My Private Mountain

You can’t rely on the lifts anymore

For the majority of the winter I have milked Mount Wachusett for all it is worth as a backyard playground.  I have been fortunate enough to ski over seventy days so far this season and probably half of those days were at Mount Wachusett.  Whether it was hiking up the backside, skinning up the trails, or even riding the lifts, I got more than my money’s worth out of my season pass this year.  The only problem I had with Wachusett was that I had to share it with the masses.  The one constant of my season there was no matter how I ascended the mountain, I was always joining the madness of the resort slopes for my descent.

Luke and Katrina skinning up Ralph’s Run

This past Sunday was Mount Wachusett’s last day open for the season, a sad day for many but a great day for some.  This season, the mountain is closing with an abundance of snow on the ground and the trails still in excellent condition.  This means that quality skiing is available to the motivated few willing to skin or hike for runs.  For those willing to earn their turns, they will find spring conditions and solitude at one of the most consistently busy mountains that I have ever visited.

Earning my turns on a rainy Monday

I have visited Mount Wachusett four days out of the past five days since they closed, and the only people I saw there were the mountain’s staff, four other tele skiers, and the two friends I met there on Tuesday.  In addition to being empty, the trails are still offering up character as well, with jumps and bumps on some trails.  The best part is that it doesn’t even feel like poaching the mountain as the staff has been giving me thumbs up as they zip by on their snowmobiles and in the groomers.

Looking down at a vacant parking lot and base lodge

Today one of the mountain’s employees stopped to talk about telemark skiing and ask some questions about skis and boots.  After giving him some suggestions on gear, he pointed us to a trail they had just groomed to get some equipment to the top.  After clueing us in on the good trails, he called down to make sure no one was coming up it.  We thanked him for his effort, then took off to enjoy our own private trail. I have been impressed with the mountain’s continued hospitality, even after they have officially closed.

Luke navigating between bare spots

I am excited for spring to come and anxious to lace up the rock shoes for the season.  Last weekend’s bouldering session started to make the climbing season feel like it has arrived.  However, if conditions stay this good, I think I am going to enjoy my private mountain for as long as I can.