Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stashes

Stash at Gore Mountain.

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

Earlier this summer, Gore announced the addition of four new glades for the 2014-15 ski season. Ordinarily, any terrain expansion is welcome news, but in this case I have to admit that I’ve got mixed feelings. Here’s the announcement from Gore’s website:

Gore is introducing FOUR NEW GLADES! Abenaki Glades, which connect Barkeater Glades on Burnt Ridge Mountain to the Pipeline Traverse; The Narrows, which offer skiers a lively alternative to the Headwaters trail; Birch Bark Alley, which links the Lower Cloud Traverse to the Woodchuck trail and The High Peaks Chair; and MacIntyre Glades, which is loaded with balsams and connects Cloud to Upper Steilhang.

It turns out that 3 out the 4 new glades are locals’ stashes that are being added to the trail map (Abenaki appears to be entirely new).

Ski areas have had secret stashes for years. At the little 300’ vertical ski bump where I learned to ski almost 40 years ago there was a cut-through that led to a power line that we’d follow back to the lift. It was awesome. That stash made us feel like it was “our” mountain.


Secret stashes are one of the big reasons why I love skiing at Gore, and I know I’m not the only skier that feels that way. Those stashes make it “our” mountain, just like when I was a kid. The funny thing about secret stashes is that it’s no fun to keep the secret just for yourself. The joy comes from sharing, and over the years I’ve shared my stashes with family, with friends, and with skiers I just met on the lift. And every time I’ve shown a secret stash to another skier, Gore becomes “their” mountain just a little bit more.


As for the “new” glades, we’ve been skiing The Narrows, MacIntyre and Birch Bark Alley for years, we just have different names for them (actually Birch Bark Alley has always been Birch Bark Alley). I don’t remember exactly who showed me those stashes the first time, and I don’t remember exactly when. I don’t know exactly who originally cleared the brush and the downed limbs to make these lines skiable, but I say thanks every time I ski them.


In the end, I can make peace with adding these stashes to the trail map. Sure, they’ll get skied off and tracked out quicker, but Gore’s got a lot of stashes, both on the map and off. It’s not the first time a stash has been added to Gore’s trail map, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Maybe that hard exit out of Birch Bark Alley will finally get smoothed out, and maybe that big downed tree will finally get cleared out of the middle of The Narrows. Just don’t expect me to call it “The Narrows.”

4 comments:

  1. Sugarbush has done the same over the years. As they add our previous favorites to the trail map, we just find new lines. The whole sport has changed so much. People who have no business being on single blacks are now frequently found floundering through tight steep tree lines. It's the new way - everything has to be bigger, badder, more extreme than before.

    Skiing on trail is pretty much a forgotten pastime, even when the on-piste snow is great.

    Last year, I got on a chair at 8:15 and rode up with a skier who was covered in snow. He had waited in line for an hour to get the first chair and skied a tough tree line solo at high speeds (dangerous, of course) to get back to the chair as quickly as possible.

    This year, for an extra $500 (limited to 500 total skiers), people can ride first chair half an hour earlier than the "rest of us" all season long. That's about 1000 sets of tracks before anyone else gets on the hill.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Instead of appropriating rogue glades gore should adopt an open woods policy as many other ski areas have done

    ReplyDelete
  3. Damon - Yeah, I read about that $500 pass premium for the early access. I think it's a rip-off that makes "regular" passholders second-class. I'd be upset.

    As for the high traffic in the glades, I partly agree. But I'm still amazed at how many people just don't ski the trees at all. Sometimes trails like Hawkeye and Lies at Gore are crowded and icy and the glades are empty with far better snow.

    Anon - I don't think an open woods policy is coming any time soon. New York's skier responsibility laws make an open woods policy almost impossible, not that those laws couldn't be changed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. For the record, thanks Chuck & crew!

    ReplyDelete