decent job of skiing and neither hurt himself nor anyone else (Doug’s defensive skiing lesson paid off).  Ina addition to Mickey’s first slackcountry ski day, we managed to get Matt out for a day, which is always a good time.

I’ll leave you with a montage of Mickey’s first Tecumseh descent: 

Mickey getting psyched
Mickey in no hurry to get moving
Mickey looking solid…at least for a moment or two
Mickey feeling a little confident after surviving the ‘hard’ part
Tim is always supportive  
Is that Mickey looking confident?  Well not falling at least