Sunday, January 13, 2008


Adding to the new lineup of winter months, northern New England introduces Jarch.

You may recall last Decembruary, how novel it seemed to be skiing on full winter snow cover before winter had officially started. This made a nice contrast to the two winters of almost continuous NovApril that had marred the previous two years.

Now Jarch has arrived. Nighttime temperatures barely dip below freezing, while daytime highs in the northern part of the state flirt around on either side of 40. The storms have gone warm, assaulting the snowpack with streams of water.

In Jackson, the last storm sealed the snow with an inch of sleet, so the rain rolled off harmlessly. However, warm temperatures start streams of melt water eroding the snow from beneath, and eating at the edges of any thin or bare patch.

On the plus side, classical skiers can reliably use klister instead of taking their best guess at transitional-temperature "hard" waxes. Anything that spreads on the ski like melted Swiss cheese doesn't really qualify for the term "hard," but they aren't really klister, either. Fair enough, because what falls fresh and white at 32 and above doesn't qualify for the term "snow" for more than the first few minutes of a busy day on the trails. Now that the snow has definitely melted and refrozen, all its forms respond to klister or the trendy new miracle, grip tape.

Skate skiing improves also, especially right after morning grooming or the first bit of morning thaw. If the day warms much, skating becomes a plod.

In short, it's spring out there.

Past or present performance does not guarantee future results. Winter simply claims the whole spectrum of weather these days, not just the frozen varieties. There were even thunderstorms the other day. And Monday calls for snow.

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