4-14-99 24th Day, Hunter, My Last Day of the season.
I am sad to say this is my last post for the 98-99 season. I hooked up with Steve and Glenn for the final ski bum trip. It was another beautiful day at Hunter. A bit cool and lots of wind, but that can't stop a group of die-hards. I had twenty four days on snow this season, and lots of improvement to show for it. I hooked up with Ed for the first run, right down the middle and it was sweet. We hooked up with Steve, Glen and Barb for the next run, down the middle again. Hellgate was so sweet in the morning. Soft, groomed and fast. As the sun took it's toll things got thick and messy , but every run seemed to be better then the last. I was using my Rosi Viper, 9.3, 198cm. It was working just fine. The snow was very thick mash potatoes and I was getting tired. We had a nice long relaxing lunch, and hit the slopes again to finish the season. The run of the day was right down the middle, HellGate. The Belt was great too and it held up longer, but the wind on the back side was brutal. Ed and I skied the front a few times then the back. We carved up some nice figure eight's on the Belt. At 3:55 we got our last chair for the season. The Ski Bums met at the top of Cliff for the last run. It was beautiful camped out on top having a cold one before The last run. The ski patrol decided to sweep early and ended the camp out. We skied down the middle for the last run of the season. It was a beautiful sight. Well folks, another ski season has come and gone. Hopefully we all improved a little more this year. I know I did. To sum it up. Keep your head, shoulders and outriggers pointed down the hill at all times. Commit to the hill, and let the ski do the rest.
The weather is too nice to pass up another spring day. The mountain received five inches of snow two nights before, and that was enough for me to head up. This was a solo trip for me. I'm cool with that. A nice day to reflect on the season, and put to use what I have learned. A day to be totally independent. I was on the snow about nine AM. I was using my K2 Merlin V. It was a cold day. The bottom of the mountain was solid and groomed, the top was hard packed and groomed, but getting soft quick. Hell Gate was the run of the day. I took a trip down Heuga, but it left me off at a nasty bump run. I followed the path that was cut through the bump run to get to the groomed stuff. I was picking up speed and it was narrow. To my fright there was a huge dipping bump right in front of me. I thought , "this is going to hurt" I tried to get side ways, but it did not happen. I slammed into the rut and stopped dead in my track. Not much pain, nothing broken, except my ski and outrigger. I broke my Merlin V about two inches in front of my front binding. And the cable guide on my outrigger broke at he rivet. I shook off the impact and pushed out of the rut to asses the damage. Hum? It looks ski able. I skied down from mid station and swapped skis. Armed with my Rosi Viper I hit the slopes again. At 1PM I hooked up with Steve Laing, he is the Hunter Mountain web master. We skied some runs together and Steve took some pics of me carving up the mash potatoes and getting some air in the park. I free skied the rest of the day alone until I hooked up with Matt, an instructor from Windham. We skied a few runs together and I called it a day at 3:45 PM. I loaded up the car so I could get home and make repairs. I fixed the rigger and replaced a bolt I lost on my mono before it was dark out, and I was ready for my last day of the season.
