Back At It

Doug halfway through the first run of the day 

Thanks to the recent snowfall I have been able to leave behind the skin and skis at Mount Wachusett, and the hiking up of Mount Wachusett’s backside, in favor of the solitude and the pow of the ‘The Stash.’  While I greatly enjoyed my forays to Mount Wachusett, I am really appreciating the different location, scenery, and vibe that the ‘Stash’ provides.

Don’t let the bare summit fool you – there is plenty of snow

Unlike Mount Wachusett, the ‘Stash’ does not have designated hiking trails, nor does it have marked trails.  Instead it has some obvious skiable lines and some less obvious lines.  How you get to the top is your choice: do you want to go a little farther but a little less steep?  Or do you prefer a little more direct but a little steeper?  The decision is yours.  Having done some research on this I often choose to go a little farther and avoid the steeper sections, finding it a little faster and leaving my legs feeling a little fresher for the descent.  However, the lines from the top can be hidden and hiking up them will reveal the entrance to the ‘Stash’s’ more subtle lines.

Lib Tech Skate Banana and MSR Snowshoes see a lot of use at the ‘Stash’

The real joy of the ‘Stash’ is found on the descent.  The ‘Stash’ has no lifts and no lines.  More often than not my car is the only one in the parking lot.  If there is another car in the lot they are often there to ski with me.  It is a beautiful thing to sit back and enjoy the pure joy of riding without worrying about someone coming up behind you, cutting you off, or parking themselves in the middle of the trail.  It is just you and the riding; no other people, and no distractions.

Doug in the trees

Which brings me to this: there are also no groomers.  You better be on your A game at the ‘Stash’ because there are no give-me’s and you need to have your guard up at all times.  No grooming means no one has marked out bare spots or rocks for you.  If you do not want to trash your board or skis, you better be paying attention because hazards lurk everywhere.  In fact, if we have not gotten lots of consistent snow it is probably best to leave your prized skis/board at home because odds are you are going to hit something and that something will take a piece of your beloved skis/snowboard out of it.  Also, there are no wide open trails.  The trails are punctuated with small trees and undergrowth.  You find yourself constantly swerving in and out of small trees and often getting way back and going over the smaller fauna.

Doug on the lower chute

Lastly, the ‘Stash’ gives back to you what you are willing to give it.  You earn everything at the ‘Stash’ and I have seen very good riders get worked very quickly there.  For every foot you ski, you hike.  Good skiers/riders find that their riding suffers from the hike, which takes the energy from their legs before the skiing/riding even begins.  Furthermore, the ‘Stash’ provides nothing easy; the variable terrain can eat up the most accomplished skier in short time.

Doug at the ‘Stash’

I love the back country.  I especially love how it rewards effort and keeps the crowds at bay.  Most people would prefer to sit in line waiting for the lift for thirty minutes, rather than hike thirty minutes for supremely good runs and that’s the way I like it.  Enjoy the resorts everyone, I will be out there earning my turns.

Doug at the base contemplating one more run