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Wachusett 12/21/21

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,826
Points
83
Location
Spencer, MA
Resort or Ski Area
Wachusett
Date
Dec 21, 2021
Snow Conditions
  1. Dust on Crust
Finally got day #1 out of the way today as the past 6 weeks have been full of illness (Covid negative, but definitely the worst flu I've had in over 10 years and the lingering general shittyness from that lasted for a couple weeks), work (I work for the Post Office, these last two Decembers have been wonderful), and crappy weather. With all of those things going on, it's been tough finding any motivation to ski plus it's not like I was missing any spectacular days. However, I bought new skis at Wachusett this past fall which meant I had a free ticket voucher (exp. 12/24) burning a hole in my pocket. Figured I should finally get out, use the voucher, and try out the new planks.

I arrived around 1:00 and was horrified to find the parking lot almost completely full on a pre-Christmas Tuesday. While I typically avoid Wachusett like the plague once Christmas hits, this should still be early season crowd levels and...yeah, didn't expect that many cars. Turns out today was the "World's Biggest Ski Lesson" day. So the upper mountain lifts didn't have any lines and the trails were generally uncrowded, but some of the animals did escape the lower mountain zoo from time to time and there were a few scenes of carnage throughout the day.

With the past week having lots of 60 degree days and rain and then the big cooldown yesterday, today almost felt like an opening day with a few additional trails open. Lots of stuff not very wide, lots of pebbles and death cookies, and lots of boilerplate areas. Thankfully it appears the big warmth is over and snowmaking will be able to get some great nights (and hopefully a few days) to get things fully open during the vacation week.

Took my first couple runs up Minuteman, hitting Challenger and then Look Ma. Everything open on that side is only half-covered at best, with some sections getting a bit cat-tracky. Snow was a mix of scraped off sections in the middle and loose snow on the outsides of the trails, with occasional areas of decent packed snow. My new skis (Nordica Enforcers - 175 cm, 100mm), while not really intended to be a good groomer ski, really ran well for me. They really dug into the porcelain sections for easy quick turns. GS turns took a while to figure out as I've never had anything close to 100mm, but I slowly got the hang of it. Obviously I bought these for the crud filled days in Vermont and out west and not for Wachusett groomer skiing, but it felt good to get used to them.

After a couple runs mid mountain, I spent the majority of the afternoon at the summit alternating between Conifer and 10th. Conifer had much wider coverage than the rest of the mountain. It also turned into flypaper for idiots as many beginners found their way up there. Saw some great yardsales, people walking down, people climbing out of the woods, and some great double stripes from people doing the big pizza straight down the hill. Much of the left side of the trail had some great loose snow and I skied it pretty aggressively multiple times, so it felt good to get that out of my system. 10th wasn't quite as good, much more scraped off although there was some loose snow on the right side to play in. The lower part was pretty ugly, almost total boilerplate. Guess they didn't make snow there yesterday or something. So only did a few laps on 10th, but probably 10-12 laps on Conifer. One new thing they've started doing this year is having someone watch up the line from the load station and yell at people on a megaphone if they don't put the bar down.

Last run I hit Ralph's which I skipped earlier. On the way up I saw a lady going straight down Look Ma out of control, then she lost it near the bottom and went flying into some trees loud enough to hear some crunching. I saw her sit up but she was still there when I got out of sight on the chair. I told ski patrol about it at the top, then took off down Ralph's. This was different to me...the top was all boilerplate, but then when it opens up a bit it became very edgeable frankensnow. It was really fun to carve and I wish I had time for a few more runs there. The bottom pitch was kind of ugly. The good news is when I got to the bottom, I saw the aforementioned lady getting back on the lift to go find more trees to smash into, so guess she was okay.

Overall, a fun 2.5 hours and good to finally get out and start the season. Kudos to Wachusett for hanging in there during a very ugly December. Not the greatest conditions in the world, but it's okay for now and should be pretty good in a couple more days. I bet the conditions at Crotched aren't quite as good. ;) Probably will be my only visit there this year, but always good to get back to the old stomping grounds.

Not sure what's in store coming up. Work is finally winding down, so hopefully will start getting up to Vermont/NH once a week or so. Suppose maybe Killington or Stratton next Tuesday, but we'll see who has what open as crowds will begin to factor in as well. With Ikon and Indy there certainly won't be a lack of options this year as long as nature cooperates.
 

RH29

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2021
Messages
40
Points
18
Conifer must have had a lot of work put into it. When I was there, most of it was covered, but there were two huge ice spots that took up nearly the entire trail width. Bare spots elsewhere. 10th had some moguls and Lower 10th was acceptable though I preferred Salamander. Surprised things deteriorated that much, but then again it's not surprising given how we went from 60 degree spring skiing to a hard freeze.
 

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,826
Points
83
Location
Spencer, MA
Conifer had a big sheet of ice on skiers right just before the first road. But they definitely made a lot of snow there because there was a lot of good chalky loose snow on the left side almost top to bottom that the rest of the trails didn't have. No bare spots on any open trails although Salamander was definitely very thin.

Given that they've basically been in survival mode for a couple weeks, what they have right now is more than acceptable and I'm sure by this time next week it'll look like midwinter up there.
 
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