You Missed Out

Perfect unbroken path on the Sosman Trail

I am so sick about hearing how bad this winter has been.  I know that following a couple of banner winters this season pales in comparison, but really has it been as bad as everyone has made it out to be?  The daily drone of shoppers and employees alike is how winter has never really shown up.  Some people seem to rejoice over this while others pine away over the lost season.  The constant chatter around the shop for the majority of winter has been, “when winter will arrive?”  This talk was eventually replaced by, “will winter arrive at all?”  I argue that winter has been there all along; you just needed to look for it a little.

Ashley on her first earn your turns outing

I think the majority of us in the northeast can agree that this past winter will not be one you will be recounting in the future.  Many of our favorite haunts never saw enough snow to ski, and many projects on the “to do” list never seemed to take shape.  For example, I was never able to ski a day at “The Stash” this season.  I can count on a single hand the amount of times I was able to skin from the parking lot to Mount Wachusett’s summit.  A few weeks ago Doug, Mickey Spades, and I abandoned an attempt to ski Mount Garfield due to a total lack of snow (ironically, we drove south to Mount Tecumseh to discover an abundance of snow).  On my only trip to Mount Moosilauke this season the conditions could generously be called boilerplate, and more aptly described as ice.

Icy conditions on Moosilauke’s summit ridge

However, despite the challenges I still feel as if I eked out a pretty good winter.  The sad state of the backcountry allowed me more time to enjoy resort skiing with my girlfriend (she seemed to enjoy the quality time) as she learned how to snowboard.  Spending a good deal of time at the resort prompted me to learn how to alpine ski, something I do not think I would have done if I was busy with backcountry objectives.  The best part about skiing lift served this season was that nobody was at the resorts. 

Ashley enjoying the solitude at Mount Wachusett

The “back yard effect” was very real this season. Whether it was Wachusett or up north, Wednesday or Saturday, I skied lift to lift all season.  The second best part about the resorts this season is that it was cold enough to make snow; most resorts hovered around 100 percent open for the bulk of the season.  Furthermore, it was warm enough that there weren’t many days spent shivering on the lift, and once the sun appeared the snow seemed to perfectly soften every day. 

Luke earning his turns at Wachusett in early November

In addition to having great lift served runs for the bulk of the season, I also had a couple one-in-a-million days.  For instance, being able to hike and snowboard Wachusett top to bottom six weeks before the mountain opened was a fun anomaly this season.  I also had the mildest day I have ever experienced on Mount Washington this January.  It was warm enough on Mount Washington that we hung around on the summit for about forty five minutes, half of which I did not even bother to put a puffy on for. 

Mark ascending next to the cog on a bluebird day
So for those of you that have been waiting for winter the last few months, sorry you missed out.  While this winter hasn’t been one for the record books, in reality it hasn’t been that bad.   Rather, on some days it has actaully been pretty good. 
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