With temperatures threatening to hover around 0°F all day, a group of SkiVT-L regulars headed into the Backcountry.  The initial plan was to meet at 10am at the trailhead, but due to some slight forgetfulness, I missed that group.  No worries; the skin in was along the Catamount Trail and the area we planned to ski would continue to drop back onto the trail.  As it turns out, driving from Essex, to Waterbury, to Essex, and back to Waterbury to the trail head meant that I would run into the group just as they were finishing their first lap. Watching some of the final descents, I could tell the snow was going to be interesting.  The winds that swept through the region on Friday had done their damage to pockets of snow making for inconsistent conditions that would throw you over the handlebars when you least expected it.

Telemarking is supposed to make you more stable in variable conditions, right?

We all had our moments adjusting to the snow.  I certainly played ostrich more than once, but I was lucky enough to capture Bobby with a spectacular display on his first run.

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As much as we joked around, complaining about the snow conditions, it was really quite good skiing in many places.

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Definitely good enough to slap the skins on a few times and hunt out more pockets of non-wind affected powder.

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Roger – you look like one of them Famous Internet Skiers here.

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With temperatures hovering just above zero, not all of our skin glue worked all day.  Seeing as it was a simple out and back, the penalty for complete failure was pretty low.  Any good backcountry skier will have a bag of tricks to dip into when equipment (bindings, skins, boots, etc.) breaks.  In this case, Patrick had duct tape (plaid, mind you) holding one skin on and zip ties holding the other.  It’s worth paying attention when you zip tie your skins, though, otherwise you end up with a predicament like this:

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As usual, it was great skiing with all of you.  Pray for snow!  We could use some.  Roger Hill posted a graphic on the SkiVT-L Listserv that compares this year’s snowpack to the 2009 season. It’s pretty dismal.

More photos from our backcountry excursion are on my SmugMug site.