Storm Hopping! From Frida to Garrett . . .

Cross CountryFat BikingFeaturedGeneralTrip Reports

Winter Storm Frida (as dubbed by the Weather Channel) delivered the first measurable snowfall to most of the snow-starved region. After the fourth warmest December, on record (for the Asheville area), I was delighted to see the mercury plunge, and snow blanket the region.

Monday, January 3rd – Skijoring @ Roan Mountain, TN/NC

Skijoring – is a winter sport in which a person is pulled by a horse, a dog, or a motor vehicle. It is derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring, meaning “ski driving”

If you’ve never heard of it, I don’t blame you . . . but my Norwegian roots were buzzing, and I had to heed the call. Roan received AROUND 6-8″ of fresh, and the drive-up to Roan is almost always plowed . . .

Approach to Roan

At the end of last March, I rescued a 1 year-old Border Collie (Finn), from the Buncombe County animal shelter. This was his first time on snow, and boy was it a joy. I have to admit, I was pretty gripped with him tethered to me and pulling, so I didn’t get any great shots of him on the lead . . . I hope to in the future, though.

However, I did accomplish some training with him and got him to run alongside during the descent!

After that, we went for a winter hike on the other side of Carver’s Gap (Appalachian Trail), and viewed a great sunset:

Click to expand

Tuesday, January 4th – (snow) Fat-Biking to Hike Mt. Pisgah 

The fun continued on Tuesday when Finn and I made the trip toward Mt. Pisgah. Even at 5,721′, Pisgah never receives nearly as much snow as the mountains that border NC/TN. Nevertheless, a good “quick hit” since I only live 20-30min away.

Fat Biking in the DEEP fresh snow is always tricky . . . It’s nice to wait a day or so for the snow-pack to consolidate or begin to melt down, slightly. I figured this would be the day . . .

Wednesday, January 5th – Biathlon training

Yesterday, as the snow started to melt on the Blue Ridge Parkway,

Only a little snow remains in the valleys

I broke out the “fruit boots” . . . I meant roller skis (ha), for my first biathlon training session of the year. Whitegrass Ski Touring Center (WV) has three scheduled BB biathlon races this winter . . . Sundays; January 23rd, February 20th, and March 13th respectively. I hope to make it up to at least one of the three, on their calendar.

I can nordic ski pretty well, but the shooting might just get the best of me:

I’ll keep you updated on how the shooting is progressing. It sounds like all I have to do is hit the big side of a metal snow-shovel. The question is from what range?

Winter Storm Garrett is INCOMING . . . 4-7″ points south, 6+” in WV/MD

With 6″ expected, tomorrow, I hope to get an alpine-start and make a push to the top of Mount LeConte . . .

Atop Mount Le Conte lives PNUT

Yes, there actually is someone living up at 6’600′ in the Smokies, and it’s not a gnome or a troll. PNUT mentions, “crampons are advised” . . . so it’s definitely going to be a ski-mountaineering mission tomorrow. I’ll be sharpening the crampons and ice axe, tonight. I hope to get some great lines, from the top!

My prediction is that tomorrow, Ober Gatlinburg should open. Here is their latest: “Snowmaking Update: If the current forecast holds, we will be able to make snow for the slopes and add natural snow on Thursday night, Jan 6”. If they open, I’ll get there for some runs after LeConte!

Enjoy your snow days.

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