Butter Cream, Gritz…Crystalline Micro-Pow! These were just a few of the names we gave the snow under our skis while enjoying turns in one of our farming neighbor’s pastures last season. The dust-on-crust conditions from earlier that week had evolved into a surface of dense, crystalline powder that was well bonded to a firm 2-3″ base – and we had stumbled upon perfect conditions for ripping lower angle pastures. Someone counted off ten runs during our sunset session. Two thousand vertical. Cool.
Our pasture session was just the latest in a string of skiing adventures shaped by the especially thin-cover conditions prevailing in Northeast US last season. And while the snowpack remained stubbornly thin and the deep stuff was in short supply, it was by so many measures just another wonderful ski season – albeit one that forced us to be more creative than usual, to scramble when even a few snowflakes started to fly, and to slow down and simply enjoy what we had to work with.
Here are a few images to share that illustrate the thin cover therapy we endured:
SNOWvember came through with just enough white stuff to brighten up stick season, but DEEPcember took its merry old time turning on. When it finally did, however, we were there:
DEEPcember lasted about two days. Several cycles of warm rain and frigid temps followed. It was a good time to dream about the Alps again…
…or embark on a few pedal-powered pasture sessions close to home in Vermont.
By late January, however, Old Man Winter began to have mercy on us, and while he continued to leave most valleys starved for snow, he put down a respectable blanket of snow at higher elevations. With some extra effort and care, we spent most of February exploring and sliding into many of our favorite mid-to-high elevation backcountry lines.
The most therapeutic snowfall of the year (topping 40″ in 24 hrs in areas of Vermont) ushered us into March.
…but just as we thought March would follow through with its usual round of monster storms, Spring gave the Old Man a swift kick in the ass. By the second week of March, most of our snowpack had vanished. Still, we made the most of spring’s early arrival by connecting the last patches of snow close to home in Vermont, and by heading for our favorite snow-catching alpine lines in the highest peaks of the Northeast.
By early April, however, with hardly a patch of natural snow in sight, we had no choice but to pack up the ski-bikes and head to zee Alps! where it was not so thin and snowed nightly for the first 20 days of the trip. (But that’s another story…)
Here’s to a not-so-thin winter season ahead!