It's getting close to the end of the season here in the east. The Ski Bums gather for one of the last trips. No bus this time, just a pack of die-hards car pooling to the mountain. My buddy Maurice decided to come and check out spring conditions on his snowboard. He is new to the sport, and for a guy who has only done it two times, I think he is a natural. We made it to the mountain a little after 8am. The weather was a bit cooler then expected, and the cloud cover was gloomy. However the sun was trying to break through, and it did. From my ski arsenal I chose my K2 Merlin V as the ski of the day. I thought it was going to be very firm conditions in the morning, but it was actually great. Mo and I took to the snow and hit the "B" lift. The conditions on Park Ave where a bit tricky. At the lift we hooked up with Steve Goodman. Next we hit Kennedy and it was great. Mo worked on his form on Kennedy as Steve and I scouted the mountain for bare spots. I was trying something new. I use a torso belt for chest and shoulder support mounted to my mono bucket. I decided to take it off. I skied great with out it. I skied the bumps of Hell Gate over to the bigger bumps of Eisenhower. We cursed the Belt. I did fell more freedom and ease to angulate, but I was feeling the lack of shoulder support right in my gut and arms. I did not want to over due it, so I put the belt back on. I learned that I have the torso strength to ski, but I do need shoulder support, so now I can go to a smaller support system. By this time the sun was dominating the ski, so Steve broke out the video camera and we where off to the summit to shoot some footage. We filmed the bumps on Hell Gate, the thick on mid-station and I nice jump in the park. Then we did Hell Gate again from another direction some more air, and mid-station again. The film came out great, so look for my new Video here. The sun was beaming at lunch, and it was warm. Time to shed a layer. After lunch We just free skied and took it all in. The Bums decided to go to the west and ski Way Out. It was a great run. The bumps were spaced the way I like them, and some cursing spots as well. It was sunny and breezy, a beautiful spring skiing day. Mo was all warmed up and ready for his first diamond. We skied Heugas Express. It was a great run, not bumped up like Hell gate, smooth in the steep and thick in the flats. I was having a lot of fun practicing the bumps on Hell Gate so we hit that run again before the end of the day. Steve and I caught last chair and ended off on a nice cruse down the Belt. We hit the lodge by 4:10. We ended the day with pizza at Michel Miggies. Another great ski day with the Ski Bums.
The Butcher, Tim Bainbridge and I go to Hunter for some spring skiing. Another awesome day in the sun. It was over cast in the morning, but warm. Some of the trails are showing the effect of the weather and the bare spots are growing. The main trails are still rocking. The run of the day was Hugas also Way out was nice in the morning. I was using my K2 Merlin V 188cm. This is a fun ski. Tim and I hooked up with Steve Goodman as we where unloading the truck and he skied with us all day. We had a great time. The bumps where a bit bigger then last week, but I was a bit better at skiing them then last week so it worked out okay. The thick snow does tire me out. I have to learn how to ski the thick stuff with out using so much pressure on my outriggers. I tend to get them stuck in the thick. Any suggestions? please send me some e-mail. The day was great. It has been a while since I skied with Tim, and we had a great day. Hunter rules for spring skiing.
Gus and I go to Hunter for a day of spring skiing. We arrived at 7:45am, and by 8:15 I was ready to get in my mono to ride the first chair. That did not happen. Major power failure shut down every thing for miles. So we sat out in the beautiful sun and watched the snow melt for a wile. By 10am we where on the quad heading for the summit. I had on a tee shirt and a light wind breaker, the temps where in the 60's. Not much grooming took place at the top, so it was a bit bump. The bumps where great, soft and not too close together, just the way I like them. Gus and I skied a few runs, then we hooked up with Ed from the ski bums and skied some runs with him. After lunch we hit it hard. Way Out was the run of the day for a cursor and Hell Gate to Eisenhower was the run for bumps, well for me anyway. It was a great day for some big air. The snow was soft and so was the landing's. We hit some kickers in the park and found a nice one off Hell Gate. I used my Rosi 9S Pro 191cm in the morning, then after lunch I used the Rosi Energy 9.9, 191cm. This it a very cool ski. Not as stiff as I like a ski, but in the soft conditions it was great. It turns on a dime with great edge control and snaps you out of the turn quick. I garbed the lift at about 3:50 and waited at the summit for the last chair. I took my solo run down Hugas to Kennedy. It was a great day of spring skiing.
John and I take a trip up to Windham to meet George for a day of free skiing. We could not have asked for a better day. All the rain we had Sunday night was snow up there. I never skied on snow like this. Soft packed powder where the groomer was and untouched powder everywhere else. I learned fast to keep my outriggers up. It was a bit tricky to initiate my turns, but I got a relaxed rhythm going and it all worked out. I was using my Rosi 9S 191. We skied a blue for a warm up and then hit the double black. It was a blast. We headed over to the "G" Lift. I never skied the blacks on that side and I wanted to check them out. No problem I nailed every run and George had a chance to see the fruit of his teaching labor. We took some pics and enjoyed a great view. George showed us a little bump area to play in. After lunch the sun was beaming and the sky was as blue as it gets. The slopes where empty. There was no lift line at all, and we had every trail to out selves. We could not ask for a better day. George got on his board to carve it up in the wonderful conditions. We where all over the mountain eating it up. I have to admit the conditions where a work out and we all where feeling it in the afternoon. By 3pm we called it a day, and a great one at that. The run of the day was Upper Wolverine, and that is what we finished the day on. Thanks George and John for sharing the best day of the season with me.
