Monday, December 5, 2011

First Session of 2011-2012!

Mother Nature is not being very nice to those of us that want to be on the slopes… In the last couple weeks it has been unseasonably warm and rainy. Sugar Mountain has been blowing snow for a couple weeks now off and on and been open for a couple days at a time. However, Beech Mountain had their scheduled opening day for December 3rd and was blowing as much snow as possible at night and during the day when the temps were down.

Winterplace isn’t releasing a lot of information regarding snow blowing or opening dates yet. However, Snowshoe is talking about opening up Friday, December 9th and has mentioned that they are blowing when possible. As you can imagine I am constantly checking the weather forecast and checking the slope cameras to see how things are coming along. Each day has been a disappointment…

A couple weeks back, Will Greene mentioned going up to Boone to watch the playoff game between Appalachian State and Maine. I was able to make the plans and decided to ride up there with him. I had a great time the night before the game as well as tailgating before hand. Unfortunately, App didn’t play too well and Maine won the game. So to release some frustrations, Will and I joined Josh Von Canon on the slopes at Sugar Mountain. Josh had plenty of extra gear for us to borrow and Sugar had the upper and lower flying mile open that night.

After packing up all the gear and stocking the cooler we headed out of Banner Elk and over to Sugar Mountain. (You could hear the snow blowers from several miles away)

“3/4 station” was the farthest you could go up the mountain at this point. This was fine and well until we got there and I realized which off load point that was. This off load point has one hell of a steep ramp leading to the slopes from the chair. First run on the season, unfamiliar gear, slight intoxication… this is not looking good. Thankfully I did manage to get down the ramp safely and continued to do so all night.

First run down felt good! The snow wasn’t great, but it wasn’t icy and all I had to do was dodge the blowers. It was warm 36 degrees out so I was comfortable as well, hot at times. There weren’t a lot of people out that night so we almost had the slopes to ourselves.

After a few more beers and few more runs I had started to get my legs about me again and was starting to push my pace a bit. I started moving out of the main lines and off into the fluff and choppy snow where few people ride. This is normally the area I love to carve, however the board I was on was a park board and it didn’t much care for the rough stuff. So it made it a bit of challenge to keep speed and not bust my ass when riding in it.

The slopes shut down at 10pm that night. We ended up making 7-8 clean runs that night. Well worth the discounted lift ticket price. It was a great warm up for the season and it proved to me that the leg workouts I had been doing to prep for the season are working great. I wasn’t the slightest bit sore that night or the following day.

Hopefully the temps will drop off here soon and the snow will fall. This short session has me even more pumped to get out in the snow, SOON!

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