Normally I would avoid going skiing over the holiday weeks at most ski areas, but it seem that I have been missing out on some good skiing opportunities over the past few years because of that attitude.
First of all the Christmas holiday is early in the winter season and with the way the weather trends have been there has been little snow in the in the forecasts but there is skiing in the mountains. Thank god for snow making, which has been improving in leaps and bounds over the past years to give us a great snow quality to ski on.
I sort have gotten off the beaten track with regard the title of Christmas presents so I will tell you a little more about that.
My grandson AJ, who I mentioned in an earlier blog post has been begging for ski stuff for Christmas. Well he got the mother load with a new Scott Jacket and, Gortex Marker pants,( I’ve never had Gortex anything!) ski lock, Scott goggles and other little ditties to complete the package. Granted he is skiing on my skis and using my boots which he keeps reminding me to get new stuff so he can have my not quite as old gear.
So Thursday morning we left at 6:30 to get to Gore and hopefully beat the crowd, when we got to the mountain there was a line of cars driving up to the access road but we were the first 30 cars in the lot, and as the day progressed it turned out not to be that crowded at all.
We were at the Northwoods Gondola at 8:30 with no lift line at all; as the day progressed the lift line grew to no more than 2 minutes. A quick ride up to the top of Bear Mountain and down Foxlair to Sunway for a warm-up run. We basically had the run to ourselves. So a fashion photo was taken of the new gear. Our second run we decided to take Ruby Run and do a little pushing (there’s a little flat spot and you need to pick up some speed to make it!) to get to the Saddle Lodge area so we could ski Showcase. Again, there were very few people on the trail. After the pushing we decided to take the Adirondack Express Quad at the bottom of Showcase which avoids Ruby Run and Foxlair. If there is no wind, the quad is a viable alternate to the gondola when it gets crowded.
To my surprise the North Quad was running so we took a couple runs down Sleeping Bear which is a tighter trail than most on the mountain and fun to ski. Then we decided to take a run down towards the Topridge triple to check out Hawkeye, now AJ is a very careful skier and doesn’t like to ski double diamond or even single diamond ( not that he can’t do it). Skiing down Pine Knot to get to the triple, we encountered snow making whales that were created probably the night before. The conditions on that trail were great but the trail instead of being a blue intermediate trail became a black diamond. AJ handled it really nice. I am not sure what his apprehension is?
We never got up to the top of Gore mountain but we did have some great runs and as the day progressed it did get crowded on Wild Air and Showcase due to the lack of trail choices so we switched to Quicksilver which is a trail that is less traveled of off Sunway.
My favorite trail at Gore, Twister was not open as yet and the snow guns were blasting all day long I am sure to get ready for this weekend. When on Sunday there will be a demo day.
The only problem we encountered on the mountain was that no-one adheres to the skier code anymore especially when passing someone. How hard is it to announce that they are going to pass you? The skier ahead of you has the right of way. This is not a singled out problem at Gore but happens everywhere. It certainly is less of a problem on wider trails and less popular trails so when you pick the trails that you want to ski. be selective if you want to avoid the passing skiers. I can’t wait till we get more natural snow so the entire mountain will be opened which spreads out the people and gives you many choices of trails to ski.
For AJ’s first day out, we were both tired by 2:30 and decided to quit. It was a great first day for him.
photo by Mike Roth