It was fun while it lasted. Most of the pre-Thanksgiving snow has melted to an un-skiable depth. Temperatures came up into the low 50F range during the day and just dipped below the freezing mark at night stretching out the skiability of the trails. I managed to get out four times on the home trails and skied one day at a brand new ski area, The Strafford Touring Center, in the nearby town of Strafford, VT.
The early snow cancelled the Center’s Turkey Trot running race scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving. Jeremiah Linehan, one of the center’s principals and former US Nordic combined team members, decided to host a 5k ski/snowshoe fun race instead. The race was planned as a community centered event intended to introduce the center to residence of the Upper Valley. Jere was hoping to attract 20 participants. Temps in the mid 30s and bright sun blessed the event. Based upon the size of the crowd at the start line and by doing a bit of race number math, my best guess is over 50 people participated in the ski race. Some people had never skied before and came out anyway. Patrick, the rep from Solomon, was mounting and prepping the rental fleet and sending the new gear out as soon as it was ready. It was awesome to see the enthusiasm from everyone involved racing, watching and running the event.
Skiing at an area besides my own trails gave rise to a few realizations. Having trails right out the door is nice albeit a bit solitary. Grooming and skiing the same trails has made them excessively familiar and heading out on unfamiliar trails was fantastic. I’m lucky and maybe a bit spoiled. The kids had fun getting away from the house too. Part of the idea of having trails at home is making activity part of the family’s lifestyles. Ski, snowshoe, running, whatever; just get outside and do something each day. This winter we’ll make an effort to get away a bit more to help keep the skiing part fresh. It’d be a downer to think giving the kids the easy opportunity to ski actually makes it boring and they want to stop such a wonderful lifetime activity.
The melting snow gives me another chance to complete, or at least get started on, the unfinished trail work. There is bucked up firewood to remove, a few wet spots to drain, a small bridge and a roller to build. Second chances are worthless of we don’t take advantage of being given them. The early snow and skiing a few k went a long way in helping me trade the mud season doldrums for a new found enthusiasm for the upcoming ski and grooming season.
The forecast predicts sun and the same pattern of temperature swings we’ve experienced for the past week.