Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Actually skiing

Looking out at the sunny afternoon I suddenly realized that nothing on my schedule would prevent me from going out back to poke around on skis.

The temperature had gotten up to 20 degrees F. The wind was still sharp, but it hardly penetrates the forest. Occasional veils of faint cirrus clouds filtered the sun a little at times, but mostly it was a flawless afternoon.

Two to five inches of hero snow overlay a shallow but firmly frozen base. The top snow was cold and dry, so the waxless pattern of my beat-up old skis did not hold like a crampon, but it was good enough for a trudge around the property. I don't know if the total elevation gain from the house to the top of the knoll is 100 feet. The steeper end certainly rises little more than half that, but it offers a few lines. You might get four turns or a dozen, depending on snow depth and your quick decision making.

Abutting properties have been logged within the last decade. The saplings have grown up into impassible thickets.
I bushwhacked my way back out after attempting to find a way through to the higher slopes of the mountainside. On my own land the trees have not been cut. I traversed to the top of a knoll at the back of the property to ski down.
This hemlock grove is a Deer Hilton. The deer bed down in several locations near each other in the mixed forest. The various tree species offer shelter, buds to browse, and acorns and beechnuts.
So many lines. A little play area like this wouldn't be worth a drive, but it's fine for the back yard.
When you're just poking around, any drop invites you to throw down a few turns.
Tracks are everywhere, from the well-established trails of the resident deer to the zippers laid down by mice.

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