Here at the Catamount Trail Association it’s typically all work and no play, but occasionally the staff are allowed out of their cages. Earlier this week was one of those moments and Greg and Amy took the opportunity to tag along with our Northern Week-Long Tour as they skied Section 19. This section starts on Route 17 not too far away from Mad River Glen and then follows the spine of the Green Mountains north, hopping from the east side, to the west side at Huntington Gap, and then continues on eventually ending at Camel’s Hump Road. It’s a really fun and beautiful section of trail, but there are some significant climbs, and the descents can be a little challenging on lightweight touring equipment. This is definitely a section where climbing skins are useful, and a slightly heavier setup that’s better for making downhill turns would be appreciated.
The day started off with a slightly smaller group than is typical of our multi-day tours. Nineteen people had originally signed up for this section, but coming off of 3 long days of skiing many of those participants opted to sneak in an extra rest day. So, when we started there were (9) of us. Myself, Amy Kelsey (CTA Executive Director), Peter Cottrell (tour coordinator), Paul Demers (tour coordinator), Bill Herrington, Tif (Tim) Crowell, Pat Sabalis, Mark Hyer (from Virgina), and Rachel Arnold (from Massachusetts). I think this actually worked to our advantage as the day ended up being quite cold with snow and some wind. Smaller groups are easier to keep moving and this makes it easier to keep everyone warm and relatively comfortable.
Once on the trail we encountered very good conditions. It wasn’t snowing when we began, but coverage was great with quite a bit of soft snow in the woods and on the sides of the trail. A little later in the day the snow came and refreshed everything and we probably picked up a couple more inches while skiing. This made for some great turns on the way down to Camel’s Hump Road.
Overall, it was great to get out of the office and socialize with our members and explore part of the trail we work so hard to maintain and make available to the public. We realize that many people head out into the backcountry to escape the crowds, but sometimes it’s nice to ski with a group. On our multi-day tours you almost never have to think about where you’re going, there’s always someone to talk to (if you want), and it’s a great way to find new ski friends.
Anyway, if you like backcountry skiing you should definitely consider tagging along on one of our many tours. In the meantime, enjoy a few more pictures from our day on the Trail.
Amy and Paul cruising along a well maintained section of trail and enjoying the snow that was starting to fall.
Paul traversing one of the many well made and maintained bridges. Our Annual Trail Fund is coming up and bridge projects like this are where that money goes to support. With 300 miles of trail, there is always something that needs fixing, updating, or improving.
Looking back at one of our superstar Tour Coordinators – Peter Cottrell. There is so much organizing that has to happen for one of these tours to go smoothly and our TC’s make it look easy!
Here’s a shot of Bill Herrington taking advantage of a slight downward slope. Bill, actually just finished leading our Southern 4-Day Tour. We just can’t seem to be able to keep this guy off the trail.
Earlier this winter there was a fairly significant storm that depositing a large amount of heavy, sticky snow. That snow ended up bringing down a huge number of trees and bending many of the smaller one over to the point where large sections of the Catamount Trail were totally impassable. Fortunately, we have an amazing team of trail chiefs and they spent a couple of weeks out in the woods cutting, and trimming and clearing. Because of their work the most of this section was easy to follow and very skiable. However, there were still some parts that need some more TLC. Here you can see Mark from Virginia working his way through one of the more challenging sections.
The snow that started falling early in the day… Well, eventually it started to accumulate. here you can see CTA Executive Director Amy Kelsey making some sweet turns on the descent down to the clearing near Trapp Road.
The Catamount Trail is such an amazing recreational asset. With 300 miles of trail there truely is something for everyone. If you want to get out into the woods and see what it’s all about we’re here to help. We offer instructional courses to help you build your skills, and we offer a large number and wide variety of tours for all ability levels, many of which are FREE. You can learn more by poking around our website, or by calling our office.