Camelback is a great mountain. Scott Wilson invited me to come and check it out. The access is good. Handicapped parking is in the upper parking lot. A close push to ticket sales. The lodge is accessible; food and rest rooms are on one level. The snow and lifts are right off the patio. The terrain is good. Long switch back, blues and greens with straight down the face blacks. A quick quad ride wisk's you to the summit in less then four minutes. We skied right across the mountain from right to left, hitting just about every trail. There was some thin cover on some trails, but we managed to get around it. I was using my Rosi 9S. The conditions where good, hard packed and groomed. Scott and I rocked the mountain all morning. The run of the day was Cliffhanger. The mountain is not the biggest mountain around but it is big fun, close by and accessible. What more can you want. They have an adaptive skiing program that is top shelf. I would like to thank Joe Amato and Scott Wilson for a great day of skiing at Camelback.
A great day of spring skiing with the Ski Bums. I was on the lift just before 9:30am. The conditions where great. Hellgate to Eisenhower was the first run. I hooked up with Steve on my next run and he took some pictures of me and the rest of the Bums. Steve and I skied all over the mountain. The conditions where great. Thick and wet in some spots, but very nice in others. The only mistake I made was trying to ski Annapurna the double black bump run. I lost it all over this train and it took a long time to get down. After lunch Steve and I skied all over the place. I was using my Rosi 9S and it is a great ski, quick turning and great edge control. Hellgate to Eisenhower was the run of the day. Warm temps and sunshine, another great day with the ski bums.
My wife and I Head up for the Lyons/Sambora ski race. We booked a room at the Villa Maria, but when we arrived they told us the pipes had burst. The alternate room was a nightmare. They called around for us to find us another place to stay. I was sitting in the car thinking, Why Lord? Why this problem on our night out? Then I felt the peaceful presence of the Lord say; I have something better for you. With that my wife jumps in the car and tells me to drive to the Scribner Hollow. Now this was a nice place. Not the place for a tight budget, but if you want to splurge and pamper your wife for a night this is the place. The place is not totally wheelchair accessible, meaning there are stairs going down to the pool and sauna area, and the bathroom door is too narrow for a wheelchair, but I managed to deal with it. Every thing is included in one price. The room and a top notch romantic dinner, breakfast, pool and hot tubs, such a deal! The room was very nice, our own little log cabin sweet with a view of Hunter mountain. We arrived at the mountain early, and I signed up for the race. I was trying out a new ski. A Rossignol 9S PRO 191. I love the way this ski handles. Very quick into the turn, great for carving and a nice snap out of the turn. I took a few warm up runs, I skied Racer's Edge for the first time and nailed it. It was not bumped up, but it is steep and fun. Scott Berwick skied some runs with me and gave me some pointers on how to ski the gates for the race. I took third over all in the race and it was a lot of fun. My wife was taking a lesson and giving it a good try. We had a great day, the sun was out, it was not too cold and my wife had fun. I did miss-load and unload a few times, but it was still a great day. I want to thank my wife for coming with me, and I want to thank Scott for skiing with me and couching me in the race. Thanks!
Another great ski trip with the Ski Bums. It was a windy day but not too cold and mostly overcast. The snow conditions where great. Soft wet snow and some hard packed, not much ice to be found. I would say the runs of the day would be Way Out and Hell Gate to Eisenhower. We warmed up on White Cloud to Belt then hit the front of the mountain. Steve Goodman, and he is a good man, was my ski buddy for the day. He picked me up at home and gave me a ride to the bus stop. We had a great day together. He took some pictures and we explored some trails I had not yet skied. I added Drop Off and The Colonels Alternate to my list of trails conquered. We skied to a little past noon and then took a break for lunch. The over cast turned to some light sleet and rain. After lunch I put on my rain gear and we ventured out. At first there was no rain. We skied a bunch of runs in high winds but no rain. Then it hit, not to hard but it was raining. I was having a blast. We skied right up until 4PM then got in out of the rain. I took off my rain gear and was dry as a bone. I fell asleep on the bus going Home and woke up in NJ, what a great trip. Thanks Steve, for getting me there and skiing with me and, Thanks Steve for getting me home.
