Late February combines the reality of late winter and the promise of early spring, with firm, fast conditions in the morning, softening up to almost-but-not-quite spring conditions by early afternoon (especially on our famous southern and east facing slopes).
Today was no exception as I tested three of my favorite runs: Schneider, East Slope and North Conway.
Schneider was a short fast run down to the East Chair with nice steeps at the top and a dusting of powder on top of edge-to-edge snow pack. A leisurely ride up New England's oldest continously operating double chair, then I was back at it on the East Slope, which was already showing signs of sugaring up, especially towards the bottom. You can always tell how late in the season it is judging by the tans on the faces of the East Chair's lift attendents. Clearly, spring is on its way.
After a quick hot cocoa break at the Meister Hut (I know, I have a tough job), I chatted with a fellow skier and Cranmore condo owner also taking a break. He recommended Hurricane and North Conway trails as having the best snow conditions. Not to take his word for it, I made North Conway my final run. He was right! Easily the best snow on the mountain today, unexpected for this more north-westerly facing slope. I stayed on skiers right, avoiding the nascent bumps forming on the left.
The coming week brings the promise of a more stormy weather pattern. The last month has been uncommonly calm, clear and dry. Judging by business levels, this is what brings out famlies in droves. But those of us who know that March skiing at Cranmore is really the best time of all, we're crossing fingers and toes that the month-long dry spell is about to end with snow in the forecast finally for late this week.
Stay on top of the forecast thanks to our friends at the Mount Washington Observatory's weather forecast for the Valley here: http://www.cranmore.com/info/winter/weather.asp
And enjoy these photos taken this weekend by our friend photographer Bill Lee.
Top of the Darkside Terrain Park, looking up at Ledges. The Pink Ribbon Jibbin' event last night raised close to $2,000 for Boarding for Breast Cancer!
Sweet riding conditions!
Top of Schneider - love that gnarly tree at the summit! Note the depth of the snowpack.