Sunday, January 3, 2010


With snow falling in Boston, we headed north to ski on real hills. There were several options, although the best (reports of more than a foot in Vermont) was too far for a feasible day trip. We chose to head up to Waterville Valley in New Hampshire because there are big, long hills for striding (okay, that was the draw for me, my folks were interested in the nice trails and scenery).

The snow clearance in Massachusetts was impressive, especially for a Sunday morning. Five inches of snow, and phalanxes of half a dozen plows clearing the whole road shoulder to shoulder. It was good for snow clearing (better than Minnesota) but to pass the plows you had to hold your breath and thread the needle between two plows; staying behind them meant crawling along at 20 mph. The snow let up at the border and we hit the trails before noon.

I first skied up the Livermore Road—a ski trail in the winter—which is a 400 foot striding climb. With the new snow, the track was iffy, but the kick was decent. I came down that trail and, nearing the bottom, turned up the never-groomed but skied-in backcountry trail up to Greeley Ponds, which was surprisingly good. I was able to stride or double pole in the skied in tracks most of the 5k up to the ponds, although up top there was more snow and some big drifts where the wind blew the snow off the frozen ponds—fun to ski through 6 foot drifts (and there were only about 18 inches on the ground). I then turned around and zipped down to the parking lot, executing a couple tele turns at speed and not hitting anyone coming up.

After a well-deserved lunch, I hit up Tripoli Road, also a ski trail in winter, and a favorite haunt of Kris Freeman, who supposedly double poles up most of it. I was more in to striding, which would have been splendid but more new snow was shearing in the tracks. I did some repeats up the 700 vertical climb and then glided down in the snow content. And … it was 25˚ above zero.

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