Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mount Van Hoevenberg XC: 01/17/2011

I was having second thoughts as we pulled into the Mount Van Hoevenberg parking lot a little after 9am on Monday. The temperature in Lake Placid was minus 16 and hadn’t budged a bit on the short drive over. I had visions of not being able to warm up all day, while skiing snow that would have the sliding qualities of beach sand. It seemed I wasn’t the only one with second thoughts, as there were only four or five other cars in the lot. The short but very chilly walk from the car to the lodge did little to improve my outlook.

Perfect grooming

We took our time gearing up, and by the time we went back out to begin skiing it actually felt… pleasant. The temperature hadn’t climbed more than a couple degrees, but bright sun, no wind and the proper clothing made all the difference. And the snow actually skied quite well, especially in areas where the sun hit the snow and warmed it ever-so-slightly.

Hi-Notch trail, a new favorite

The trail system at Mount Van Hoevenberg is divided into two halves: the Stadium side and the Biathlon side. Most of the trails that we prefer skiing – the Ladies’ 5K, East Mountain Loop, Porter Mountain Loops – are all on the Stadium side of the trail network, and that is where we did most of our skiing. Those trails are also part of the Loppet course, which Beth plans to race in early February.

Settled snow in the woods was a foot and a half

We had intended to ski several short (5K-ish) loops, going inside to warm up between loops, but the skiing was great and the cold ended up being a non-issue, so we stayed out until our lunch break. After lunch we went out for a couple more short loops to bring the day in at around 20K. With plenty of snow (around a foot and a half on the ground), excellent grooming and bright sun, I was glad I hadn't let a little arctic bite scare me away.

Cascade Mountain

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