At long last Ullr has smiled upon us and our prayers have been answered in the form of a bout a foot of snow across Northern New England! Anticipating this long overdue dose of snow, Rob, Ziehl and I cranked out a week of work in less than days, loaded up the car and hit the road bound for Jackson NH, where we crashed at the Denaro residence. Armed with a fire-hazardous quantity of coupons and discounts, we set our alarms for 7:30 AM.
We rolled up to Wildcat and were pleasantly surprised to see that the weather was fair, and the place was empty. They’d gotten 8-10 inches of fresh with a bit of a rain crust. It was one of those days where it was technically debatable as to whether or not we were slaying pow or slaying gnar, but in any event we were finally slaying something.
We spun laps on the triple until we were good and sick of it, at which time we swung by Attitash to see how things were shaping up over there. In hindsight we should have stayed put, but it was worth a shot.
By around 3PM we concluded that we’d skied pretty much all that was worth skiing in this neck of the woods, so we loaded up the car and headed off to Lincoln, NH to rally with Alex, Denaro, Shane and Hannah. We crossed the Kanc just as the weather shifted into high gear, without incident thanks to Rob’s new Nokian snows. We feasted like kings at the Woodstock Brewery, showered at Alex’s condo, and then rolled up our sleeves for some serious logistics. Coordination would be paramount if we were to make it from Lincoln to Jay in time for first chair the day after a blizzard. We unloaded the car, paired down our gear to the bare minimum, repacked the car with every we’d need for the following day minus whatever we planned to wear that day, drank some beer, set our alarms for 5:15 AM and hit the sack.
Almost immediately after we’d hit the sack our missing companions, Shane, Hannah, Alex and Denaro showed up and woke everyone up… We exchanged salutations of dubious sincerity and went straight back to bed. Miraculously we were all on the road by 6:05AM the following morning. The waking up and driving into a blizzard in the wee hours of the morning in 0 degree weather wasn’t so great, but the skiing was. We managed to get first chair and found fresh tracks on several occasions during the day. Check it out:
The astute listener may have noticed my incessant griping regarding the cold starting shortly after the first run. Well the wind chill was -40F, and around 1 PM I succumbed to my better judgment and went in to thaw. Upon yanking my boots and socks off, I discovered a couple of pearly-white big toes with severely limited sensation – OK no sensation at all… About 5 minutes later they turned a nice, angry, shade of black, at which time I nearly dumped my beer and snacks all over the floor in horror. Unfortunately there is little that you can do aside from keeping them warm and dry, and hope for the best, so I wrapped my feet in a blanket, passed out and dreamed of sweet powder turns while the rest of the crowd took their last few runs and collected my hiking boots so that I could hobble back to the car later.
To my surprise and relief, by the time Ziehl and Alex came by with my hiking boots, both of my afflicted big toes had begun a fairly remarkable recovery transitioning from a frightening black to the mundane black and blue characteristic of a simple bruise. By the following morning they had recovered nearly to the point where I could walk normally. There’s almost certainly some amount of permanent damage, but no where nearly as bad as I’d originally feared. Seems like a may have dodged a bullet this time… Hell, I might even be ready to ski again next weekend, as long as it’s not going to be 40 below zero again!