The Mt. Mansfield woods are a bit different than any other. They twist, turn, tighten, widen, cliff out, disappear, reappear, and receive snow like you wouldn’t believe. The trees are gnarled and weathered from generations of existence in an environment with 100+ inch snow packs, cold temperatures, and arctic winds. Sometimes you will be skiing a line you’ve been through a hundred times when you decide to take a turn that you never noticed before, and suddenly you’re completely disoriented, unsure if your next turn will lead to a rocky precipice or a powder laden chute. In many places, the only reason the trees can survive at all, and the environment hasn’t become a genuine alpine zone is because of the fact that the vegetation will get completely buried at some point later in the season. This season however, the woods were skiing quite poorly, and none of the trees were anywhere near being submerged. That was, at least, until last week’s storms. While Mad River Glen was buried in absolute fluff courtesy of Lake Ontario, up at Stowe the snow, although deep, was of a different variety. Up there, we were skiing a dry cold snowpack that had been seriously affected by winds at upper elevations.
Allen’s video begins to tell the tale nicely.
But what really gets it started is a game of Avalanche Tag: “You’re it, Greg!” (skier – Sam)
“There aren’t any rocks under here, right guys?” (skier – Allen)
Whether it’s to a blind turn, a drop, or a thin snow pack, in Mansfield’s woods you should expect to have to commit. If that unnerves you, call it a day and head to the bar, or carry some beer in your bag–either works fine. Some of these mandatory drops are small…
…some are medium…
…and some are slightly more significant. (skier: Allen)
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