It had to end sooner or later. After two awesome winters, this one is starting out with a whimper. With heavy rain saturating their base of manmade snow, Rumford ME’s Black Mountain postponed the first day of competition at the National Championships. Craftsbury is reporting conditions on their three k loop of manmade snow. Other ski areas around the northeast are operating on limited terrain or closed altogether.
On 19 December, I was questioning the wisdom of making our annual end of December trip to Lake Placid, NY. Then a few inches of snow fell and they were able to open 10 k. The van Ho staff should be commended for recommending rock skis and being straightforward about their conditions.
In the end, we skied for only two days at Mount van Hoevenberg. Arriving on 26 December, our daughter complained about the laughably thin base. Grass poked through the snow and rocks lurked like icebergs under the thin cover. For the occasion, I broke out a pair of Atomic classic skis that I’d retired four years ago. Although they’re old, these boards meant a lot to me: I rode them to personal best times in 10 k and 50 k races. The bases were pristine, they’d never been exposed to nasty conditions.
Until now. On the first downhill on our first day, I felt the ZIP! as I rode over a hidden rock.
While we were there, only the easiest trails were open. You could access the biathlon side via the footbridge; the tunnels were closed. While Campground and a couple of trails on the biathlon side had good coverage, we generally zigzagged between rocks and bare spots instead of skiing a straight line.
It was good to catch up with old friends that we only see during the winter. We also saw a few skiers there who were passing through on their way to Rumford for the National Championships.
Several people told me that they expected six inches of snow on Tuesday night, but the weather was too warm for me to buy in. On Tuesday night it rained. Nothing torrential, just a steady rain that closed van Ho. The last two days of our trip, I got up early and ran. So we’re off to an inauspicious start, and I’m still jonesing for some big days on snow. Enjoy the photos.