Sunday, March 11, 2012

Gore Mountain: 03/10/2012

A beautiful early spring day skiing at Gore - Daniel on the Cloud trail.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

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.

Summit view from Pineknot

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.

Looking down at Bear Mtn. from the summit

Open Pit: spring conditions despite the snow on the trees

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.

Lies - our pick of the day, at least at the summit

Lower mountain trails like Wild Air had good coverage and soft snow

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.

The carving course has been transformed into a bumps course

Plenty warm for the patio at lunchtime

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.

Burnt Ridge was in great shape today

The bumps course got a little crazy, but fun

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