While I enjoy just about all the different forms of skiing, skinning up a mountain is one of the most gratifying experiences in the world, to me. After breaking my ankle almost 3 months ago I was a little uncertain about what the first time out would feel like, so I took it step by step (pardon the pun). Saturday, I decided to do one uphill adventure at Windham and then meet Robin at Mohawk on Sunday for more fun.
After buying my Uphill Seasons Pass for Windham Mountain, $25, I started skinning up Whiskey Jack trail. Ankle was feeling good and everything else for that matter was feeling good, too. If everything was good then I would try for 3/4s of the way which was fine, too. At that point, I decided to go for the summit. About 200 yards from the top, someone I knew from work stopped to say hello.
Getting to the top was easy and now came the hard part, going down. After taking off my skins I put on a helmet and a jacket. I learned that while going up can be a warming affair, going down can also be bitterly cold. It was a little sketchy getting into my telly turns and the icy conditions of man made snow weren't helping either but I got down in one piece.
Saturday's weather, while pleasantly cold, was gray and dreary, but Sunday was a blue bird, that is until the wind started up.
There's been a change in the Mohawk Uphill policy but of course you wouldn't be able to tell anything from their website (maybe the changes are forthcoming on the interwebs).
As Robin and I started skinning up our usual route, The Ledges, a ski patroller with Tele gear stopped to chat and informed us that the policy has changed. All uphillers have to use one slope to skin up, Mohawk.
It makes no sense. Why send everyone up a slope with very poor sight lines and where everyone is flying down. All it's going to take is one kid to loose control and come barreling down the hill flailing his/her arms like they are rolling down the car windows only to crash into someone coming uphill. Not to mention all the jumps on the side of the slope that snowboarders think are cool but when you are facing them they don't seem to have a lot of control upon landing.
As mentioned earlier, the sight lines on the right side of the slope are also poor. It just doesn't make any sense. And then on our third skin up, somebody yelled at us from the chair that we had to be no more than 2 feet away from the edge of the slope. WFT?
What they should do is have all uphill skiers take the easy slope on right of the side of the mountain, called the Ledges. It's still wide open but flatter and a novice slope. Beginner skiers are going slower and it's much easier to get out of one's way.
The conditions at Mohawk were superb and my turning was tight, I was really dropping that knee. At the end of our third run down we stopped in at the Patrol Shack to offer up some advice on the recent changes to the uphill policy. We are hoping they apply a little common sense. I hope they don't take it away. It's the only game in town that's still free.