Snowshoe Trip Report April 2-3 2005
So, we decided to plan one last trip to Snowshoe for some spring skiing. As of Friday 4/1, the weather forecast was not looking good -- rain was predicted for the weekend, and we were expecting a washout.
It rained most of the night on Friday, and mixed in with snow early Saturday morning. We were expecting poor skiing Saturday, and bracing for rain. Turns out the forecasts were very wrong, in our favor!! No more rain fell on Saturday, and we even had scattered snow showers. Despite Friday's rain, the slopes were in excellent shape for spring. More of a wet granular than slush, and firm/packed over most of the mountain. We skied the main mountain in the morning and it was really encouraging to see how well the trails looked. The base is holding up very well.
Later on, we headed over to Cupp Run and Shays. They looked bad on first glance -- thin spots and bare patches -- but it turned out to be some of the best skiing on those trails I can remember. The moguls were soft and forgiving (huge monsters on lower Shays, where I could actually ski on the "back" of the bump!) and there was plenty of snow all around the bumps. There were large bare patches on flat sections of the trails but they just made it interesting. Signs at the top warned that walking might be required in some sections, but we managed to find creative ways to jump & turn around the dirt. It was a lot of fun, and I have not enjoyed this kind of "extreme" skiing in many years. This was a case where every turn counted and it was exciting, but not dangerous in any way. I was even skiing on my good skis (Fischer RX-8) and was not worried! If you can make turns under pressure, this is fun fun fun.
Saturday night, it howled wind (enough to shake the Powder Ridge condo we stayed in) and snowed most of the night. Sunday morning, we awoke to find a nominal 5" of fresh snow, and it was nice and light (overnight temps were in the teens). Some trails had been groomed to corduroy, others had 3-5" of new cover, and edges on many of the trails had 12-15" of drifts. It was some spectacular skiing, and by far the best skiing I have experienced in April at SS. The only downside is that many lifts (including Cupp/Shays) were closed because of continued high winds, but crowds were small so it was not a major problem, just limited access to some trails. We skied our butts off all morning to take advantage of the fresh snow, and made some awesome first tracks. In the afternoon, it was nice packed powder that gradually got heavier as the day wore on. Still, some excellent snow.
One of the nicest things about the weekend was the light crowds. We really had the mountain to ourselves. In many cases, our group of 5 were the only people on the trails at a given time. It's a totally different experience than when I skied at SS in early March when it was crowded.
So, anybody thinking of skiing at SS this week -- get out there while you can!! In fact, I wish I were skiing there today (Monday 4/4) because it will be a true bluebird day on the slopes. I bet they groomed it up real nice last night.
The summary: don't let the weather predictions govern your ski weekend!! What looked like a washout turned out to be my best skiing of the season. Fresh snow in April is about the best way to end the season, so get out there and enjoy it!!
PS: SS has a very deep base, easily over 48" in most spots on the main mountain. If they wanted to, they could knock down the high spots and groom the trails for another 1-2 weeks of skiing.
"The summary: don't let the weather predictions govern your ski weekend!!"
Spoken like a true snowsports enthusiast. It's amazing how often questionable ski weather seems to work out ok for those who are properly motivated. Or in your case better than ok. Way to go.