It was the 28th Jack Frost festival. Being retired, I drove out in daylight on Friday. 1-2" of snow were forecast to fall on Fri. night and Sat. It didn't start until Sat. shortly after dawn but came down fast after that. I took things a little slow in getting there, so it could build up. I skied 2 runs on the open slope in 4" of light powder, my first WV turns of this season, and all was right with the world. Then I volunteered to help set up for the evening festivities and found no lack of things to do. Meanwhile folks began to arrive, a trickle at first, then more and more. All had horror stories about the roads; dozens of cars in ditches and a jack knifed truck that temporarily closed one of the usual routes, I think down near Seneca Rocks. The snow continued and to our amazement fell straight down; no wind whatsoever. ??? Everybody knows that at Whitegrass it always snows sideways. As night fell and the party began, it was a good 8" deep.
What can I say about Jack Frost? Good friends, old and new, good food, good WV 'shine in the shotski, and of course the bonfire to praise Ullr and implore his help for a long deep snowy winter. As the bonfire died down I came in to warm up and a very scary thing happened. The only empty seat I could find was next to 3 musicians warming up. I asked if the seat was available. "Sure" Then someone put a mandolin in my lap and said, "here, play along." I protested that I had no experience and no talent for this and she said, "good, totally raw material. Just listen and trust your instincts" After 15 minutes I thanked her and excused myself, hoping to have not abused anyone's musical sensibilities too badly, having learned something about listening. Mountain music is quick and repetitive. It can be performed with just a couple of instruments, like fiddle, banjo, mandolin. It is easy to understand how a few friends could gather for a foot stomping good time. Each chorus (probably not the right word) is the same as the last one except for a note or two. Where the change comes can be a little tricky. As the performance goes on it has a mesmerizing effect. The musicians for the evening had never played together before. I am in great admiration of the folks who can do that.
I stuck to my healthy living plan and left after that. Just one ceremonial round from the shotski for me, thank you, there would be skiing in the morning. Sunday morning - 18 degrees, bright sun, dry air. Perfect for drying the new powder. A light breeze had come up so there would be some drifting. Perfect. Well, driving in on Freeland Road, I could see that the open slope had hundreds of tracks on it. Inside, while booting up, I learned that many of the well lubricated had skied all night with headlamps. Some had just quit. Not to worry however. A new friend from the night before joined me and we skied out to Springer Orchard. One skier had beaten us to it and the whole slope had just a couple sets of tracks. It skied as smooth as silk; a foot of Utah powder in WV. I had brought the junkboards expecting marginal conditions. http://www.whitegrass.com/0910REPORT/IMGP6696.jpg
Now they are my new WV powder boards.