Sunday, January 9, 2011
Gore Mountain: 01/08 and 01/09/2011
Sometime on Thursday, a collective "Yessssssss!!!!" could be heard from skiers around the region as weather models indicated an increasingly higher likelihood of a significant snowfall that would finally benefit our region. Snow began falling Friday morning, and by noon Lapland Lake (in the bullseye) reported in with 8 inches. By late afternoon Gore recorded 4 to 5 inches, with more expected through the night. Since Daniel had his first day of Mountain Adventure at Gore Saturday morning, there was never any question about where we were going.
We got Daniel checked in for his program by 9:15 and were skiing a short while later. On our first couple runs down the front of the mountain we found great cut-up powder on Showcase and Twister. Skiing the very edges of these trails yielded shin-deep powder turns. Snow guns that must have been blowing through the storm on Twister produced an odd blend of manmade and natural snow that didn't ski nearly as well as the natural conditions on Showcase, so we didn't return to that trail.
Up top, there were fun lines of soft powder bumps on trails like Lower Darby, but there were also steeper sections that had already been scraped to very firm hardpack, and we returned to the lower mountain for more great runs on Showcase, Wild Air and Sunway before picking up Daniel at noon.
The three of us skied a couple more lower mountain runs and then headed back up to the summit. Another skier recommended Hawkeye, which we had avoided earlier due to snowmaking. But unlike Twister, the blend of manmade and natural snow on Hawkeye combined to turn the run into fun, challenging moguls and snowmaking whales. There were some scraped sections, but they seemed more easily avoided than what we found on trails like Lower Darby earlier. We also found good snow on Headwaters, but Daniel and I were drawn back to Hawkeye for one more run before heading down.
After skiing from 9:15 to just about 4pm I'm pretty sore, but I'm probably not the only one... powderhounds were out in full force today enjoying the new snow, though the mountain was never crowded. Gore reported 11 inches from the storm. That seems a bit high to me, but I'll go with their number.
Sunday, January 9
We knew wind would be an issue, and when we unloaded at the top of the gondola we were engulfed in a ground blizzard. Fortunately, it was really only in the few typically wind-exposed spots on the mountain where the wind was much of an issue. On the trails, the bright sun seemed to negate the effects of any breeze.
We had really enjoyed the lower mountain runs yesterday, and spent a good portion of the day on trails like Showcase and Wild Air. The previous night's grooming on those trails made for consistently excellent packed powder conditions that don't really get much nicer than today. If pushed to pick a favorite, I'd probably have to go with Showcase.
I had skied Uncas yesterday and really enjoyed the bumps that formed there. It had been groomed out overnight and was a bit firm in spots today, but still edgeable. Uncas is one of those trails that I think is underappreciated: it's got a consistent pitch that makes a nice alternative to Pine Knot or a destination in itself, especially if one skies the left fork back to the Topridge lift.
The new snow gave us our best skiing weekend so far this season, and has everyone looking forward to more. Even with Friday's nice snowfall, we're still a storm or two away from being able to ski in the woods and glades. That's something I'm really looking forward to.