Last October, I was on a bouldering trip in the sandstone belt for the monster snowstorm that ripped through the Northeast. While sitting around the campfire, my phone exploded with texts from friends letting me know that I was missing “epic” conditions. While it pained me to miss out on a few good days on the hill, I did not let it bother me too much, knowing that there was still a full ski season ahead of me filled with powder days and “epic” conditions. Had I only known that I was missing out on the only real storm of the season, I may have been tempted to jump in the car and head home.
With the previous ski season being so disappointing, it seems this year there is a lot of additional energy heading into the season. From the moment the weather began to get cold, I have heard rumblings of trips being planned, heard talk of gear being bought, and seen skis being tuned. Over the last few weeks, I have watched the weather with the intensity of a meteorologist tracking storms hopeful for some natural snow and overnight temperatures in anticipation of snow making. For the last two weeks, I have made repeated attempts up to Mount Wachusett optimistic I would find a patch of snow long enough to justify me getting my skis.
Today my persistence was rewarded as I discovered Mount Wachusett had two runs suitable for skiing. Both Challenger and Ralph’s Run had enough snow coverage to make skiing them plausible. I was stoked to say the least. Currently, Wachusett is planning on opening on Saturday, but I’ve already had the unofficial start of ski season. Sure it was far from epic conditions (think bare patches and grass poking though), and most likely in a month I will have forgotten all about these early days, but for the moment I am happy just to milk what I can out of the mountain. With enough snow on the ground for skiing and cold nights ahead (plenty of opportunity to make more snow) it looks like ski season has finally arrived.
This year, I was happy to be one of the first people from our group to earn some turns. I feel like I am making up a little for missing out last year, even if I did not get in on a first-day-of-the-season powder day. I think the lesson I learned last season was that winter is fleeting and ski season in New England can mean a lot of things. This season, I am all about getting out and squeezing every last drop of skiing out of winter.