Sunday, March 11, 2012
Gore Mountain: 03/10/2012
It’s amazing what a strong March sun can do to snow, even with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark all day. In typical fashion for this winter, the foot of snow that fell 10 days ago was followed by a couple of 50-degree days, rain, and then a flash freeze. The last part of that equation left me fearing we’d be left with rock-hard, boilerplate surfaces today. What a pleasant surprise it was to find instead that the strong March sun quickly softened surfaces everywhere into spring conditions, even at the summit.
Beth had commitments at home today, so it was just Daniel and me. We hit the summit trails early: Hawkeye, Open Pit and Lies. Our favorite was Lies, with soft snow and some small moguls forming by mid-morning. As a sign of advancing spring conditions on the mountain, there were obstacles poking through the top of the headwall section, particularly on skier’s left. Open Pit and Hawkeye also featured nice, soft snow, and Hawkeye also had some obstacles marked on its headwall section.
Because the air remained cool all day, north-facing trails like Tahawus that were sheltered from the sun retained much colder, dry snow. Grooming and the inch of snow that had fallen overnight put these trails into very skiable condition, much more like mid-winter. None of the glades were officially open, and the few times that we investigated the tree skiing it appeared too firm to be considered good.
I said that Lies was our favorite summit trail, but after lunch we headed over to Burnt Ridge, and both Sagamore and Echo were in excellent shape, and were our picks for the day. The flatter, upper sections of these trails were dry and cold, but the lower and steeper pitches – angled into the sun – were soft, fun spring snow. I don’t shoot much video while I’m skiing, but here’s a short clip of Daniel and some other skiers at the top of Echo:
Sylvie had a big day too: her first-ever ride up the gondola to ski Ruby Run and Sunway.
I’m sure that Sunday brought spring conditions to the mountain in full force. With warm temperatures and no return of winter weather in the forecast, I think it will be a struggle for most ski areas, including Gore, to make April 1 this year. I’ve got 30 days in this year, plus a few more that are essentially guaranteed for later this week, so I’ve got no complaints whatever happens.