2018/2019 Ski Day 8: Loon

About a week after a soaking r@!n, a hard freeze, a half dozen inches of new snow, and a little grooming, the runs at Loon were fast and firm. Biggest day of the year so far. But the Achilles tendon is still a bit sore…

2018/2019 Ski Day 7: Burke Mountain

My second day at Burke Mountain was a true powder day: almost two feet had fallen overnight, and conditions were as challenging as anything I’ve ever faced. I am not a great powder skier…

A little over half way down the first run down, just as I was thinking I might be getting the hang of deep powder, I caught an inside edge and went head over heels. For the first time in three years I lost both skis. And it took a little too long for the second binding to pop; I had enough time to think, “Oh man, that ski should have been off by now. My knee! My ankle!” Knee and ankle seemed to come out OK, but later I realized my Achilles tendon had been strained.

With the powder and the injury I took things very slowly the rest of the day, which ended up being the lightest of the season (so far).

Wind turbine at the summit

2018/2019 Ski Day 5: Sunday River

Another day at the River. This time, on the third straight day of falling snow, and a purported 100% open terrain.

I drove up the night before and was on the hill for opening. I chose the Gondola, which was delayed for 10 minutes late after the first cabin bottomed out on a thick layer of ice leaving the base terminal. After a quick diagnosis and a few whacks at said ice I was aboard the second cabin and headed to North Peak.

First run was down Paradigm into the Aurora pod where I discovered… the Aurora lift on wind hold. So much for 100% open… On the way out, up the Quantum Leap triple, I saw the Quantum Leap trail with more snow than I’ve ever seen — where were the rocks, trees, and grass that, essentially, define this trail? Somewhere beneath the snowmaking whales and fresh powder. So the second run, of course, was down QL. It skied great!

Next over to Spruce Peak. Headed right off the lift, saw that Downdraft roped off (again, so much for 100%…), and set my sights on American Express. Fresh, deep snow most of the way down.

Then to Barker. On the ride up, I saw that Southpaw, Agony, and Top Gun were all open (three for three better than two weeks ago).

Decision time: Top Gun or Agony?

Top Gun was insanely great, and ridiculously challenging. Deep powder is not my thing, so I made the most of the opportunity to practice. It was tough going on the steeps — the focus on keeping my tips up led me to put my weight too far back — but on the gentler sections I got the speed I needed to float.

After lunch I headed back to Spruce Peak and saw the Downdraft line had dropped. After I skated up to it I saw that Sirius was open, which meant that the entire Aurora pod was accessible, with just a little uphill travel. Uphill I went.

Aurora pod junction

So few people had made this trek that even after lunch the trails were essentially untracked. Airglow was magnificent.

The next lap (after two lift rides to ladder back to Spruce Peak), it was Downdraft’s turn.

On Downdraft

Another stellar run.

I finished the day with a few laps off of the Barker Mountain Express, which I rode until closing.