Wednesday, January 9, 2008

XCD on the UVM Campus

Blog reader submitted Peter Wadsworth submitted this entry earlier in the week on what XCD skiing means to him, and it perfectly captures the versatility of XCD and the freedom of winter exploration that it’s built for.

The University of Vermont is known for being close to good skiing, but few people realize just how close it is. Centennial Woods is a 65-acre tract of forest literally on the UVM campus and entirely within downtown Burlington City limits. It is bordered by a minor league baseball stadium, a town dump, an interstate highway and a housing development. It also has some great skiing.

(Jessie-Willow Janowski and Carter the dog heading out for a dusk tour. Photo courtesy of Peter Wadsworth)

To me the very idea of backcountry skiing is skiing in un-tamed terrain and in places that the masses don’t think to go. And XCD skiing is learning to make the most of every bit of terrain, to close the gaps between isolated stashes, to discover those little bits of ‘gnar’ lurking everywhere. With XCD, “backcountry” can suddenly be found in the backyard.

(Peter Wadsworth and Carter run back up for more. Photo courtesy of Peter Wadsworth)

I get out of work and meet my UVM med-student wife arriving from class with only one hour of daylight left. We grab our “schwack” skis and take the dog skiing in Centennial Woods, right outback of the hospital. By linking a few gladed slopes, an old fire road, and a powerline break we can get dozens of real powder turns and hundreds of feet of combined vert. We also get several miles of running/gliding with the dog. We usually ski well past dark, pushing our limits as we thread sketchy turns between the big trees and drop into little gullies where the dog walkers and hikers never go.

(Good friends making dusk tracks in Centennial Woods. Photo courtesy of Peter Wadsworth)

When we slip back out of the woods and into the pub we sometimes smile to ourselves as we hear all the UVM students comparing their days skiing groomed slopes at the resorts an hour’s drive away. If only they knew how close UVM is to great skiing.

-Peter Wadsworth

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yeah tell them about the nice drop off the back of the maintenance shop behind East Ave. Don't forget to tell them about the glades off the dog park or the nice jumps I built out behind the Sheraton as well. How about the steep face shots off the guard rail at the hospital that drop onto East
Ave. Don't forget the Intervale drops and Convent hill drops onto
Riverside Ave. Plus the Battery Park drops too!