by Amy Patenaude
Yes, I went skiing four days in a row.
Why not keep skiing until the snow has all melted away. As I sit here and write the weather forecast is warning me of another Nor’easter! Really? I can’t believe it. I don’t even dare express my glee. I know I am in the minority. Nearly everyone is ready for full blown spring—flowers, green grass, warm temperatures, but not me. I’m still have too much fun skiing.
Thursday: Night Skiing At Pats Peak
Becca, Jeremy and I met up to enjoy the last Thursday night of the season at Pats Peak. The Sun was still shining and the slopes were covered from edge to edge with lots of snow. We rode the Hurricane triple chair together.
At the summit we stopped to admire the Peak double chair and we knew we wouldn’t be riding it ever again. This summer the old reliable lift will be removed and replaced with a lift that will carry more people to the summit per hour—a quad-chair with a loading carpet.
We skied all the trails from the top except the Hurricane. We timed it just right arriving at the summit to join a dozen others waiting to watch the sunset. We stood near the top of Twister and the FIS trail. We looked west and watched the sun sink quickly behind the hills just to the south of Lovewell Mountain. The sky was gold and red.
Friday: Racing at Sunapee
Mount Sunapee’s 20th annual TGIF’s April Fools race is dedicated to remembering our friends Mark Parris and Rick Hall. These young men left us too soon but they both loved skiing and they liked to have fun. We shared fond memories and had fun in their honor.
I arrived mid-morning and I joined up with my friend Doug’s alma-mater skiing group—Norwich University! Doug and his dozen or so classmates are really top notch skiers. I am not kidding we did more than ten runs, raced two runs and then skied another twenty runs.
These men came to ski. Of course the weather was not much like spring, it was cloudy and snowing. As the day went on the new snow accumulated and we were turning on skis on several inches of soft wonderful powder. No wonder no one wanted to stop.
Apres ski in the Spruce lodge’s Goosefeathers Pub there were awards and beverages. There are a lot of fast skiers a lot younger than me now and I guess that’s what happens in 20 years. Happy to see the traditions of classmates and fellow citizen racers continue and I plan on being here in another 20 years.
Saturday: Mittersill Fun At Cannon
Cannon had a packed house on Saturday. New snow and Bodefest had the skiers and snowboarders arriving at the mountain early. The main parking lots were full and thanks to cell phones I was able to call Becca and tell her I was parked at Mittersill.
Becca arrived early and following the uphill policy of Cannon she skinned up the ski trail route to the 4,000 foot summit of the mountain. Then she enjoyed a nice ride down the mountain that she had earned with her own feet.
We met at the Mittersill chairlift and we did eight runs but we mostly skied in the glades. There is a lot of snow on the groomed trails but there is a lot of snow in the trees too. We found lots of fresh snow too. Idiot’s Delight (I have no idea why this glade is named that) was super soft and it was fun winding down the mountain between the trees.
Then we went to the summit for a couple runs. The clouds were thick above three thousand feet and this made the visibility difficult. So back to Mittersill we went for the best light and snow.
Sunday: Family Skiing At Loon Mountain
On Saturday night our niece’s husband, Mike and their three daughters arrived to spend the night. Mike also brought along his friend Kevin with his two daughters. They drove up I-93 all the way from Boston. Loon and Cannon are their favorite choices for a day outing because it is an easy drive.
They made a big supper on the barbeque, beer can chicken. The chicken was moist and yummy and a big salad and other fixings. Then everyone was off to bed early in preparation for getting up early to ski Loon.
Skiing with these kids is fun, they love skiing and their skills improve each time they get out on the snow. There is a lot of laughter and hustling in the lift line to ride with their favorite pal. Kevin skied with his four year old on the 7 brothers lift, green circle trails near the base of the Octagon Lodge. Mike and I took turns being the sweep behind the gang of children that increased during the day. Mike kept meeting friends from Boston on the slopes and we all skied together.
We rode the gondola up and then skied down to the horizontal chair lift, the Tote Road Quad, which connects South Peak to the rest of the ski area. This lift is a favorite of children. People ride the lift in both directions and riders are facing one another as the chairs pass by as the cable moves along. The kids yell in unison, “Mustard or Ketchup?” “Cake or Ice Cream?” The approaching riders on the other side of the lift answer back, more often than not, loudly with their favorite choice.
This was the last weekend that South Peak would be open, not for lack of snow it would be closed. Loon was pleasantly full of skiers and riders but it was more like a nice weekday than a busy weekend. There were little to no lift lines and just a short wait for the gondola.
We enjoyed it all. From North Peak’s Walking Boss glades to Cruiser on South Peak and everything in between. The sun warmed us and the blue sky and the views of grand mountain peaks were endless. Truly a perfect day to take the children skiing. We even had our choice of tables when we went in for lunch. The luxury of Spring skiing shouldn’t be missed.
But, but, but April is AWESOME. April has longer and warmer sunny days and the slopes and mountains are still heavily blanketed with nice snow. This is the last weekend for Waterville Valley. Cannon and Loon’s proposed closing date is the 16th and Bretton Woods’ the 17th. Wildcat hopes to hang in there until the 30th.