From: Ries, Kurt
Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2000 11:56 AM
To: 'Fred Dunaway'
Subject: FW: Not gonna make it
Since I cannot get you bite on our Dickie story I guess I will have to come clean on the Tele Fest... I was a bust.
Ken, one of my ski buddies, flew in from Minnesota for the festival, first time in New England I was anxious to show him the sites and skiing.
We arrived at Mad River Glen early Saturday morning ready to hit the slopes and join in the festivities. Dickie was outside the lodge with his cronies telling stories of how 10" of snow was on the way and how Mad River Glen does not groom. This was our first clue.
While getting our lift tickets and mingling with the other telemarkers the snow was being described as noisy; our second clue.
Dawning our skies and looking around we saw only three chairs running and everyone going to the single chair, our third clue.
We took the center chair up to the main runs. Standing a top this huge ice cube we asked the ski patrol where the good snow was, he remarked with hesitation, there is none, maybe tonight. No more clues, it was a patchy sheet of ice. We picked our way down steep sheer ice 10' shoots on the side of the trails, the rest of the trail was rocks, dirt and grass. It was the worst skiing I have ever done. The single chair did have one run that was ski-able the rest of the mountain was pretty bad.
There were maybe a hundred skier there total, not the 1000+ of past years. A few had tents pitched in the parking lot and a fun crowd. A small percentage of these free heel skiers could ski the ice with style and grace but most where hanging on for dear life.
There where a halve dozen or so vender tents set up by the lodge, Black Diamond, Climb High, Patagona and others peddling their wares with demo equipment. Much to my shee-grins in this retro NATO world of leather, T2s every where, one tent had truck loads of plastic from Scarpa and Garmont; not a single Super Comp to demo. Ken and I both demo-ed one pair of skies, which we did not bring back util we completed or lessons. Ken demo-ed the Atomic Beta Carves and I demo-ed the TUA Blades. Many raving reviews on the Beta Carves from both Ken and other skiers even in these atrocious conditions. I went for the stiffest ski I could get in TUAs arsenal, the "Blades" and they where stiff, ahum just like a alpine ski. They did ski better than my TUA Translaps, the stiffness helped on the ice but the major difference was the sharp edges, something I do not pay attention to in the BC. One of the most popular demos were the Voile powder skies. These 2X6s where not the ski of the day, but folks were very curious to try them. I am wondering if the interest was for skiing out west or New England snow?
The lessons we took all appropriate revolved around edging and parallel turns. These conditions really forces one to edge into the hill with the knees and lean the body down the hill to look at the face of death. We all wanted to learn to ski these conditions because it hurt like hell when you went down.
After a hair raising day of skiing we went straight to the Ski Shop to have our edges sharpened and prayed for tons of snow from the predicted storm. We where both up early to peek out the hotel window in Waitsfield to see maybe 3" of wet slop. It was evident it had changed back and forth from rain to snow several times. I got on the phone and called all our old haunts in the area, Placid, Jay Peak and Pinkham Notch. Cascade in Placid told us not to bother and the rest did not have any better conditions then we had in the Mad River Valley. We stopped back at Mad River Glen to pick up skies and survey the conditions; a few more skiers in the same conditions. So we bagged it, and went down the road to Sugar Bush. I like the idea of Mad River Glen keeping there trail system natural with little to no grooming or snow making, but in this case Sugar Bush was a world of difference. Still ice but granular and we quickly discovered the sugar down the sides of the trails. Still the two dimensional skiing of bob and edge, but we where digging it!! The BC had enough breakable crust to make the turns a real challenge, so we spent the day working on technique and carving some nasty wicked turns in the snow (err, umm granular ice).
That evening we drove up to the trail head of Camel's Hump to see how the BC turns would be in the morning. Good hard pack base with 3-4" fresh snow and breakable crust to seal it off. Our tree skiing Camel's Hump adventure laid in the hands of the temperature Gods to warm up enough to soften the crust. The Gods where damnable and the temps stayed in the mid twenties, so off to Stowe we went. I have to admit Stowe is an impressive lift service area, both from the number of runs to the terrain. After treating ourselves to a Gondola ride to the top of the mountain we discovered the Toll Road. I had read about the Toll Road, but did not realize one could get to it from lift service. The Toll Road is almost an hour run down a twenty foot groomed road of switch backs on easy to moderate terrain. Drop into a tele and holding on through these 270 degree switch back turns was a G force enhanced thrill!
Of course the weekend after Ken left the temps went to 50 degrees on the top of Camel's Hump making for some of the best BC of the season. Oh well there is always next year...
Mark your calendar for next year whenever Presidents day weekend is (February 11-13?). This is one of NATOs 3 day Vermont Telemark Adventures tours to Mt Mansfield, Camels Hump and Hunger mountain. I have attended this non-camping tour several times in the past with absolutely incredible snow conditions. Just about every year including this bleak season, we have had a storm come through with knee deep turns!
Say hi to every one for me :-)
From: Ries, Kurt
Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2000 1:44 PM
To: 'Fred T. Dunaway'
Cc: 'Laura Wachtler'; 'Ken Wachtller'; 'email@example.com'
Subject: RE: Not gona make it
Missed a great weekend...
We got a 100" of snow on Saturday and Dickie was teaching inverted arial maneuvers!!
To much snow to drive out, so we spend the night tree skiing to the light of 3/4 moon.
Sorry you missed it ;-)
From: Fred T. Dunaway [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2000 5:18 PM
To: Ries, Kurt
Subject: Not gona make it
Most regretably, I'm not going to make it this weekend. I've got way to
much to get done here, including a couple of web sites to finish off.
Hope you have a good time.
Cost effective web sites that work.