Smuggler's Notch, VT 12/31/00

Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in eastern US and Canada, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.

Smuggler's Notch, VT 12/31/00

Postby Matt Duffy » Tue Jan 02, 2001 12:06 am

I apologize to anyone who didn't ski these two days.This is going to hurt you. <BR> <BR> <BR> Whoa. This is beautiful. I love you, man. I love everything. I am a butterfly. I am a butterfly and where is my cocoon? It's gone! Grrrrooooovy.... <BR> <BR> Drove to the store directly from the mountain after skiing. Still had all my ski stuff on but goggles & boots. Snow caked all over me, 'specially the hat & neck warmer. I set the beer on the counter and get the standard "How are you today" store greeting. I lose it. Just started laughing at her. She says "never mind. I don't want to know." <BR> <BR> Early pigs get the powder. Sterling's weekend opening time is 8am. I'm a big fat pig. <BR> <BR> Plows had no prayer of keeping pace with the accumulating snow. I came bombing up into the Sterling lot at 7:25am making fresh tracks while driving back & forth in the big empty place; intentionally swerving, fishtailing and sliding sideways. Music was blaring. Snow was swirling. I was already having fun. <BR> <BR> Anticipation - <BR> <BR> A very large horde of local skiers came out of the woodwork to get fresh tracks early on the first morning. The 1st morning of the never ending snowstorm. I'm surrounded by people who are just as eager as I am. By the time Sterling fired up, the corrals were nearly full to the end. The proactive were stretching & adjusting equipment. Nerved up people constantly shifted from one foot to the other. The rarin' to go types leaned on their poles and slid their skis front and backwards. Waiting. Fidgeting. Everywhere, fidgeting. And enthusiasm. Myself included. I was at the front of the line. <BR> <BR> Patrollers were finishing up their early morning runs on Exhibition at 7:45. They purposely did it in a place where we could see them. They were laying down first tracks in the foot or so of fresh powder and snow was flying up all over everywhere. This fired everyone up pretty good as people hooted and hollered at the tops of their lungs. The sky was falling. <BR> <BR> 1st chair to load non-employees contained myself and another person who was solo. Beyond that, I've no recollection of that person. The 6 chairs in front of us contained the 12 Redcoats who put on the exhibition. <BR> <BR> I had a few choices in mind, but hadn't yet committed to which virginity I would steal. Upon silently cascading down the unloading ramp, only one choice made sense: The area with the most snow on the mountain. Wishbone area always has and always will be. It's not expansive or long. But it is a wonderful place and I knew it would be at the top of the list for a lot of people. Always has & always will be. <BR> <BR> There is a 6 foot wide entry to the 'bone, passing under an odd looking tree that grew at a 45 degree angle. Many people snowplow this part. Pitch is close to 40 degrees, for a narrow 30 feet before dumping into a mandatory 90 degree left turn. Into a wide gully-chute you go, with a high pitch closer to 45 degrees steep. About 200 feet go by before intersections with other chutes as pitch gradually mellows until the run spills onto a ski trail. Getting to this place takes effort. <BR> <BR>Here's what it looks like with very little snow: <BR><A HREF="http://geocities.com/mapadu/wish.html" TARGET="_top">http://geocities.com/mapadu/wish.html</A> <BR> <BR> Add deep powder to conjure up what it looked like today. <BR> <BR> So I broke trail. Poling, pushing, walking & kicking through the draperies & Christmas card images of the twisting traverse. All in silence. Dead, eerie silence. <BR> <BR>Back in business - <BR> <BR> I rest upon reaching the 45 degree tree with the moment of truth forthcoming. About to be revealed is my truth. A joyous truth of euphoric magnitudes. In this powder, I can ski as well as I ever have before. I've wanted it so badly; for so long. This is a landmark day for me. I am so happy. <BR> <BR> I fired myself like a torpedo down that narrow tube and annihilated a waist deep curling spine of a drift near it's bottom. It exploded in my face when I shot through and cranked a hard leaning left at the same time. A hydroplaning, quick rounded sweeper which faced me straight down the middle of the steep gully. Snow sprayed hard against my chest, hissing like a snake as I rode the wave back & forth, bobbing and weaving all the way down this crown jewel. For the first time this year, an exuberant piercing scream volunteered itself from my lungs. The trees were scared. I didn't have to avoid them at all today. They were getting out of MY way. <BR> <BR> The rhythm of powder and fat skis- <BR> <BR> The red dot special Back Bowl iteration was virgin # 2. Flex the knees, straighten them. Flex, straighten. Up.... and down. Left and right. Stay in rhythm. Down and under, up and over, left and right. Down and under left and right. Up and over left now hold it. Keep the pose, but lean some more. Dip your knuckles into it and drag them around this giant arc. Fast, fast, fast. Whoosh. Now mirror it. Up & over, down & under. Left right left right fast fast fast. Whoosh. Flex straighten flex straighten right left fast fast fast whoosh. Down & under right, up over left now hold. Lean lean drag. Arcing fast fast fast. Whoosh. Scream. Gone. <BR> <BR> A lot more runs came and went. A lot more powder came and stayed. <BR> <BR> That about sums up this giggling, yelling, white white noisy day. I mostly stayed in undisturbed powder for every whizzing run. I've got a whirlwind of memories that are as scattered as all the snowflakes that flew from under my skis. Eruptions. Laughter. Yelling and screaming like I just won the lottery. Overcome with joy. I'm getting all emotional as I reflect. I..... It's a miracle. <BR> <BR> I'll get to the events of 01/01/01 tomorrow. For now, consider this: <BR> <BR> Snow has constantly been falling for the past 56 hours and counting as of midnight 01/02. <BR> <BR> Whoosh.
Matt Duffy
 
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