Gunstock (Night) 12/29/15


Conditions: Untracked crusty dense new snow on poached trails, soft varying surface on open trials ranging from cut up powder to soft bumps to ice.

Trip Report:

It had snowed or sleeted much of the day and our thinking was to slay some powder and opted to head to Gunstock for some night skiing even though the trail count was low. It was $14 each with advanced purchase (night before) so not a big loss if it did not pan out. I think their claim was 6-8 inches which was about right. The plan – get there at 4 and ski until closing at 8.

When we arrived we were excited to see everything in white and convinced ourselves that there would be a whole lot of poaching going on. We got our gear on and made the trek up to the Ramrod Lift – I hate that walk (shows me how out of shape I am) especially in dense yet soft snow. The only two real runs were Smith and Tiger. Upper Smith is like a run out but at the beginning of a run. We started with Smith and it was in pretty good shape with the exception of some icy patches at the beginning. Otherwise is was a combination of tracked up powder and small bumps where snow got pushed up. The next run we decided to poach Phelps. The snow looked really good. However, it was like skiing in cement while there was powder from earlier snow fall (first 4 inches), the top layer was wet and crusted over making turns was a lot of work. So then we opted for a fun poach on Ramrod Race where we skied that a couple of times until we noticed ski patrol paying attention. That was a lot of fun and the rollers were a great launching point. Too bad that run gets flattened out for the Nastar course. Our boys got after that a few more times. We then decided to make some runs on Tiger. The entrance on to tiger was fairly icy. We started down that run and where the pitch steepens it was all ice, apparently from others putting the brakes on. The snow did get pushed up into a short bump run but the troughs were icy as well making it unpredictable. After that pitch is was fine and was basically chopped up powder. Our next run on Tiger we opted to go down in the side there the WORD was not. Others had skied/snowboarded there so why not. It was not like Phelps and skied fairly well but there was a whole lot of scraping going on. In the end we basically skied Smith a few more times. The only tough part of the night was dealing with freezing drizzle which iced up on our goggles and icy patches that were hard to see due to flat light. Much against my wife’s wishes, and for the hell of it we went to the Penny Pitou Lift and skied the one run over there (Peepsight) – that is a flat area over there. The idea bomb it and head to the lodge. That did not happen and ended up skating to the lodge. At that time it was around 7 and time for food and beer. Our plan to ski until 8 did not happen primarily due to boredom and hunger.

Was it worth it, absolutely. But what I did learn, 6-8 inches of snow does not help a whole lot in terms of covering refrozen WORD. I wish they would have groomed the runs with a nice corduroy pattern prior to snow falling which would have helped some. And … just because something looks poachable does not mean that it is, but it could be – never know until you try.

Tiger (note the scrapped off section)


Phelps (poached)


Ramrod Race (poached)


Crust that was on the surface

Attached Images

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