Friday, March 21, 2008

Sparkling Snow and Sapling Sting

Arriving a week earlier than me on the East Coast for the Adirondack Backcountry Festival, Nils Larsen found the best – and later in the week at NATO, the worst – of East Coast conditions. “You East Coasters are a bunch of sandbaggers,” said Nils, but he never hesitates heading into a line.

(John Seibert tours up through the sparkling powder. Photos by Nils Larsen)

I left for my East Coast trip on February 28th and arrived that night in Burlington, VT to full-on winter. I stayed with my good buddy John near Bristol and that night the temperature dropped to -15F. The snow was cold and soft, and we went for a tour in the mountains behind his house. The snow was some of the best I have skied out East, cold and soft with lots of surface-hoar sparkle to the top layer.

(Quick turns in boot-top fluff.)

East Coast skiing is a different animal from the West. The trees are mostly hardwoods, and the absence of leaves in the winter makes them appear more open then our western woods. This, however, is not the case. The uninitiated skier (that's me) quickly learns that those innocuous little one inch twigs sticking out of the snow will garrote you just as fast as the birch, beech, and sugar maple. One always skis with goggles and forearms raised and ready to clear a path...


("Open" hardwoods.)

I’d say if he knows the fine art of forearm branch blocking, Nils is well ahead of the learning curve. Is it really tree skiing if your cheek doesn’t get kissed at least once by a sapling’s sting?

Share on Facebook

No comments: