Camelback / Hunter Mountain 3/22-23/14

Saturday March 22, 2014 and Sunday, March 23
Camelback and Hunter
Variable Conditions

I had some excess in my previously purchased tickets, so I stayed with family in the Poconos instead of going with family up to Vermont this weekend.

Everything was groomed at Camelback except for the moguls on Lower Cleopatra. It skied like packed powder early (on the mountain at 8:25 only behind the passholders), but quickly loosened up as temperatures rose into the 60s with mostly sunny skies. A short period of rain mixed with a little sleet came in around 10:30 when I was planning to take my first break after 20 runs. I don't think I have ever skied Camelback so late in the season, so I have never seen it that empty, even on a day of pouring rain once in the beginning of March. This was their "parking lot party" weekend, so I imagine a few passholders were off participating in that.

With the high-speed lifts to the summit only taking three to three and a half minutes, it was just a matter of how fast I could negotiate the flat portions of runs at the top and bottom. Around noon, the spring conditions were out in full force, as even the small crowds had managed to push the snow around to form bumps on the steeper trails. The parks were in great shape with soft landings and fast enough tracks to approach, even as it warmed. As it is Camelback's 50th season, I figured it would be appropriate if I finished with 50 runs for the day, my most ever at any mountain, which was done around 3:30.

On Sunday morning, I took the scenic route to Hunter, avoiding highways, taking about two and a half hours, spotting a bear for the first time running near the road and also turkeys in their courtship process. I made it onto the lift around 9:15, and it was a much colder day than Saturday with a little more wind, as well. Conditions on groomed trails were much the same, with a little more natural snow remaining on the mountain. Ungroomed trails were "closed" early in the day, I'm guessing because of how crusty they were from yesterday's melt and refreeze, but I was ready earlier than the mountain was and went past the signs on Lower K-27. I would suggest waiting until you're sure it is warm enough, but it was still skiable with one fall. I ended up taking it three more times, finally making it fall-free on the fourth try, though slower on the last run of the day.

Based on the condition of Lower K-27, I was prepared to take Westway because I had never skied it and it looked well covered, but it actually had a rope across the top of the trail. I was going to wait until later in the day in case my ticket was pulled, but by the time I was ready, Clair's Way, which had an access point, was also roped off. It was groomed, but very icy, so I figure patrol was not willing to keep it open late. Moguls were also on Upper Crossover and Upper 42nd Street. The park on Park Avenue was decent while Lower Broadway was closed; looked like bigger jumps there for a recent competition. It was cold all day with a few minutes of flurries thrown in, but most trails ended with an icy flat section and a bumpy section. It was also not too crowded here, as I was able to avoid the slow quad at the base and there was line control at the six-pack only two of the times that I was there.

I ended with 30 runs at Hunter, but 4,000 more vertical feet than the previous day at Camelback, for 72,500 on the weekend, according to Alpine Replay.

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