Well, what a great start to the season, and it’s technically not even (astronomical) winter yet! Although, “the nerd in the room” might argue with you on that, since meteorological winter started Dec. 1st. Whatever you go by, you can’t argue against this past week.
The week started with a bang, as Sunday evening into Tuesday morning, much of the region saw REAL snow accumulations. What’s more important, is that it FEELS we are right on track, as the previous two seasons we experienced a similar storm around the same time period . . . the first week in December.
Knowing that the snow was going to shut-off around 7am, I woke up early, and made the trek up to Roan Mountain for the first (of hopefully many) days on XC Skis. The first 40 miles of the journey, things were looking pretty bare and had a hunch that I was gonna get skunked . . . It’s definitely happened before.
The last ten miles up to Carvers Gap, you rise about 2500 feet and is enchanting. I reached the top, was delighted to see between 2-4 inches of fresh (based on where it was windblown). This storm wasn’t a giant producer, but WAS enough to XC ski. *Pro-tip: you don’t need as much snow to XC as you need to downhill*
Went for a quick hit at Cataloochee. The day prior, Cat had opened up the top (Upper Omigosh) which means, it’s time to TURN AND BURN from top to bottom!. The conditions were the best I have seen all season . . . bar none.
The highlight of the day, though, was meeting a nice fella named Fernando (from Atlanta). Earlier, I saw him ripping on what looked like MOON BOOTS with ice skates attached. I was enamored and finally caught up with him, where he showed me his Sled Dogs. These are completely legal, and ACTUALLY look kind of fun.
Ventured to Sierra Nevada last evening for their third (of four) ski films, there, this fall. This was the Backcountry Film Festival. . . a multitude of films highlighting the human-powered experience to the most remote ski destinations in the world. From accessing remote ski lines via whitewater raft to bikepacking with skis on your back, these films really got to the human endurance that was required. A must-see for all the ski masochists out there!
Finally, I got a chance to chat with the local ski resort reps. (Cat, Ober, and Wolf), during the intermission. Good things happening at all three . . . stay tuned.
Enjoy your weekend!