One run can serve up frozen peas, corn, sugar, mashed potatoes, and some slush to wash it all down. That is a meal to be served with warm sunshine, fun events, music, and maybe a soda, or six.
Fantastic Spring Skiing is the special on the menus of all the mountains around New England for this weekend.
Later this week I will get a blog entry together on ski country happenings across New England for the rest of the spring. For now though, a quick review of what I found this past weekend.
Spread Eagles everywhere at Attitash!
Attitash, NH: Saturday was the day to play. The mountain had a ton of things going on. People littered the decks of the main base lodge. Everyone was enjoying the day, the setting, one another, and the abundant sunshine. There were two main events. The 3rd Annual Spread Eagle World Championships and there 14th running of the Snow Golf tournament (I got some early season swings in, more on this in a bit).
Wildcat, NH: Sunday was a day to ski, Bluebird skies all afternoon! It was a complete contrast to the hustle and bustle of my previous day on the slopes. The Cat offered a leisurely day of peace and quiet. The sun came out in force around noon; temperatures climbed towards 50, the skiing became therapeutic to say the least. Wildcat allowed me the time to accept that days of powder are a memory (until next season). I accepted the change and welcomed spring in with catlike style devouring all the varied types of spring conditions one can find.
At Attitash I participated in their annual Snow Golf Tournament. These folks are serious. It is a downhill 9-hole course which was put together by the grooming team on the Spillway trail. The rules were simple. Costumes required, scramble format, skis must stay on, anything else goes…
Note: Snowboarders were allowed to have one foot out while swinging the club, some argued that is was easier for them.
I ran into immediate mental problems as I stood on the first tee with my eight-iron in hand. You cannot pivot your foot with a ski on. Lots of arm swing = lots of laterals. I did advance a few down the slope in the general direction of the flagstick. Still, most of my swings sent golf balls into the woods. As embarrassing as it was, I must write that it was dangerous to be anywhere except directly behind me.
The S.G. making a swing on the 6th tee
In fact the only good shot I hit all morning was a recovery from way down at the bottom of a huge pile of man made snow. My team was off the trail, in the woods, and I found myself lining up my shot next to some snowmaking pipes (the rest of the team did not climb down there, they had faith). Not only did I get the ball airborne, it came to a rest on the green (in regulation – group makes par). Just like my real game on grass surfaces, ughhh. Maybe fishing will be better for me this summer…
In the afternoon I took a few runs on my own. It was fun, but what I really wanted was the Spread Eagle World Championships! It was also Retro weekend at Attitash. Think lots of 80’s looks – day glo, denim, one piece suits…all awesome!
The Spread Eagle Championships is an Old School ski jumping event with all old school rules. Meaning that landing switch, grabs, or anything else park related actually would knock points off of your score. Competitors were of all ages (youngest 5 years old). Everyone was having a blast in the sun on the big hits that located in the center of the resorts base area.
Great times – taking in on the snow events like this are a fun way to work on your tan this spring.
I hate to rush on Sundays. Just about the only thing that will really get me going full steam early on any Sunday would be a huge powder day. So, that considered, Wildcat was perfect for spring skiing this past Sunday afternoon.
The S.G. managed to pull everything together (after a night at the Red Parkah) and arrived at the dirt parking lot (already showing the sign of mud season) around 10:30 am. Meow – got a front row spot, nice start.
Entered the lodge, which is a very cool structure in it own right, and had my choice of table at which to boot up. I was excited because the seat in the far corner, by the windows that look up towards Tuckerman’s (where I always try to sit), was open and clean.
Tangent: Does anyone else have rituals while visiting certain areas? You may and not even realize. It dawned on me that I always seem to aim for the same spots in the lodges. This is similar to skiing on the terrain that you become familiar with. It is a good comfortable way to start your day.
So I got my spot. Ordered a freshly made breakfast sandwich and took my time getting the boots on while listening to the sixties station the lodge was playing through the speakers. Very Soothing…
Bar opens at 11 am, but the slopes beckoned…
I caught up with a friend and we rode the Wildcat Express (high speed quad) to the summit all day. It started off a bit cloudy but by noon the sun was roaring. The snow quickly went from fast and hard to soft and loose. It was fantastic. Plus the mountain picked up a couple of fresh inches the night before. It did not do much of anything for the skiing, but aesthetically it made for some great scenery.
The views are what Wildcat does best, besides offering classic New England terrain. At the top while making runs one could smell the snap running through the evergreens while sneaking peaks up at Mount Washington.
The trail count was limited to those with snowmaking. But it really did not matter. There were about a half dozen runs in outstanding spring shape. The snow surface reacted wonderfully to the sunshine and warm air. Everything was soft. Bumps and piles of corn snow were the toys of choice.
Like always I fell into a left/right pattern off of the top of the lift and by three o’clock I had covered the place. The legs were getting tired. Skiing in spring conditions can be difficult. You need to work and stay on top of your game. Get lazy and it is easy to catch an edge up in the soft snow.
Took some personal time on the decks in the sun before making the easy drive back to Boston. A perfect Spring Day in the books.
No explanation needed for this view from Wildcat
My takeaways on spending a weekend skiing in New Hampshire
• People there are mainly from NH, MA & RI. Some of you may like this.
• The topography in the Mount Washington Valley area is outstanding.
• The drive is not difficult, approximately 3 hours each way.
• People up there have fun.
• People up there seem to only care about having fun.
• I wish they got more snow out of last weekend’s storm.
• What they do have is fine spring skiing for the weekend ahead.
• It is going fast though, get there soon.
GO skiing this weekend. New England has prime Spring Conditions. Take advantage of them while they last.
Spring Skiing is wonderful,
photos ~ S.G.