Interesting day. First, the weather: bluebird skies all morning, then dumping snow an inch an hour by early afternoon. Second: got my first taste of the Ski Bowl and its interconnect with the main mountain. More on that later. But best of all, superb snow conditions on the trails and in the woods that made today perhaps my best day on the mountain so far this season.
With Beth in Lake Placid racing the 25K Loppet and Daniel in his 9-to-noon Mountain Adventure program, I was solo in the morning and decided to start the day by exploring the new Barkeater glade at Burnt Ridge.
Just as I arrived at the top of the lift, Ski Patrol dropped the rope for me. It certainly wasn't first tracks - you would have had to be there on Wednesday for that - but it was nice being first down for the day.
Barkeater has an inviting, gentle pitch in its upper section, then steepens in its lower half. Those steeper pitches had already been skied pretty hard and were wearing thin. I suspect within a couple years additional lines will open up, spreading out skier traffic with more options. There's an amazing amount of terrain that looks like it will offer some excellent woods sking over here.
Barkeater eventually dumps out onto the Pipeline trail, not far above the Eagle's Nest trail that leads back to Burnt Ridge. I found Eagle's Nest to be a well-graded trail. No skating or poling was necessary from the bottom of Barkeater down lower Pipeline and Eagle's Nest.
I didn't want to spend the morning checking out the new Ski Bowl terrain, so I headed up to the summit via the Burnt Ridge Quad, North Quad and High Peaks chair, using the Tahawus glade to exit the Burnt Ridge trail pod.
The Barkeater and Tahawus glades work well for integrating Burnt Ridge with the Ski Bowl and with the rest of the mountain. Of course, these glades are natural snow dependent, and are only suitable for more advanced skiers.
Up top, I immediately ran into my long-time skiing friend Derek. With two hours left before Daniel's pick-up time, we had plenty of time to explore the trails, glades and trees of the summit.
This past week's snow has brought the trails and woods at Gore into top condition. Everything skied great. I picked Daniel up at 12:01 and he declared me "an hour late" so I let him choose the afternoon's agenda. His choice: head up top for some more glades, then check out the new Ski Bowl terrain.
Back at Burnt Ridge, we decided upon the Cirque glade, Daniel's first time in. Cirque may be the longest glade at Gore, and it has some challenging pitches. By the time we were down, I could tell that Daniel's stamina was wearing out.
But the lifts were still running, and like his old man Daniel wasn't ready to quit yet, so we finished with a run down Showcase and Lower Sleighride to finish up a very full day. Gotta say I couldn't be more proud of his enthusiasm, attitude and ability. Great day on the mountain.