Monday, March 21, 2011
Saturday was my 100th day on skis, which I think is the earliest I have hit this benchmark. That says a lot about the winter we have had. There really have been only a couple of days when I did not want to be out on the mountain. And the good news is that we still have weeks of skiing and riding left.
I never understand why most people hang up their skis and boards after the last weekend in March, since April often is one of the best times to be here. The sun gets warmer and the moguls become soft and après ski in the afternoon sun is heavenly. But I guess many are eager to get on the golf course and think that spring sports take precedence. While we close Mt. Ellen next Sunday because of the fall-off in skier visits, we will keep Lincoln Peak going as long as we can through April and then see whether to go into the first weekend of May as we have in past years.
If you were here last week, you really enjoyed some beautiful days as well as rapidly-changing conditions. St. Patrick's Day on Thursday was marvelous with bright sun and temperatures in the 50's. Our $17 special drew over a thousand celebrants to Mt. Ellen to enjoy the soft snow and green beer. There isn't much that will keep me away from the mountain on a day like Thursday, but my daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby girl so I was in Connecticut that day. I am looking forward to having a fourth grandchild on the slopes soon.
On Friday the weatherman once again tried to scare people away, predicting high winds and rain. The winds early in the morning were indeed ferocious and we started the day with North Lynx, Castlerock and Heaven's Gate on windhold, but in a short time only Heaven's Gate remained on windhold and the sun came out for the rest of the day. It was the second day in a row of bluebird skies and fabulous spring skiing. The warm weather, however, played havoc with the gravel roads and for the first time I can remember the Roxbury Gap road was closed for the weekend because of the deep muddy ruts.
It turned cooler Friday night and the snow set up, so the slopes were very firm early in the day until the sun did its job on some of them. Try as you might in conditions like this, our groomers can do only so much until the trails get skied and the sun does its work. North Lynx was clearly the place to be on Saturday. The marvelous full moon Saturday night was something to behold and John Atkinson guided the Tour de Moon skin up Mt. Ellen, with a ski down in the moonlight.
Sunday also started out with firm snow, but the sun was shining. The Gate House and North Lynx trails let go early and other trails softened up later in the day as the sun got higher in the sky. Even Castlerock and Paradise softened-up late in the day. Our Dummy Big air this year saw eighteen entries. They were all creative and everyone (some with a bit of help) made it over the ramp and got a bit of air. The winner was Zombie Land followed by March of the Penguins and Ship of Fools.
Well, you can say goodbye to spring skiing for a few days. It will look like winter for a while as colder temperatures and snow return through midweek. But the long-range forecast is calling for a nice and partly sunny weekend. It is Pond Skimming weekend, so come and watch me, my marketing director, and a hundred others attempt to get across dry.