From fast grass to hobblebush the art of early season skiing, is survival without injury, while seeking the thrill of winter’s past and the anticipation for the winters to come. The thrill when you have to hike up to earn your turns, no lifts running, human powered only. Sometimes there is a lot of snow and other times there is marginal coverage. There exists a thrill in anticipating the arrival of winter.
As we began the Bolton to Nebraska Valley tour all that rang through my head was the theme song to Gilligan’s Island and all I could thing about was this “Three Hour Tour,” honestly I knew it would probably take me more than three hours being my first long tour but I was ready for the challenge. I had just led the Women’s Uphill clinic under the wilderness lift so my legs had already been moving so far in the morning. And 10 hours in ski boots later (mostly because having a nice walk mode is so comfortable), I had successfully gone Bolton to Nebraska Valley plus another tour under the Bolton Wilderness lift for a long day of fun touring with friends both new and old.
While the snow has been falling along with the temperatures our patience grows thin. “Do you have an inch rule?” referring to how many inches on a snow stake before adventuring into the backcountry. We had adventured anyways- with plenty of snow and caution I knew the abilities of everyone I was going with. I find that to be the most peaceful feeling when touring is to be comfortable with the terrain itself and if not the terrain the people you are with.
There is nothing like getting out into the woods with friends and taking yourself out of the normal day-to-day grind to just be in the moment. Having thru hiked The Long Trail the tour was very reminiscent and peaceful.
After patiently waiting through the early season, lifts have begun spinning, the snow has begun falling and exploratory missions grow by the list. Many of us still get out hiking, and some of us only ride lifts but the enthusiasm for winter has finally come back. The thrills keep us going and the always-changing excitement never disappears.