Maybe it’s the couple inches of snow that fell Saturday night. Maybe Gore’s wooded trails hold the snow a little better than Whiteface’s wider, steeper trails. Maybe it’s just being at my home mountain where I know the terrain better. Whatever the reason, the skiing at Gore on Sunday was a notch better than the day before at Whiteface. And for at least the third or fourth time this winter, I‘m declaring Sunday one of the best ski days of the year.
Crowds were light by weekend standards. The gondola was virtually walk-on all day, even though I guess we only rode it two or three times. Snow conditions were excellent, with powder and packed powder surfaces. As is usually the case, the best snow could be found in select glade locations, with some untracked lines remaining well into the afternoon.
Great snow could also be found in places you wouldn't usually expect, like in the trees between Wild Air and Chatterbox. Enough snow has accumulated that the boundary between the two has been erased or at least muted, offering fresh tracks right next to one of the most heavily travelled trails on the mountain.
Most of our time was spent on the upper mountain, and most of that was in various glades. Popular glades like the Cave and Twister Glades had been skied hard and were even scraped down in the usual choke points, but other locations like Mineshaft and Darkside Glades held great snow all day.
At one point we skied all the way back down to the base via Twister Glades, which exit onto the Echo trail. The return from Echo to the base always entails at least some double poling, skating or walking, but the trek was made worse by racing on Twister that required an uphill detour around the back of the triple chair. The contrast of having skied at Whiteface the day before, coupled with that detour at the bottom of Echo / Twister, reinforced my opinion that Gore needs to find ways to improve skier flow between Burnt Ridge, the Ski Bowl, and the rest of the mountain.
Back on the upper mountain, we employed one of our family skiing strategies and separated for several runs mid-afternoon so that Daniel and I could explore some more glades while Beth skied other trails. Thanks go out to Derek, Bill and the rest of the group that "adopted" Daniel and me for a couple of great tree runs before we re-joined Beth.
It's too bad that Monday's weather will bring various forms of non-frozen precipitation to the mountains of the northeast, but reports from North Creek as of Monday evening suggest that less rain fell than expected and mostly served to consolidate the base without inflicting too much damage. Let's hope that winter weather makes another push or two into the Adirondacks with more snow before we eventually begin the transition to spring skiing. When the skiing is as good as it has been for much of this winter, a guy like me just wants more.