Amy is a long time member of the CTA and serves on Board of Directors (Secretary). Here she is in her moment of triumph completing the Catamount Trail in 2014. As the snow is flying and the ski season is underway, its time to motivate the next class of End-to-enders.
Lets hear from Amy about her CT end-to-end experience…
I’m a good example of the fact that anyone with a good amount of fitness and some perseverance can complete the trail without necessarily being a great technical skier. I’d been skiing on the trail for over 15 years before I really ever thought of skiing the whole trail. At the beginning, the only way to complete the trail with CTA was to do a month-long tour. Eventually, CTA began offering week long tours, but I think folks still had to sign up for the whole week. When I found out from a friend 6 years ago that I could sign up for just some days on the week long tours, I started working on the trail in earnest.
I signed up for week long tours in 2011, 2012 and 2013, skiing some sections again that I had already completed on my own. Some days were easy and some days were hard. By the winter of 2014 I was down to just 4 sections – 9-12S, so I signed up for that part of the week-long tour. Conditions were generally terrible. I skied most of it with a friend (Nancy McClellan), who later completed her own end to end. We skied over lots of rocks and many people walked some of the downhill sections. My last section (9) was the worst – some of it was rutted icy snowmobile trail and I thought I would never get done. I was so tired that day!
How did I prepare?
Before I joined any multi-day tours, I had done a few day tours and had been skiing other sections with one or two friends. I’d completed Sections 13 – 17 and 20-28, but the harder 18 & 19 and others too far to drive for a day trip eluded me. My only preparation was to make sure I got out and skied some long days in January before my CTA trips.
What is my favorite section?
Section 19 because it is so remote but also because I first skied it under good conditions. My best memories are days with good snow, great company and spectacular views.
What was the hardest part?
The hardest ski day for me was on 12N. It was freezing rain and only 3 of us (Bill Herrington, Pete Lane and I) showed up to ski with the day leader. There was about a foot of snow covered in an ice crust. The section has lots of ups and downs. The other 3 were heavier than I was and were able to break through the crust better. I would ski on top and then just as I got going fast down a hill, I would break through and fall. I fell so many times I that I was having a hard time getting up because I was so tired. Everyone was getting wet and cold. Someday, I’ll do that section again in good conditions.
What advice do I have for others who are thinking about skiing the whole trail?
Skiing four days in a row can be a challenge. Having to get up day after day and ski even if you’re tired is more difficult than many people realize, and I really benefitted from having done many longer bike tours. The third day on a bike is about the same as the third day of a multi-day tour.
I’d encourage anyone who wants to ski the trail to sign up for a CTA tour. Start with a day tour if you’re not sure of your ability; otherwise, sign up for a 4-day tour. Sometimes skiing with 20 people is too many people, but it’s so nice to have someone else plan the tour and handle the shuttles. It’s fun to go on some tours each year to renew friendships.
Over time, Amy has shifted a bit, from alpine and groomed Nordic skiing to more backcountry. As she says, she is “Not good with the downhills”, so her favorite backcountry spots involve more climbing and gradual downhills. In the summer, her main sports are hiking and biking, and she has done many multi-day bike trips, including several self-contained trips in Quebec, Cabot Trail, West Virginia, Glacier, etc.
She is retired and lives in Colchester with her partner Ralph. They travel frequently, including to CA to visit 3 young grandchildren and attend Sierra Club volunteer trips. Amy is always trying to get out and help with trail work when she can, and is a tremendous asset to the CTA family.