From:	Kurt Ries on 02/19/98 11:24 AM
To:	fdunaway@epix.net
Subject:	NATO Trip Report

Trip Report

February 14 - 17 1998
North American Telemark Organization Tour, Waitsfield, VT
	-http://planet.syr.edu/telemark/, 1-800-835-3404

Caught up with the NATO folks for what is becoming an annual event to do 
some BC Telemarking in the Green Mountains of Vermont. In the past we have 
done tours of East side of Mansfield around the Taft Lodge. Gone up the 
lift at Mad River Glen, followed the spine of the mountains and came back 
down North Sugarbush also skied Bolton a couple of times. All spectacular 
tours and on President weekend often found glades of knee deep powder.

On every tour we have skied Camel Hump and for good reason  ...excellent 
turns in hardwoods! So when I heard because of snow conditions and ice 
storm damage we were going to concentrate on Camel Hump, I was not 
disappointed. Down lower the snow was old and spotty. The Thursday before 
we arrived the area had over 2 inches of rain, Friday the temperatures 
plummeted to single digits.  I had real concerns that we would be skiing 
on an ice cube or worse breakable crust. Saturday morning I arrived with 
lowered exceptions. 

This is where having the locals' show you around really paid off. Driving 
up to the parking area on the west side of Camel Hump the snow was still 
real spotty until about 1100 feet. Then out of nowhere several inches of 
fresh snow appeared on a foot and a halve base. Getting out of the car and 
rushing over to snow pack I grabbed a handful.  Hum... it's fresh powder 
all right but will it support me? Stepping on to the surface with a sigh 
of relive found it did supported me ...no less did it support me I could 
jump up and down and not break through. One of the fellow skiers described 
it best, as skiing on groomed snow but you're in the woods. By now 
everyone was staring at this idiot jumping up and down in the snow so I 
skipped back to the car I pretended I knew what I was doing.
	-This was going to be an interesting weekend :-)

Saturday, February 14
West side of Camel Hump
1000 - 1200 feet, 12 - 20 inches of supportable crust with 2 - 4 inches of 
fresh snow
temp 2 - 10 degrees, clear sunny skies

Stayed fairly low 1200 feet or so, spent the day skiing out a couple 
glades and getting a good handle on turning in these conditions. The snow 
was very forgiving, Gene, one of the NATO folks puts it as ego snow. You 
could edge on the stuff like lift service with several inches of powder to 
play in ...wow!

Sunday, February 15
East side (Huntington) Camel Hump
1200 to 2600 feet ,18 - 24 inches of supportable crust with 2 - 14 inches 
of fresh snow
temp 7-13 degrees, clear sunny skies

Now that we had a chance to fine-tune our techniques we were primed for a 
great day of skiing on the other side of Camel Back. Skinned up about 2.5 
K from the trail head and skied three of several glades off to the left 
and right of the trail. A little steeper terrain a little more snow ...you 
get the idea.

At around 2000 feet and above the birch tree groves would start to appear 
and the underbrush would diminish making for beautiful open glade skiing. 
Below 2000 feet the small saplings would slap you up a bit on the descents.

After lunch we headed for the saddle around 2600 feet. Once over the 
saddle on the north side of Camel Back it became a fairyland of halve inch 
snow and hore frost on the trees. Snow was colder and deeper, trees opened 
up and we shredded for a couple of hours. Now that it was impossible to 
wipe the grins off our faces we headed back over the saddle and descended 
to the parking lot.

Monday, February 16
West side of Camel Hump
1200 to 2500 feet, 12 - 24 inches of supportable crust with 2 - 8 inches 
of fresh snow
temp 10 - 20 degrees, clear sunny skies
Back to the west side on Monday we more or less followed the Blue trail up 
to about 2200 feet and traversed over to the Monroe trail to the North. 
Learned two new technical terms or at least the only ones I am willing to 

Death Cookies - Hard cookie size chunks of ice left behind from groomers 
or snowmobiles
Puckery - When those open spots get a little tight

We skinned up the Monroe trail for additional 2K and found major ice storm 
damage. The ice was off the trees but many widow makers still hanging in 
the branches. The ground was littered with 3/4 buried limbs and tree tops. 
It literally looked like a war zone. The top portion of the descent was 
dodging all the debris that the skis went under and you went over. Once 
back around 2100 feet or so the pre-mo skiing resumed.

Strange, what goes around comes around. For the last couple of seasons I 
have been attempting to get rid of the stem and the hop in my tele turn. 
This season we started skiing steeper terrain and the stem tele is the 
most controlled turn in these conditions. You can step down the steepest 
headwall or dodge debris at a comfortable rate of speed. The jump tele 
will allow you to get the skis around when in the soup. Just goes to show 
one needs a big bag of tricks for this BC stuff.

Tuesday, February 17
West side Mount Mansfield, Tear Drop Trail Underhill State Park
800 to 2400, 18 - 24 inches of supportable crust with 4 - 10 inches of 
fresh snow
temp 20 -  35 degrees, clear sunny skies

Had a halve a day to ski before heading back to reality. Gene had 
suggested Tear Drop in Underhill State Park. Skied the CCC road up to the 
entrance to the park and over to the Tear Drop Trail. The trail ascends to 
the top of Mansfield just to one side of a hardwood bowl of terrific tree 
skiing. Need skins for this one, go as high as you need and jump off into 
	-Only got a small taste of this area need to get back

Any Takers?

Kurt Ries
Canandaigua, NY