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Waterville Valley 12/30/07


Sep 16, 2002
The Watch City
Date(s) Skied: 12/30/07

Resort or Ski Area: Waterville Valley Resort

Conditions: Packed powder, sun, breezy, 20's

Trip Report:

Wow, what a great day to be at Waterville! Una_dogger and I had decided to head up after reading reports of their recent snowfall while looking out the window at sleet and rain. The conditions were not understated, which is a good thing because it was not easy to wake up at 4:45am after having stayed up watching the Patriots. 8)

We arrived to sun and early morning clouds, which gave way to clear skies. Temps were in the 20's at the base down into the teens up high. The upper mountain had a chilly breeze, maybe 10mph? Overall, the weather can be summed up as excellent.

After getting rental gear, una_dogger headed off to a group lesson over at the Lower Meadows, while I met up with a local friend. This was a ton of fun for me as he was someone I hadn't seen in about 15 years, was able to give me a "tour" of the mountain, and also challenge me, which is how I most like to ski.

We started out on Quadzilla to the Sunnyside Triple for a ride down Oblivion. The wind was hitting this side of the mountain, so it was a bit scratched up on the high section but a very consistent and even trip the rest of the way. Packed powder! So nice.

Then it was back up the triple and time for several runs down Tippecanoe, And Tyler Too, and Periphery to the Northside Double. All were in wonderful packed condition, with soft topping being shaved off but not really building into any piles, just being spread around. I wanted to give the summit a try, so we took a ride up the High Country Double and came down Scramble (via Ruthie's Run?) between the slalom flags and race training. Again, a thin layer of loose stuff over packed. This time we dropped into Tangent, and it was classic - narrow and winding through evergreens - with smooth, beautiful natural snow. It was like skiing on silk.

Then there were problems on the Northside lift, so it was time to try something different. We grabbed the World Cup Triple and took a cruise down Upper Sel's into Utter Abandon. What a blast! A soft layer of a few inches atop packed, mixed up but not bumpy, and I was really able to let the throttle out and fly down. We stuck to the triple as it had much less of a line than the quad, and had great runs down White Caps, Terry's Trail, Old Tecumseh, Lower Tippy, and Lower Periphery. The trails were holding up well, with plenty of carveable bite and just some soft piles here and there. We finished the morning on Psyched, curving and twisting and pitching. The piles were larger there, almost proto-moguls, but still soft enough to blast through. This was a really fun trail and I regret not getting down it again, since I let my nerves get the better of me the first time.

I bid my friend farewell, then met up with una_dogger for lunch in the over-crowded cafeteria. After some badly-needed fuel, I followed her over to Lower Meadows to watch her progress on Leroy's Loop and Stemtation. She's making turns and doing well! I then bailed out on Baseway, passed the lines for the quads which were now large and dense enough to start exerting their own gravity, and grabbed the World Cup Triple for the last time. I flew over to Northside (now running again) and up to the summit to do the Scramble/Tangent/Periphery run again. They had gotten pretty scraped at this point in the afternoon, and with the setting sun were slippery in the centers, though nice and soft piles lined the edges. Back up one more time and I came down some combination of trails I can't even remember :) and it was 2:45 and time to head back home with una_dogger, who is now completely and utterly hooked on alpine skiing, despite a fairly lame group lesson (she's going private next time) and long waits for the lift.

Overall, a great day. Waterville gets a huge thumbs-up for sweet conditions, and more snow is on the way! The crowds were horrendous at the lifts and lodge - but I have it on good authority that it was far more than any typical weekend, and really, on a Sunday between Christmas and New Year's what could anyone expect. Plus, a little knowledge about the mountain kept us away from the worst lift lines, and best of all, the trails held up until pretty late in the day. I did avoid Chute, though, which seemed to be where the entire Express Quad crowd was going, as well as anything off of Quadzilla.

I should add that I was also at Waterville in the midst of the snowstorm on 12/20, and it was stellar. Powder everywhere, and it just kept falling all day. I'm two for two on extremely positive experiences there this year, and we'll be back. Woo-hoo!