Although this weekend’s Harry Eldridge races were cancelled, I drove to Lake Placid anyway to get some skiing in. New snow fell on a base that had been turned into boilerplate, opening up the cross-country side of Mount van Hoevenberg.
On Saturday, I opted to ski my overdistance workout. After twenty minutes of no-poles skating, I headed out to Porter Mountain. In retrospect, it was probably a mistake. With perhaps two inches of cold new snow over a hard base, every bump and compression was evident. There’s a huge difference between roller skiing on a paved road and the technically demanding Porter Mountain loop. Laboring up the second long climb, I felt like amateur hour. In addition, my physical-therapied-to-death leg bothered me, particularly during follow-through. I’m glad that I signed on for classic technique again in this year’s Lake Placid Loppet.
While there were exposed rocks here and there – especially on the aptly named Big Rock loop – coverage was fine to bring out good skis. You just had to be careful. Everything was open on Porter: Peggy’s Puddle, Big Rock and the Horseshoe loop included. I skied all of it, finishing up over Russian Hill and Hi-Notch before descending to the stadium.
Suitably warmed up, I fell in with the Peru Nordic crew for an impromptu race after lunch. Eight of us congregated on the biathlon side for the legendary Gauntlet 2.0. On an improvised 1.5 km loop, the format was a mass start prologue followed by a sprint relay. Six laps, three each for two-man teams. Note to self: a two and a half hour warmup is overdoing it. In addition to not being completely comfortable skating on snow, I couldn’t bury myself over the climbs.
Sunday was shorter; I skied classic technique on the biathlon side. The cold, slow snow of the day before was much faster. Descending East Mountain was a wild, bumpy roller coaster.
For all the good times I had this weekend, I’m concerned about conditions at Mount van Hoevenberg for the remainder of the winter. While the skiing this weekend was good, the coverage was thin. As of this writing, Tuesday morning, rain has closed van Ho yet again. So far this year, big storm systems have missed the eastern Adirondacks. The final, fast downhill on Ladies’ 5 was scraped down to ice, as was a downhill on the East Mountain Loop. Without some serious snowfall, I believe it will be a challenge to run the Loppet on the traditional loop this year. At present, the cover is just too thin.