Stowe, VT 04APR2010

Today was another nice one, so we were back at Stowe for a bit more of the spring weather and spring skiing.  I think the temperatures were about 15-20 degrees cooler than yesterday, which was of course still quite warm with base temperatures around 60 F.  Combined with a breeze that hadn’t been around yesterday though, the cooler temperatures were enough to keep us wearing vests over shirts.

We hadn’t had a chance to get to the Quad terrain yesterday, so we started off with a full run of Nosedive.  The boys had a good time working on the steeper bumps in the upper sections, where Ty commented that he thought it was Dylan’s best bump skiing to date.  Middle/Upper Nosedive had pretty good coverage, but it seemed like coverage in the lower half had changed a lot since the yesterday.  Apparently things just continued to melt with the day temperature of 70-80 F followed by a fairly warm overnight that didn’t get down to freezing.  Also surprising was the way in which the bumps on the bottom half of the trail seemed to have disappeared.  I didn’t think that the mountain was grooming with the warm temperatures, but something changed from yesterday.

After some snowball fights when we waited at the gondola base, we next joined up with Fred and his family and did a Cliff Trail run over toward Lower Nosedive.  Fred was on Telemark skis for the first time in many years, and it was his first time in plastic boots or cable bindings, so it was quite a change from his older stuff and he commented on all the differences that he could feel.  On the next trip up to the Gondola, we stopped in at the Cliff House and Fred got us all drinks while we hung out on the deck.  It was actually a little chilly up at that elevation with the breeze, but the sun was keeping us warm enough.  Fred talked with one of his buddies from behind the bar about which big boulder on the cliffs above was going to come down and take out the Cliff House kitchen.  It seems as though they have been watching them for years.

We made our way back over to the quad and finished off the day with a late lunch on the deck of the Octagon.  It was after 3:00 P.M. so there was nobody else around, but we got to take in the classic views of the Chin, Jay Peak, The White Mountains, etc.  Ty at first couldn’t figure out what that building was that he could see underneath the Chin, but once we told him it was the Cliff House at the top of the gondola, he remarked that he could see the deck we’d been on earlier.  When he said that I realized it was probably the first time I’d ever hit both of the Mansfield mountaintop decks in one day.

For our final run we stuck to the Lord area, and worked with the boys on riding the steep ridges along the edges of the trails.  In some of the steepest shots the angle was just too extreme for the boys to hold an edge, so that was good practice to see how they could re-engage them, or end up sliding off in the trees.  They ended up doing some of both.  Personally, I noticed that when the pitch became too steep, it was almost as if there wasn’t enough room for my uphill leg and ski to remain in a Telemark stance, and I’d have to switch to an alpine configuration to keep both edges engaged.

There was definitely a change in snow coverage between yesterday and today at Stowe, probably one of the more dramatic one-day changes I’ve seen, but of course yesterday had some of the highest temperatures I’ve witnessed in terms of spring skiing.  Some spots that seemed perfectly fine yesterday had become narrow passages by today.  There’s still lots of snow on the upper parts of Mansfield, but it looks like they’ll need to keep working with the groomers to keep things connected at the bottom of the mountain.

A couple of shots from today are attached below: