On our first ride up this morning - freezing rain with goggles collecting frozen fog and massive, chair slowing/closing wind, we agreed to try to stick it out for an hour. The Gondy and Six were on wind hold and Rex was slow and stopping often. One run down The Valley convinced us we needed to get out of the wind and headed to Northway.

Snow conditions ranged from wind crust to rain crust to sun crust. Often all 3 in the same turn. But the pockets of blown in light snow were it was smoothish convinced us to keep poking around. Northway was the right choice as the trees and crevices kept the wind at bay and new snow had filtered down. Four of our stashes kept us pleasantly surprised and busy for the morning. Stashes that really aren’t very hidden, just out of the way enough that the holiday masses pass them by. The top of Northway getting to Bruce’s Bowl and/or back t’wards Green Valley should be a deterrent to all that don’t have dad at home tuning skis. But it wasn’t, as the first-time-this-season skiers confidently skidded over the rocks with grimace inducing scrapes and crunches. Hope they’re getting new skis for christmas. As the hordes ground their way down to create a line at Northway, we eye’d the weird weather and a new plan.

The weather had been vacillating between extremes of sandblasting ice crystals, heavy snow, clear blue patches, and thick fog. The only consistent thing was wind - always at the ridge top, lower down it was sometimes a south wind, sometimes a north wind, always swirling snow out of the trees. Funny thing, wind was the only part of the weather not mentioned in any forecast.

As many of the gang had headed off to prepare for christmas festivities, there were just 2 of us left today. As the sun came out, on a line from the base to Grubstake Peak, (it remained snowy, gray, and nasty south of that line) we two linked patches of greatness into some round trip T2Bs. As often is the case in officially weird conditions, North Valley Bowl to C-3 chairline to Sluiceway to the Berry Patch to Lower E was excellent. Throw in some forays into Bear Pits and our hope to last till 10:00 was dashed as we tore up Lower E’s bumps on the third round tip at 1:00. An inch of new (ok, weird wet, crystaly new) covered our previous Lower E tracks and it was snowing heavily at the base and sunny with good vis at the summit. Don’t ask questions, just ski.

The days of holiday festivities are starting behind me. Happy christmas and a merry new year. See ya next week



The main forecast is for holiday crowds. The weather looks to continue wild tomorrow, but minimal new snow. Christmas will be excellent weather with lots of rocks in the transitions and ridges, especially the wind swept ones. Monday into tuesday bring some not-enough precip and then sunnyish days through new years. We need some big wet snow dumps that are not in the forecast.