Well, the thrill of the Bush is gone. It's time to check out other mountains. I figured, lets knock some time off the trip home and head south in the morning. We decided to hit Pico, and John was up for the change as well. I am very impressed with this mountain, and they now have a VASS chapter. We where greeted with open arms. The parking is good, they will let you drive around to drop off your gear, and the parking is close to the main lodge. Once inside there is no elevator, so bring you own food. If you don't I'm sure some one from VASS will help you get food. The bathroom is big and accessible. It was windy and overcast, but the conditions where great, best all weekend. The lifts are a piece of cake to load and unload. I was using my Rosi Viper, The K2 was losing it's edge. The wind was wicked, but the skiing was great. We skied some nice cruisers to warm up then headed for the summit. The wind at the summit was the worse I have ever been in. We skied some blues from the top, but after two trips up they closed the lift. We skied over to a little double chair called Outpost. This chair is old and does not slow so I had them stop it. We skied a few runs from it and headed in for lunch. The rain kicked in around one PM, so we called it a day. It was a great weekend. I will be back to Pico as soon as I can. Go to Pico if you get the chance, The VASS people are great and the terrain rocks if you like cruisers.
Day two we head back to North to check out the new VASS office and to shoot some video. I decided to try out my K2 Merlin V (5). Jeff from VASS took on the task of camera man, and off we went. The Green Mountain Quad is easy to load, but a bit tricky to unload. I bought it HARD on the dismount. It is a quick, steep, drop down ramp. My suggestion is to stay in the right most seat, (the outside), and get off ASAP, when your tip touches the ramp lunge hard. I had them stop the lift for me after the first wipe out, you can do that too. The Inverness Quad was not as bad, but it has old cushions that tend to stick to the mono. The North Ridge Quad has the same old type seat cushions so be on your toes for the dismount. All in All the conditions for skiing where great at North. The VASS office is big and the access is good once you are inside. They come down to the parking lot to get you with a quad-runner linked to a trailer. A quick little ride and you are in the office. It is the same set up they had at South, but now there is much more room in the office. I was heaving a tough time with the lifts at North, so after lunch we took the Slide Brook Quad over to South. This was a trip. Beautiful scenery with some steep, deep downloads. It's a fast ride and worth it for the view alone. If you don't like heights you might want to pass on this lift. I biffed getting on and off this chair lift. It is a little high getting on the seat. But the biff was my fault. We headed right over to Sleeper to shoot some video of some jumps, and bumps. The sun was out and the snow was getting soft. The conditions where great. After a few runs with the camera we hooked up with John and headed over to the Bravo Quad. It was much harder on this side. I lost it all over a big bump run, but made it to the Heavens Gate Chair and skied a nice icy Jester. We caught the last chair and finished off on Sleeper, the best run of the day. I skied right down to the lot and jumped out of my mono, into my truck and off we went. Another full day on the slopes.
Gus and I pack up for the annual Sugarbush trip. After seven hours of driving in snow and traffic, we get to the lodge. Friday Morning we met Amanda at the North mountain VASS Office. High winds shut down all but one lift at North, so we hit South. The Gatehouse and North Lynx lifts where running, so we had some good skiing. The conditions where so. Typical eastern conditions, sugar coated boiler plate with some soft packed and hard packed here and there. I was skiing my Rossi Viper. The best run was Sleeper. It is a glade run with a little bit of every thing. Nice jumps, some bumps, and the snow was great. All though we where skiing on a Friday you would think it was a Saturday do to the long lift lines, and the wind was not bad at all so I don't know what they where thinking buy shutting the lifts. After lunch they opened the Bravo Quad and the lift lines disappeared. The trails where empty of other skiers, just about every run was a quite, soils experience. We caught the last lift and got off the mountain by 4:30. A great full day of skiing.
