Monday, February 9, 2015
Gore Mountain: 02/07 & 02/08/2015
You gotta love it when meteorologists refer to our weather pattern as a "snow train." But that's exactly what it's been over the past 3 weeks or so: cold - snow - cold - snow - cold. With a weather pattern like that, you know the skiing's got to be good, and indeed it has been.
When the snow and cold are making daily headlines, skiers come out in droves. Anticipating a very busy Saturday, we by-passed Gore's main base area and headed to the Ski Bowl instead. Using the Ski Bowl as our base, we leap-frogged our way across the mountain, riding the Hudson chair, Burnt Ridge quad, North Quad, High Peaks double and Straightbrook quad in succession, skiing a few glades and trails in each pod along the way, and then ending our day in with summit to Ski Bowl return trek.
In addition to parking just fifty feet from the lodge's front door and enjoying the lodge's low-key, uncrowded atmosphere, we got to ski Gore in a way that makes it feel like we're visiting some other mountain. In a full day of skiing, we never made it down to the main base area, never rode the gondola, and didn't ski any of the front-side trails. We use the Ski Bowl as our base several times each season, and we'd use it more if the Ski Bowl opened earlier in the season (it's pretty much last on the snowmaking priority list, and typically opens in late Jan or early Feb).
We based ourselves back at the main mountain on Sunday, partly to meet up with friends but also because we wanted to ski the summit trails and glades early in the day. Several inches of new snow fell overnight, with another 1 - 3 inches forecast during the day. The additional snow never really materialized - instead the summit was shrouded in ice fog with spotty freezing drizzle on the lower mountain. The snow remained great all day on the trails and in the woods, though the difficult visibility favored the glades.
Trail of the day was Sagamore - powder and packed powder top to bottom, deserted, out of the freezing fog and drizzle (or at least our timing was good). Echo was just as good once the racers finished up for the day.
When there's been a lot of new snow, we have something of a tradition of ending our day with a run on Little Dipper, an ungroomed and often overlooked gem at the bottom of the mountain. As luck would have it, we bumped into friends doing exactly the same thing.
Conditions now are pretty much as good as they get, mid-winter powder and packed powder. The snow train is forecast to continue through this week and the coming holiday weekend. Get out and enjoy it!