Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Poke in the Weeds

Sticking to my schedule of exercising once every two weeks, I went out on the new snow to see if conditions had gotten sportier up on the back mountain.

Extensive logging over several recent years has destroyed the mature hardwood glades. At first the skidder roads and patch cuts offered open terrain when the snow was deep enough to cover the slash and boulders. New growth sprang up quickly, so that golden age of open skiing ended after a couple of seasons.

While it isn't quite sapling and bramble hell entirely, the nearest clearings offer more challenge than reward with the type and depth of snow we have now. Really cold temperatures brought a dry snow that doesn't compact. A couple of moist phases created easily breakable crust layers that inhibit turning. There is no base of dense snow, so surface obstacles are concealed but not blunted.

Because the snow does not pack down to provide a solid kicking surface, I had to climb at a very low angle. It took me half an hour to trudge up to the hemlock glades next to the oldest logged area. The turning wasn't great on the way down, but the afternoon was sunny. It's always nice to get out.

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