The Best time on snow this season. Jack and I took the bus with the NJ Ski Bums. I was expecting rain, but we where blessed with a great day of soft packed powder. The sun peeked out here and there and that was nice, but mostly clouds all day. Jack and I skied diamonds most of the day. I gave the Atomic a try again after having the ski shop try to fix it, no deal. Back to the Rosi after two runs. Every run was so sweet, the snow conditions where excellent. We where all over that mountain. I skied upper K27 for the first time, and nailed it, bumps and all. Jack did the same. We skied all day.
Tim Ripley twisted my arm and got me to go to Hunter for a day of skiing in the sunshine. Scott Wilson decided to take the trip and meet us at the mountain. What a beautiful day. High 30's into the 40's and lots of sun shine. The snow was great, some ice here and there, but not bad. I started the day with my Atomic. I had just had a stone grinding done on it, and it was trashed. I could not believe how different the ski felt. After a few run I bagged the Atomic and jumped into my Rosi Viper. Tim, Scott and I skied a bunch of runs. Tim put on the helmet cam and skied a few runs. It was great to get together with two other mono-skiers and rip it up for a day. I hope we can do it again soon. I was having an off day, but I made the best of it. Skiing with Tim and Scott is a pleasure. I was getting tired and started to get sloppy so it was time to head in. We sat up on the sun deck and had a burger. It was a beautiful day. I was getting to wrap up my mono at about quarter to four. I looked at the clock and I looked at the lift. One more run, got to do it. I jumped back in my mono and hit the lift for a final run. Just a quick one down Kennedy and back to the lodge. I was out of my mono and wrapping it up at 4:05.
YES! my first double diamond. I went up to Windham to meet the man David Begg from the adaptive ski program at Snowshoe West Virginia, and also to demo the "Revolution Pro Comp". Do to the events taking place at the mountain and the conditions I decided not to demo the Pro Comp that day. So it was a day of free skiing. I made the trip up alone and figured I would be skiing by my self all day. I made my way to the lift and into the single line, as I approached the loading area there was my friend John. He is one of the best mono-skiers I know and a very good instructor. We loaded the chair together and headed for the summit. We took and easy blue so I could warm up. John headed in to teach a lesson, and I was on my own again. My next run I skied Whistler. This run used to intimidate me. It is a blue, but it is a bit steep. I have skied blacks that are less challenging. Anyway I nailed it. Ice and all. I just rocked this trail time and time again. I met up with a guy named Dan on the trail. He was impressed with the sitski and my skiing. I was impressed with his "Telemark" skiing, so we hit it off and decided to ski together. From the chair-lift I noticed my friend Kirsty and another mono-skier from EPVA skirting the left side of a trail called Warpath. I was feeling very confident with my skiing. So I hit Warpath. It was very icy but I rocked it. I was all over this mountain and feeling good. After Lunch I hooked up with Justin, a friend from EPVA. We skied a bunch of run and they where getting scraped off by now, but that was okay with me. I was using me Atomic Beta Carve 9.26. This ski is the best I skied yet. This thing cuts into the ice and holds on like your on rails. Well, we get to the top and took a right off the lift. This can only mean one thing at Windham, double black diamonds. We're going to do "Upper Wolverine" they tell me. Well like I said I was feeling confident so I was right with them. I follow them down this narrow icy cat walk type path that spits you out onto the steep icy drop-off. It was totally scraped off and a sheet of ice. The drop off was not too long, then it flattened out for about twenty feet, then was the real head wall. I get to edge so I could take a look at this monster double black. Well, this was the steepest trail I was ever on and it was a sheet of ice. I was not scared, but I know I needed to be on my toes. I pick a line and dive into my first turn. I feel my edges slipping a little. "Head and shoulders, down the hill", I'm thinking. I linked up several nice turns until I lost my tail and slid out. Twenty feet later I get up. Then I see that Justin wiped up. This played on my mind a bit, but I linked up a few more before loosing my tail again and sliding another twenty feet. I get up and go for it again. On the last part of the run I was linking them up good until I got to the bump part and I hit a big one off center and lost my tail again. I got up one more time and finished off the run. I consider the run a total success. Falling is not a problem. Losing control is a problem. Slipping the tail of my ski can be fixed with practice. I know if the conditions where better I would have rocked that trail, and I will the next time I am there. I finished off the day on some nice blues, just ripping it up. I was on the road by 4:30. What a great day. I will still try to demo the Pro Comp and post the results. See ya next time.
