Monday, February 11, 2013
Gore Mountain: 02/09 & 02/10/2013
It wasn’t the 2 – 3 feet of snow that fell on coastal New England, but winter storm Nemo brought just enough snow to the southern Adirondacks to provide a nice weekend of powder and packed powder conditions and even put some of the glades back in play.
Family scheduling worked out for me to ski solo on Saturday and with the family on Sunday. Though I didn’t arrive at the mountain early enough Saturday morning to score first tracks, I found lots of nice skied-up powder for soft turns on the trails and some overlooked or very lightly skied lines in the glades and woods.
My first turns in the trees confirmed what I had expected: the 7 or 8 inches of new snow wasn’t quite enough for the steeper glades. The consistency of the new snow – light and dry - was beautiful, but the woods really need a snowfall with a little more durability and density. To Gore’s credit, it appeared that just about all of the glades were officially open: let the skiers decide.
But 8 inches of powder still makes a great ski day, even if the glades weren’t completely online. Just about every trail skied nicely, with soft bumps forming on the black diamonds and skier-packed powder on the greens and blues. I hadn’t spent much time so far this year skiing the Dark Side trails, and it turned out that Lower Steilhang, Hulaballoo and Lower Darby were some of the nicest trails on the mountain. Some of the lower-angled glades on that side of the mountain, Darby Woods for example, offered great tree skiing that was apparently overlooked by the skiers who were hitting the more obvious lines in the Dark Side glades pretty hard.
I figured that the moderately pitched trails of the “natural North” would likely have some nice bumps and maybe some untracked edges, so I combined a lunch break at the saddle with some runs down Powder Pass and North Star. Since the “no lunch” policy was in effect, my “break” consisted of grabbing a brownie to be wolfed down on the North Quad. For overall snow quality, the North Side trails were probably the pick-of-the-day. I intended to ski the Tahawus Glade, but by the time I had made “just one more” run down Powder Pass it was time for me to pick up Sylvie at the daycare so that we could ski some of the gondi cruisers for the rest of the afternoon.
By Sunday, now skiing with Beth and Daniel, skier traffic was taking a notable toll on some trails, particularly the steeper black diamonds. Wind, which had been a factor on Saturday, seemed to have scoured some of the snow away too. However, as on Saturday, the Dark Side, North Side, lower-angled woods and gondi cruisers again delivered. With blue skies, no wind and temperatures in the mid-20s, Gore had a banner day for head count (cars were parked down the access road nearly to Peaceful Valley Road), yet every lift was virtually ski-on. That’s one of the great things about Gore: even on a “crowded” day, the terrain and lift system naturally spreads out skiers, so it’s only the parking lot and lodge that seem crowded.
Hopefully Nemo represents the start of a more active period of winter weather, in contrast to the relatively dry preceding month. Either way, skiers in the northeast know that when the snow is good, get to it.