Wachusett – 12/27/12

Wachusett - 12/27/12

Conditions: Powder/PP/etc

I've been hanging here for a while, but rarely post, so, here's my first trip report:

Woke up in the Boston area to pouring rain. Hit the road early to try to be at Wachusett right at 8 and ready to go. Upon arrival, looked like 6" or more at the base.

I lucked out - I had an early season voucher that had expired, but figured it was worth asking if they'd let me use it as I'm a weekday pass holder etc - I was in luck! Saved me cash I shouldn't spend.

Didn't quite make first chair, they were running before 8, but it looked like I was the 5th or so down. Conifer was closed at first, grooming for some reason I guess, so I lapped 10th Mountain a few times. Felt like a foot of fresh snow, hard to tell how much really. Then hit Conifer a few times and a few (not so) secret little cut throughs off of it - tons of fun. Lower Balance Rock wasn't technically "open", but had no rope and was great.

Then lapped the Minuteman chair for a while, hit the 3 open trails over there a few times each. Hit a few park features, not usually my thing, but I was feeling it - no epic bails.

Around late morning the ongoing snow transitioned to freezing rain / painful mist. It was odd - on each lift, the lower mountain was calm, then at a certain spot you'd ride into dense fog and the wind kicked up at the same spot. Visibility at the top of each lift was bad to start the day, and got worse as the day went on.

It was almost time for lunch, but I wanted a little more first - so I lapped the Modadnock beginner area chair for a bit; obviously very mellow pitch over there, but no one had hit the untracked areas on the sides of the trails, so that was fun for a bit.

Chowed down lunch, chilled for a few, then headed out for what ended up being kind of a mini-repeat of the morning - hit the Minuteman runs 4 more times, then the 2 summit runs a few times. The morning had been very uncrowded, but it looked like a few clown cars unloaded around 1pm - still no real wait for the lifts, but a lot more trail traffic, snow plowers, crashes, kiddie conga lines… Also, the mist had taken it's toll and while still fun, any untracked or loose snow was getting heavy and slow; Riding down 10th, with visibility at negative zero, I was cautious through the steep section, now filled with soft bumps and ruts. As it flattened out and I contemplated whether to poach Salamander, I hit something that sent me down hard on the same side I bruised ribs on skateboarding last spring - ouch. Still went for Salamander, which was awesome, but would have been more so if I wasn't all blown out from biting it. I rallied for one more down Conifer - and wouldn't you know, coming over the bump / jump-out from one of the little cut throughs I mentioned, crashed on the same side yet again - my day was definitely done!

Overall an awesome day. Good to get some natural snow after last year's dearth - I think they should be able to get everything open soon. Clearly my best day of the year thus far (a few times at Wachusett with no summit in play, a day at Mt Snow, and Christmas day at Ragged, which was almost on par with today).

Whoa, that was longer than I expected...

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