My cousin Brett came up from Florida to do some skiing at Hunter. Gus and I went up to join him. It was a great day of skiing in the rain. The snow was soft and wet. I was soaked after about three runs, but the weather was warm, about 42 in the morning. I was using my Atomic ski and it was working very well. We skied some blues off "B" lift, and then headed for the summit. The wind was kicking and it was much colder at the top. We skied two runs off the summit and then stuck with the "B" lift for the rest of the day. It was fun to ski with Brett and have a relaxing day on snow. The rain was not bad once you accept the fact you will be soaking wet. After a change of clothes and a coffee I was dry and warm. It was a good day WET, VERY WET, but good.
After a bout with pneumonia and six days in the hospital, I got the ok from the Doc to resume normal life. Jack and I hook up again for a Hunter trip. I wanted to shoot some footage for my new video and Jack was into it. We started the video showing me getting all my gear up to the mountain and then getting into the mono and onto the lift. I was using a new ski. An Atomic Beta Carve 9.26 190 long. I love it! This ski has some great bite on the hard stuff, it turns like a dream and it is very stable in the flats. We skied a few runs with the camera and then free skied the rest of the day. We skied some blues and some blacks. The mountain was in great shape considering all the rain we had. We skied a bunch of runs in the morning and a bunch more in the afternoon. The only problem I had all day was a bad dismount off the quad and one off the triple. I was working on my turns and they are getting much better. Jack was with me all day. Our skiing has improved and we are having great fun skiing together. I did venture into the snow park to catch some air. I got a little off one jump and did not have enough speed to launch off the big kicker, so I just did an up and over. The day was great, a total success for the both of us.
Jack and I hook up with the NJ Ski Bums for a bus trip to Hunter. It was a cold day, but beautiful. The snow guns had been blasting the mountain for a few days, and the snow was great. It was sunny with a few small clouds in the morning. We hit the "B: lift at about 9:30am for the first run. I was getting hung-up on the lift as I dismounted. I will try to figure it out on a warmer day. We did a green then a blue, then headed for the summit. Jack is a scuba dive buddy of mine. He hikes, bikes. camps and all sorts of other outdoor manly stuff. It was his first day back on down hill skis since we skied together last January. He did not miss a beat. We skied a bunch of runs in the morning. I was using my Rossi, Viper, and it was holding up very well. The wind kicked up, the clouds rolled in, and the flurries started. We used the "D" lift for the better part of the day. The mid-station, "7th, Broadway and Kennedy where awesome. I worked on my turns and went over what I learned from my last lesson. Jack was taking it easy with me, he is not a mogul hound so there was no pressure to push it. The snow was great on most of the mountain, but you had to keep your eyes open for the slick spots. After lunch we stayed on the front of the mountain. The visibility was getting poor and the wind was kicking up top. It was a cold one 18F. We skied "D" lift the rest of the day. It was time to go in and warm up. Praise the Most High God! we had a great, safe and blessed day. I think we might do that again in seven days. Thanks Jack.
