To ski or not to ski….300 miles of Vermont!
It takes grit to ski the entire length of the Catamount Trail. We call folks who do this “End-To-Enders“, and since the inception of the Catamount Trail nearly 70 intrepid skiers have completed all 31 sections of trail. Some complete the Catamount Trail section by section, over the course of several years. Others choose to “thru-ski” the trail, undertaking the journey in one go, much in the same way that thru-hikers tackle the long-distance Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails. Some skiers winter camp, while others stay at local inns near the trail. No matter how they spend their nights, thru-skiers on the Catamount Trail are something of a rarity.
So we are excited to report that 2015 is shaping up to be a big year for thru-skiers attempting the Catamount Trail. We caught wind of 3 expeditions happening in 2015 and wanted to put the spotlight on the individuals undertaking this incredible journey.
Sam Brakeley. Sam recently completed his south-to-north thru-ski in 17 days! While it sounds like a blistering pace, we know that Sam took at least an occasional stop, as evidenced by his pictures of ice falls on Section 3, and eating pizza at the Lowell General Store. Sam soloed the journey, and spent all but one night camping along the trail. Here’s a excerpt from Sam’s trail journal:
Approx. Start Location: Duxbury Road
Approx. End Location: The Cabin, Trapp Lodge X-C System
Trail: Hitched into Richmond for breakfast and resupply at first light. Back out to Pineo Brook by 8:30. Easy traveling to Bolton, and then a well tracked trail up the mountain. Unbelievable descent with a few new friends down to Nebraska Valley Road. What a nice spot for skiing! Beautiful hike up Bolton and then knee deep powder the whole way down. Cool spot! Made it to Trapp grounds and got permission from one of the patrollers and the Cabin manager to camp nearby in the woods.
Zac Edwards. Zac started his Catamount Trail thru-ski up north early in the season, and from what we hear managed to catch the wave of powder sweeping across the state. Sometimes early season thru-ski attempts don’t have enough snow, so we were happy the Vermont weather helped out this year. Zac spent most nights camping along the trail, and had a rotating cast of friends accompanying him.
Bob Ordemann. Bob started his thru-ski at the end of January, and is currently somewhere around Section 15. Bob has a great blog, Planet B’s Catamount Trail Ski Adventure, filled with updates and pictures as he skis north. Bob has been staying at different inns and B&B’s along the way, and from what we hear, meeting plenty of good people along the way. We caught up with Bob before he started skiing and asked him what he was looking forward to most. Bob’s reply:
“I love the peace in the forest, the sound of woodpeckers, the sighting of wildlife. I love the feeling of exhaustion after a full day, and a couple of pints to cap off the day.”
We’ll be eager to learn more about the second half of Bob’s thru ski. Good luck, Bob!
We also heard rumors that other thru-skiers may be out there at some point during 2015. If you happen to encounter a thru-skier, please let the CTA know. We’re always excited to hear about these folks and the adventures they are having on the Catamount Trail.