Sunday, October 30, 2011

Christmas in October II

Zen shot of Brad pulling out his only real turn.
For all of you hunters/skiiers out there waiting anxiously at the top of tree stands this weekend for a chance to put a cap in Bambi's A@@, well you really did miss out on the big payoff. The meal ticket. Christmas in October 2.

This is the second year in a row that Nor'EasterBC has been making October schuss. We were on the slopes at KMart on Oct 16th last year for an epic high mountain Nor'Easter, and had a chance to do it all again this morning on Ascutney, every lazy BC skier's favorite private playground.

Snowboards are for carrying up, and down.
This year we've added a chick to the fold, for all you gender equality nuts out there. My sister Kara will hopefully join us more than once to show us how important it is to not try snowboarding in the backcountry.

Why Ascutney, you might ask? Well, it's 20 minutes from where Brad and I live. And there was just no way we had the relationship creds with the respective wifies to make it to Greylock (25+ inches overnight), after our epic fall outing to Burke yesterday (4 hours and 25 miles of single track. Sorry, no pics. You've seen it all before anyway).

Ascutney is also a great backcountry area thanks to the mismanagement of its last ownership, which has left the classic Vermont ski town of Brownsville with all the accoutrements of a real lift serviced powdery paradise, but none of the lifties, grooming, snowmaking, or snow bunnies of a fully functioning mountain. This is Ascutney's second year out of service and judging from the overgrown grundlefloss and ghost town--I mean base area--it looks like it won't be the last.

If you've been considering a POW day at Ascutney, there's no reason to wait. Rumors circulated earlier last year about posted signs and an angry and overweight local sheriff with nothing to do. As far as I can tell, the signs are down and Officer Friendly was no where to be found this morning. So, feel free to ride dirty, and definitely at your own risk.

You are here. I mean, we are here. You are at home.
Cuidado amigo.
Ascutney has an unassuming approach that will leave you feeling like you'll be at the top in no time. You won't. Ascutney is steep, and its ungroomed trails cover a minefield of rebar, rock slab, and iron piping just below the surface. Not easy on the up or down. I don't often put my tele knee pads on before the downhill (insert tele kneepad joke here), but a few good slides today on the way up had me wishing I did. And, as I always seem to forget, the shortest distance between two points is always a straight line, but the fastest way to the top is almost never right up the lift line. After about an hour of solid humping, the summit was ours, but not without a lot of hard work and some seriously schweddy balls.

We didn't get first turns, but we did get the honor of sloppy seconds. A few UVM students were able to remain sober enough last night to get up at 5 this morning and make the 2 hour drive to get the powdery freshness before us. And they were rewarded for their hard work and dedication. We, however, slept in, had pancakes, sipped tiny coffees and talked about Kafka, and finally made it to the slopes at 11. Our snow was fresh, but it wasn't powdah. The mercury rose about 10 degrees over the course of our ascent, and while the mountain top was chocked to the nines with pow, but it wasn't quite fluffy enough to schuss. It also wasn't sloppy enough to keep you on top. So, with ski and snowboard tips diving away into the grundlefloss, we made our way cautiously back to the base lodge.
Winter 2012, as seen from 2011

I like to say the measure of a good October ski day isn't in the number of quality turns you make, it's in the number of completely attached anterior cruciate ligaments you come down the mountain with. And we all have ours still, so it was a pretty good day.

What I think I'll take away most from today's ski isn't the quality of our outing, or the company (I really hate Brad sometimes, and don't even get me started on my sister), but the almost child like excitement that we all ascended today to ski some of the gnarliest, hairiest, flossiest chowdah I've ever put my ski tips in.

Brad's smiling because he farted. And he's skiing.
It's good to know that, for the next 6 months, I'm lucky enough to live within a 3 hour drive of something to ski. If you can't say the same, and your jealousy about my life is consuming you, then it's probably time for a change.

If you're not going to move to ski country, at least come leave your ski dollars in my state and go back to New Jersey when you're done.


  1. Mank-tastic! I'm sure it was a sufferfest but I'm still pretty jealous. Now will somebody PLEASE get that woman a splitboard!

  2. splitboards cost too much, its the primary reason why I picked up tele....

  3. Split board kit = $100, Power saw = $40, Skins = $100: Not tele-skiing = Priceless

  4. this would be better than a knee pad joke if you hadn't been beat to the punch by Mastercard