I booked a lesson at Windham so I could find out how to improve my skiing. My uncle Joe wanted to do some skiing so he picked me up and off we went. I booked the lesson with Frank, and Rick was along in his mono to help. It was overcast with snow flurries all day. The first run was an easy green off "D" lift to get over to the "C" lift. The lesson was great, I used my Rossi, Viper. Frank pointed out my shoulder position and my outrigger position, the good and the bad. Also my disregard for the use of a flat ski in my turn. This is a key point for me and it goes back to my first lessons. I usually do a quick transition from edge to edge. This causes me to build up speed, then I will just hook a hard left turn and dump the speed. I took some time to watch Rick link up some nice skidded turns, what a sight to see. Rick is a very clean skier. He has a very relaxed body position with great countering. Frank had me ski slowly and follow him. The idea was to keep my ski pointed between his skis. This forced me to side slip my turns thus not building up too much speed. It was not easy for me, old habits die hard, and the bad ones will die. I worked on putting it all together, and the rest of the day was some great skiing. We skied a steeper run, and it was a bit icy, but I did not do too bad. The lesson went great, Frank is an excellent teacher, and I really got a lot out of the time we had together. After the lesson I hooked up with my buddy Tim. He too was up for a lesson, and a great day on snow. We skied a nice run. From the chair lift I found some untouched fresh snow under the "B" lift. The powder hound sniffs it out. We blazed that run and called it a day. I really feel like a gained a lot from this lesson, thanks Frank, Rick and uncle Joe for a great day.
Scott Wilson the extreme, elite, mono-man and myself got together for a season warm-up. I was kicking the tail end of a cold and Scott was nursing an injured wrist so we agree to take it easy and ski easy. We loaded on the "B" lift and started the season. I was trying a new ski. A Rossignol Viper 9.3, 198 long. This is a nice ski. Fast with good edge control. I hooked and edge about two hundred feet into our first run and bumped. We decided to take Lower Broadway instead of "gimpy". The snow was great, groomed packed powder, and lots of it. We skied over to the "AA" quad and headed to the summit. We road the lift together all day, with two blunders, both, my fault. Hellgate looked nice and groomed, but the Belt was the run of choice. We skied two runs on the Belt and took a break for lunch. No sense in getting hammered the first day. After a nice break and a good lunch we hit the summit again. Hellgate was looking good so we went for it first run after lunch. It always looks easy from the chair lift. From the head wall the view was a bit more sobering. I took the first turn and after linking a few I lost the tail of my ski and dumped. I slid down about a third of the run and came to rest in a thick pile of powder. Scott blazed the run like he knew what he was doing. I setup behind him and tried to follow his line, we stooped at the top of 7th Ave. This run was looking nice. My belly was full from lunch and I was feeling pretty tight in my mono. Scott and I talked about what we see each other doing and not doing to achieve the perfect turn. We opened it up a bit, you know, kicked it up a notch and blazed down to the lift. Back to the Belt. We skied the belt a few times and went back to hellgate, it was getting a little scraped off, but from 7th down was awesome. We closed the day with two more runs on the belt a total of nine or ten for the day. there was no crowd to speak of we had the mountain to our selves. I feel so much better now. I really got a chance to put together some nice turns and get some good rhythm. I had a great time skiing with Scott, his teaching skill came out, and I got some good tips, thanks Scott!
Well the season is getting off to a late start. Hunter opened and closed two times so far, but that's fine by me. My buddy Gus and I hooked up with Steve from the Ski Bums and went to Hunter for a day of skiing. We hook up with another Ski Bum also Steve at the mountain. The weather was good, a little cloud cover and temps in the 50's. It was spring conditions, rock skis required. It was lift to lift coverage with rubber mats at the base chair lift. I was trying a new shock with a 120/170 progressive spring. From the summit there was only one way down. HellGate to Kennedy. Big bumps, Ice, bare spots and rocks. YES! I started off with my Olin 200 non-shape, but my shock was feeling very soft. After two runs and many wipe-outs I decided to change the shock back to the Carrera. We took another run. The shock was working great, but the 200 length ski was a bit much for me on these conditions. The bumps where HUGE the ruts where DEEP and the snow was soft mash potatoes. I switched to my Olin 185 shape ski and things got better. By this time I was pretty tired so the last two runs where long and tough. I fell, biffed, wiped-out, dumped and bought it about a hundred times in five runs, but hey, I was on snow. My buddy Gus did not walk around in his new boots, so his first two runs where quite painful. Just a note to those of you who choose not to take the time to break in your boots. We skied with Steve and Steve from the ski bums and every one got a chance to pull me out of the ruts in the moguls. The day was a great success, my second day of the season and I was skiing some of the meanest conditions I care to ski. I was getting some real good turns through the bumps and my so called "ski legs" are coming back. As soon as the temps drop here in the east and stay cold Hunter will cover the mountain in one weeks time. Come cold front, come.
