Monday, March 28, 2011
Gore Mountain: 03/27/2011
Spring is currently on hold at Gore Mountain, with conditions today that felt more like mid-February than late March. There were no complaints from skiers though: bright blue skies and great snow put a smile on just about everybody's face.
We figured that a mid-morning arrival at the mountain might allow the snow to soften up, but we pulled into the lot at 10:30 with temperatures still in the low 20s. It never hit the freezing mark all day, with only the very lowest elevations of the Ski Bowl softening into spring corn snow. Even the mogul field at the bottom of Arena remained firm all day.
But the cold temperatures and snow earlier in the week kept the mountain in great packed powder condition. Some trails were firmer and faster than others, but practially nothing was scraped or icy. And there's not a bare spot on the mountain.
Conditions were good off-piste as well, with the best snow in the off-the-map tree runs where there was several inches of powder over a firm base. Though we didn't venture down the Darkside trails or glades, conditions there looked really great with very light skier traffic due to the High Peaks chair being off-line. Tahawus had great snow, and I'd guess that the rest of the North side was excellent too.
Right after lunch at the Saddle Lodge, the three of us trekked over to the new terrain at the Ski Bowl. As a test of the interconnectedness of the Ski Bowl and Burnt Ridge terrain, I timed our traverse down the Pipeline trail. Our time was 15 minutes from the base of the North Quad to the bottom of the ski bowl, not bad considering we had a 7-year-old along and made a few brief stops on the way. Maybe it was the conditions today, or maybe I'm just getting used to the traverse, but the poling and skating through Pipeline's flats seemed easier than the two or three other times I've made the traverse this season.
We really enjoyed the trails at the Ski Bowl today. They are interesting, narrow trails that twist and wind down the 800 vertical feet of the new Hudson Chair. It has been observed many times already but is worth repeating that there is a lot of great looking terrain over there for future expansion and off-piste skiing.
The bottom couple hundred feet of the Ski Bowl actually softened into spring corn snow, at least in sunny aspects, making for some fun turns. And as we made our way back to the main mountain via Burnt Ridge, both Echo and Sagamore seemed to soften just a bit as well, and were some of our best runs of the day.
We must have known of at least 20 friends that were going to be at the mountain today, but I don't know where everyone was. With Gore now spread out over such a large area, and with the mountain still just about 100% open, it's easy not to run into people.
Gore's operating schedule has the mountain open at least through the weekend of April 9 and 10. Based on the amount of snow we saw on the mountain today, that looks like no problem at all. The real question is, will it warm up enough between now and then for some real spring skiing? Our 7-year-old's take on that: "Dad, I don't want winter to end."