* * REVISED TO ADD SUNDAY 2/26 * *
What a difference a half foot of new snow makes. In addition to re-surfacing the entire mountain, the new snow over the past couple days has allowed Gore to expand the trail count to near 100%, notable exceptions being the Ski Bowl and a few glades. With soft surfaces just about everywhere, a full trail count, and the woods finally fully in play, this weekend was perhaps the nicest of the season to date.
The departing storm Saturday morning left on-and-off light snow in its wake. I was concerned that high winds would affect lift operations, particularly the gondola, but fortunately the only lift closure was the Topridge Chair, which shut down sometime late in the morning. Sunday was absolutely picture perfect: winds died down, temperatures were cool but not frigid, and visibility was unlimited under deep blue skies.
This weekend was our first real opportunity to ski many of the glades, so we spent quite a bit of both days in some of our favorites, including the Straightbrook and Chatiemac Glades, Darby Woods and Darkside Glades, Tahawus Glade, Mineshaft, the Cave and other tree runs. Skiing around the mountain on Saturday, it became apparent that ski patrol had dropped the ropes on even more trails than the morning snow report had shown. By Sunday it was “official” and the snow report showed just about everything open. Even Rumor opened (on natural snow only) from below the headwall – a real surprise since snowmaking operations are essentially over and skiers have had to make peace with the fact that 11-12 will be a Rumor-less year… almost.
Though the glades were our real focus for much of the weekend, the trails skied nicely too, including Hawkeye and Open Pit at the summit, and Twister and Wild Air on the lower mountain. For the first time in quite a while I didn’t ski Lies, but I imagine it was in good shape as well. I also didn’t get over to Rumor, so either we’ll get enough additional snow that it’ll continue to be open for another weekend or two, or I’ll just have to wait until next year. Without snowmaking, Rumor simply won’t be a spring skiing option.
Saturday was also something of a landmark day for 4-year-old Sylvie: she rode her first chairlift and skied the Jamboree trail twice. Her snowplow is solid, and I wouldn't be surprised if we take her up in the gondola to ski Ruby Run and Sunway before the season is over. She's going to do great in Mountain Adventure next year.
I’d be stretching the truth if I said that this weekend made up for the lack of cold temperatures and snow that we’ve endured all winter, but we’re at least heading in the right direction. If we can catch another break or two, the tail end of the season may produce the best skiing we’ve had all winter.