YES! my season started. I could not pass up opening weekend at my home mountain Hunter. The snow making started on Tuesday and 72 hours later top to bottom skiing. It was a good first day. I was testing a new shock in my mono and it was a test. Hunter opened with five trails. From the top down it was first "Hellgate" then "7th Ave." to "Broadway" into "Kennedy" to "Lower Broadway" to the lift and up again. Every one skiing and boarding on Hellgate caused some traffic but not bad, and the bumps where growing fast. I have to admit I was a little nervous about it. I went up alone and I would be skiing alone. My first run of the season was most likely to be a black diamond. But I just thought about it and said, "Just get on the snow and stop yapping". The ride up was great, as I ascended up into the mountains it was flurrying and cold. I hit some fog and could not see the mountain until I was on the Hunter access road. I unloaded my gear and picked up my lift ticket, they told me that the snow making the night before was not good. There was cloud cover resulting in a very wet thick mash potato snow. Oh well, I'm here now, I guess its mash potato's. I was taking my time, I was in no hurry to get out. I planed a nice easy day of getting a feel for the ski and the new shock. The snow line was about fifty yards from the lodge so a couple of cool dudes helped my get my rig on the snow. After I was belted in I got a quick cool push to the lift and I was off to the summit. I was hoping they would open the B lift so I could do a warm-up run, but I was ready for hellgate if that was my only choice, and it was. I was using my Olin Radius K 185 to start off my season. At the summit it was a beautiful site. A thick snow base with sugar coated trees, Glory to God! I linked up a few turns, my ski was feeling a little squarely and my water sack was hitting me in the face. I stopped to adjust it and two ski patrol stopped to help. I told them it was my first rum of the year and if they did not mind could they follow me. They did. The ski patrol at Hunter are a very dedicated group and very helpful, just wave a hand when you see the blue and yellow parka. I linked a few more turns hooked and edge and landed my first dump of the season. After a few more turns I was at the head wall of Hellgate. There was a good crowd there it was the only way down. I did not expect big bumps that early, but there they where, all the way down. I pick my line and point my out rigger down hill. My ski seeks the point of lease resistance and away I go. I link two turns and lay in down. I get up quick and find my line again. There are boarders and skiers all over the place just to add to the challenge. As I link up some more turns I am getting a feel for the shock I am trying out. This puppy need more pre-load. It felt link and old Caddie or Lincoln with bad suspension, floating and bouncing. But it was not so bad that I could not control it. I did bottom hard into some ruts as I skied through the bumps. The ski patrol gave me some pointers. I still have the same problem as last year. A nice clean right turn that is uncomfortable for me and a fast hook left turn that is sloppy but very comfortable for me. Anyway, I made it down in one piece and headed up again. This run was better. I took a nice line down Hellgate off the top of some bumps through the ruts, some air. I was ripping it up until I high sided in a long radius right turn. I flipped about two times and face planted. I looked up into goggles full of snow, I pulled them off to see the chair lift passing over head. I raise my fists in Victory "YEEAAHHHH"! I get my self up and there is this dude standing there. "Did you see that" I ask, "Yeah, awesome run, Are you okay" he replies. It was a hard hit and did feel it. The visibility was getting very poor due to fog and I was getting tired. I decided to go in adjust the pre-load on my shock and change my ski and have some lunch. About one PM I got back on the lift. I put on my Olin DtSl 200cm non-shape. It felt much better in the soft thick wet snow. The bumps got bigger and the fog was still lingering at the summit. I skied the run with a few blunders, I was feeling the effects of the day so it was time to pack it in. The worst is over, day one. I feel it in my shoulders, upper back and neck, but I am ready for day two. Nov.7 98 opening weekend, and I was linking turns and getting air. That's what being a ski bum is all about.
Keep The Waxed Side Down!