Bretton Woods, 11-15-2014

After dinner on Friday night I put on my brand new Dalbello Panterra 120 ski boots with ID thermo liners to further break them in. I poured myself a double Gentleman’s Jack Daniels on the rocks and pondered where I would make my first turns of the year the next day and what skis I would ski. I choose Bretton Woods for several reasons, I have a free skiing voucher for there, they received two inches of snow on Thursday and they have been closed during the week which means the surface will be fresh. The Mount Washington Resort and Bretton Woods is also a very special place for me. I will ski with my Atomic Supercross or K2 Apache Explorers, I will choose which ski in the morning. In my office I have been looking at for three weeks my brand new 187 cm Blizzard Brahma skis with brand new Atomic STH16 medal housing bindings (no plastic housings for this boy). Early Saturday morning I put the brand new Blizzard skis in my car, I couldn’t take looking at them anymore without skiing them. I reached deep into the CD closet and took out the Charlie Daniels Saddle Tramp CD to listen to on the 1 ½ hour drive to Bretton Woods.

Upon reaching Plymouth snow flurries were floating in the air. By the time I got to Lincoln there was a little fresh snow alongside the interstate and it became apparent that the mountains received a little snow overnight. Driving through Franconia Notch I saw that someone had rode the right side of Avalanche leaving perfect snow board “S turns” for all to see. Whoever it was (probably an A-Zoner) can be quite proud, there was just enough snow to accomplish the feat. Getting off the Interstate onto Route 3 the drive through Bethlehem into Twin Mountain revealed about two inches of snow had fallen in this area leaving the two lane highway snow packed and slick. Finally arriving at Bretton Woods with gray skies and 19 degrees in the parking lot. The snow guns were blasting.

I made it to the lift just before 8 am and at 8:05 the operators opened the lift for first chair. On the ride up I inspected what mountain operations had accomplished on the one and only run open. The mile long Rangeview slope served by the Zephyr high speed quad had a deep layer of manmade and natural snow on it. There was a groomed track top to bottom about 30 yards wide. To the skiers right of that track there was another track about 15 to 20 yards wide top to bottom that was not groomed. I knew right away that the ungroomed track would prove to be very good. As far as I’m concerned, the skiing got better and better as the day went on. The groomed track needed to be carved up by skis and it then became quite nice, firm and fast. The ungroomed track kept getting better and softer as the day went on. The bottom half of the run was under snow guns all day making it even softer. Around 10 am it started to snow a little; big, fluffy flakes and this left a winter time feeling for all. Around noon the sun came out and made things even better on the ungroomed track, it really was very good; especially for November. I would have skied all day had not my legs given out by 1pm. There were no lift lines and by noon most were done for the day. This left the slope wide open and I was able to turn the Brahmas (Bulls) loose to discover what is in store for me this winter. The gentle slope and conditions restrained the Bulls and only allowed them to show about 75 percent of what they are capable of. I could feel their energy and they were eager for a lot more. I will have to wait for bigger, wider and steeper terrain to open before I will discover their true capability. I know I will be very pleased with the beasts as I have now begun to find their sweet spot. The brand new Dalbellos were fantastic, some mild tingling in the left foot that went away after a couple of hours and their walking mode is a nice option to have.

The lodge at Bretton Woods is the nicest ski lodge in the state and I enjoyed a Jack Daniels on the rocks at the bar for après ski. I walked out to the deck with drink in hand and with most of the Presidential Range now in bright sunlight I made a toast to the first day of skiing and to the resort. Bretton Woods and the Mount Washington Hotel is where I was married on New Year’s Eve. We had a three day destination wedding and it snowed all three days, the slopes were almost 100 percent open. After skiing powder all day, bride and groom on snow shoes came out of the woods behind a ski house that we had rented and we exchanged wedding vows late afternoon while it was snowing. Behind us was nothing but wilderness that sloped upwards towards the Presidential Range which was hidden in clouds and falling snow, it was a true winter wonderland.

I finished my Jack Daniels on the rocks and headed home listening to Charlie Daniels again. Song of the day was his tune Saddle Tramp:

Well you stay up late and you drink too much whiskey
You know that sort of thing is kind of risky
Maybe it’s because you like to feel frisky
Maybe it’s because you like to feel free

I swear, Jack Daniels and Charlie Daniels, both from Tennessee, have to be related?
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