Section 24 – Friday, January 18, 2019
12 miles, 5.5 miles, 11 skiers
12-25F, calm winds in the am, high clouds all day but excellent visibility
Met up at Ryder Brook Golf Club, shuttled to Edson Hill Manor, leaving a bailout car at Sterling Falls Gorge. Edson Hill Inn had european styled little ticket office lunch/space in barn with wood and gas stove. In the pasture next to it the local winter-furry ponies’ backs were sprinkled with morning snow showers as we started out. We skinned up and out of Edson Hill towards Sterling Forest. Trail chief Bob Lindeman led the way pointing out old CTA variations and local history. The snow conditions were near perfect. Though most of the snow was from last weekend, the continued cold temperatures left it powdery soft. Only the areas exposed to wind were blown down to the crust from the sunny days. Snow depth was generally about 1’-3’ and deeper in spots in the trees. It skied firm under foot with the soft fluff making it quiet, smooth and fast. We kept a good pace all day with a few snack stops. We passed through Sterling Forest, a veritable snow hole and had lunch. The section after lunch may be known best for all the wire fence crossings. We all got a kick watching the many different techniques used, both under and over, with mixed results each time. A mix of old and new was the fabric covered barn with auto milkers and cows with RFID tagged cows that used to belong to the LaPine? sisters. Some large, exposed fields had a few a bit challenging navigational moments as snow possibly covered signed stakes. We then saw the golf course up over a rise and knew we were in the home stretch. After crossing the road and heading down the golf course for about three holes, we saw a lone skier heading our way from the parking lot. Sure enough it was Julie! She saw our cars as she passed on her way home from work and decided to strap her skis on and come out to meet us. We finished skiing about 3p. After going back to the start to pick up cars, most of the group went to the Trapp Family Brewery for some drinks, apps, and some had dinner. A great spot and way to end a great day on the CT, call it a hole in one.
Section 25 – Saturday, January 19, 2019
10 skies, 9.9 miles, temperature range 0-10F
Another beautiful day of skiing about an inch of fresh snow had fallen overnight. Basically the same great conditions as the day before, but several water bars and a couple tricky water crossings were navigated on the way to Elmore Mountain. Big meadows posed their typical navigational challenges of entrances and exit points, Jill Aspinall, the Trail Chief for the southern portion of this trail called this section section a “meat sandwich” – all the interesting stuff is in the middle. We had a little wandering around meadows in the beginning to find the ins and outs, some accompanied by the barking of sled dogs in the distance. A local barn gave shelter for lunch before we skinned up for Mt Elmore, where we met some other skiers – turns out friends of Julie – with heavier ski setups going up to explore the Elmore environment. After the top of the pass, the down hill side offered a few turns and whoop di-do up and downs before smoothing out to the forest road and we skied out to Lake Elmore. The Broedy’s were at the store , hoping to continue with us onward, but a big snow storm was coming in so we called it a day at Mt Elmore Store where “world’s best pizza” is served – today’s version was eggplant, mozzarella, onions, spinach and basil.
Section 27 – Sunday, January 20, 2019
8 skiers (4 skiers did 5 miles out and back while 4 did 4 miles)
Eight of us (Hilary, David and Susan, David, Mark, Julie and Michael, and Will) convened at 8:30 at Craftsbury Outdoor Center. More than a foot of snow had already fallen and the snow continuing to fall steadily. There was a fairly steady wind and the temperature ranged a few degrees above and below zero. Due to limited parking options at the start and concerns of the conditions, we devised a plan to divide into two groups of four starting at opposite ends. Mark, Will, and the Boedy’s drove out to Eden Mountain Road to ski South, while David, Hilary, Julie & Michael skied through Craftsbury on the CTA, heading North. The Southbound crew luckily found a parking spot, and each person earned their mileage taking turns breaking 50-100 yards of trail in deep, fluffy snow. Trees provided shelter from wind, as well as beautiful scenery, A section towards Collinsville Rd. was pocketed with a lot of deer tracks that looked like snow shoe marks but were a good four feet apart. Wind and hardened plowed snowbanks made for road transitions across the roads a bit challenging. The Northbound group skied through Craftsbury with David C taking the lead on breaking trail with his larger, floaty skis. At Craftsbury Common the wind came blasting across the fields and Julie found herself practically swimming in a pool of snow, yet managed to wave at yet another friend driving by. Due to wind, cold temps and depth of snow for trail breaking, time of day, etc., we decided to turn back to the lunch room at Craftsbury Outdoor Center. David went out in his car to check on the other group’s progress and around 3pm found the group by Post Rd bridge. It was decided that the group would end their ski there – an easy spot to mark for those wanting to do the last section. Back at the lodge, people warmed up and refueled while others waiting played a new card game of “Golf” with lunch table neighbors. Later in the evening, those in the area convened at Julie and Michael’s house where we had great food, conversation, and watched some of the NFL playoff games. (ps. the Patriots won)
Thank everybody for showing up and skiing with us….