Monday, January 17, 2011

Green Mountain Backcountry Adventures

I miss the fabulous tree skiing of the east coast.  I recently spent 30 days in Upstate New York visiting the family, and was rewarded with a ski trip in Northern Vermont to ski the steeps of the East.  Long time ski partner Pat Cuffe and I spent 3 days skiing in the Green Mountains.  After a lift served mandatory penance at Killington, we headed north to unchartered territory (for us) in the Jay State Forest.

The night of our arrival greeted us with 8" of low density blower powder.  All the groomers were boilerplate, but the trees held the goods.  Skiing runs like "Timbuktu", "Andre's Paradise" and "Beaver Pond Glade", we stuck to the glade skiing all day long - making the brutal ride up the chair facing 60mph wind gusts worth it.  After a burger and brew at the Tram Haus Lodge, we got after it the next day with some Jay Peak side country.  Not before some medication for my knees....800mg Motrin and all the whiskey my stomach could handle.
We broke trail from Jay Peak to Big Jay, on an illegally cut trail by the Jay Peak Resort crew in 1998.  But this makes the access relatively easy via the 1 mile trail to the wooded plateau summit of Big Jay.  The drifted soft snow wasn't a challenge and the views were epic, with both Mount Washington in New Hampshire and Mount Marcy in New York visible on our ascent.
I've skied with Pat for nearly 20 years.  And I think this single run down the east face of Big Jay was the pinnacle our our ski pursuits.  From skiing across the street from his house in Chadwicks, New York to dropping the "nipple-deep" powdery riches of Vermont's Yellow Birch and White Pine gladed runs - this one certainly comes out on top.  Just minutes before dropping into the white room...

I couldn't possibly explain how good the skiing was, so I put together a small video.  This tour can be found in David Goodman's eastern backcountry bible, Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast: 50 Classic Ski Tours in New England and New York.

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