Two new End-to-Enders…
Today, at Day Leader Andrew’s advice, all nineteen of us skied together NB. The temperature stayed in the teens all day, the sun tried to peep out, and the snow showers left a few inches. The trail breaking wasn’t bad (I’m told), several inches of fluff on an old broken track. We could see the hard work of Trail Maintainers Sarah, George and Andrew had put in cleaning up from last month’s wet snow damage. More stuff had come down, enough to snag my pack-mounted emergency snow shoes a few times, but it was not the impenetrable mess that it had been.
The base was quite deep, some blazes were close to the snow line and the branches were close to our heads. The Stratton Pond Trail was beautiful but challenging in places, trying to climb short steep trail trenches slowed the group in places. We had a quick lunch in the Stratton Pond Shelter and headed down to the pond. The wind and snow were howling, we were glad to get across the pond quickly. We crossed several streams on the new CT bridges and climbed up to the IP Road. Andrew took us on a new ‘short-cut’ off the Dead Horse Hill Trail, then we skied through beautiful hardwood forests to Little Pond for a snack break. Then it was on to Pony Hill. The deep untracked snow kept the speeds down, I think the folks in back got more speed than the vanguard.
Amy Kelsey joined us today, skiing in wide skis and tele-boots. The effort she made by skiing all the flatter sections in heavy gear paid off when she was able to float down Pony Hill, gracefully linking telemark turns all the way down. A few others managed some tele-turns as well, some folks snowplowed, no one had to side step or side slip. The new switchbacks were greatly appreciated by many as a way to get down the hill without a big adrenaline rush. I think some folks wondered why I had been cautioning everyone about Pony Hill. At the bottom we had a little ceremony to celebrate the fact that Tif and Pat had just finished skiing every section of the Catamount Trail.