Monday, October 31, 2011

TR: Pico 10/30/11

Remember when I said that the recent snowfall wasn't quite enough for an early season turn-earning session? I lied.

We got a late start after Saturday night Halloween festivities, finally rolling out of the house around 9:30. We just wanted to head up to the Killington area, decide if we wanted to pay for a ticket or not, and have a lazily awesome opening day. We did a little recon at Pico on the way by, checked the snow depth, scanned the ski tracks looking for deep gashes down to dirt, etc. We needed supplies anyway, so we pressed on towards Killington. After a quick stop at the deli for sandwiches and water, we pulled into the dropoff area for the K base Lodge, and I was already not feeling it. There were a lot of people milling around, there was a cattle line at the Gondola, and looking up the mountain, there was a steady stream of people going towards the North Ridge Triple. And when I say "steady", I mean "neverending".

We got the hell out of there. The parking lot at Pico was a ton better. There were a couple chill guys coming down that gave us some beta: "a little bit of everything". Sounds like fun.

We started hiking while the clouds were still sticking around.  The skin track was sweet:

The hiking was easy and fun.  In the picture above, you can see that the upper mountain blacks were in "questionable" shape.  We hiked all the way up to the point where the high grass started.  Did I mention it was easy?

And fun?

Yeah, I was rocking the stache (left over from my Halloween costume).  It took us an hour and a half to get up to that point just below the top.  After that, the fun started.  Sorry I don't have any sick action shots.  I was just having too much fun skiing.  Here's what the snow was like:

It was freaking great.  I don't know if it's because we were all rocking fat skis, or because we followed some sage advice to stick to the mellow blue square pitches, but none of us bottomed out at all.  After tooling around for a while, we headed down.  Here's a semi-action shot:

The untracked stuff was fine as long as you had enough speed to get your skis to plane, enough power to be able to move your skis where you wanted them, and enough ability to make the necessary balance adjustments for the snow and occasional water bars.  Simple!

The whole day was really fun.  We saw a bunch of mellow people, a lot of dogs, and a few hardcore kids (9-10 years old, I'd say) with their parents who hiked all the way up to where we were (and then skied tele down!).  And if you hadn't noticed, the sun came out:  

We finished with a couple of beers on the deck (I had some Keystone Light left over).  Perfect end to a perfect day:

As you might have noticed, I played with the color saturation on these pictures, so they kind of look like Technicolor.  I thought it was fitting because the whole thing was kind of surreal.  All those people crowding Killington, and this (relatively) untapped Shangri-La was right down the road.  Crazy.  Not only that, as we drove through Rutland, and back to the ADKs, we went from the deep snow depths of winter to the leaf covered grass of fall.  There wasn't any snow on the ground at all by the time we got back to Queensbury.  The only signals we had from the official beginning of the 2011/2012 ski season were the droplets of water on our skis and the pictures on our cameras:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Winter's Coming

Sorry I've been a little lax on the blog lately. I've been dealing with some stuff. You can follow me on Twitter @mattchuck2, or on my twitter feed that appears on the right, and I have been posting a lot of cool links, internet videos, and other interesting stuff on there.

I just really haven't been able to get out anywhere lately. That'll change soon, though, as I finally got my mountain bike light back. That means I'll be able to start night riding again (which is awesome). And, as you can see from this picture of my street, winter is right around the corner:

Don't think it's quite enough for a early season turn earning session (I'll leave that to FIS), but it's definitely getting near that time. I can't freaking wait . . . If there was ever a year that I need skiing, this is it. Let's do this.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mountain Biking - Otter Creek + Floodwood 10/9/11

Did a lap on my normal mountain bike route up around the Fish Creek Pond Campground. It's about 8 miles or so, and it takes me about an hour an a half when I stop to take pictures.  I took a lot of pictures on this trip:

The ride starts out on the road towards the campground, but you don't mind because of views like this:

I cruised into the campground and it was pretty empty.  Half of the sites were closed and only about half of the remaining sites were filled.  There is a nice gravel path that I rode on right next to the main road:

But eventually I had to cruise back to the road so that I could get to the Rollins Pond Campground.  Doesn't matter.  It was still beautiful:

Once you get into the Rollins Pond Campground, you just have to keep going all the way to the end.  It's really nice this time of year because the park is closed, the sites are empty, and the roads are covered with fallen leaves:

Make sure that the campsite numbers keep going up, and eventually you reach the end of the line and this sign:

Once you turn on to the Otter Hollow Loop, the singletrack is sweet:

Once you hit this bridge, you head over to the Floodwood Pond Trail (which we did earlier this year):

Neither trail is very technical. This is about as tough as it gets:

It was a fun trip, but it would be better if I had someone to ride it with.  If anyone wants to rip around, on mountain bikes or skis (soon), let me know because I have a lot of free time all of a sudden.