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The Ramblings of an XC Noob

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  • #31
    Ski Day 30: Wickham Marsh South 3/13/23

    I wanted to get a ski in before the storm moved in. I've only been to Wickham Marsh South once this season. Conversely, WMS was my "home ski" last year. I was there seemingly all the time last year in comparison. This was also a good opportunity to have no issues while parking as the State doesn't plow the lot and it falls upon a local to plow it out. Which could be whenever.

    ​​​​​I skied the small loop 5 times​​. Though, I turned around every time that I reached the short stretch that I dubbed "Dog Poop Alley," I was not in the mood to ski literal s***.
    Dog droppings aside this was a nice and easy ski to bring me to 30 days on the season.


    • #32
      Ski Day 31 & 18: Dewey Mountain 3/18/23

      I went to bed on Friday unsure where we should ski the following day Cascade or Dewey? I wanted to get one of them in again before the season ends. We've been to Cascade once this year... I'd been to Dewey three times and Poky had been twice. When I woke up, I said, "Do you wanna go to Dewey?"

      "Yeah," was the reply.

      That was it. We jumped in the car and made our way to Saranac Lake.

      At some point during the day, Pokey said that she "loves the views at Cascade. But, Dewey has The Mountain."

      From a skiing perspective, she isn't wrong... At all.

      I've said it before, Dewey rips.

      Somehow, this was the second time that we've arrived in Saranac Lake during a parade. Thankfully, the St. Patty's Day celebration didn't affect our drive to Dewey... But, we saw you Saranac Lake Lawn Chair Ladies Brigade... We saw you...

      Evidently, it rained in Saranac Lake on Friday. It rained here, but it was just above freezing. I figured Dewey must've been getting fluffy snowflakes. That was not the case. The rain had frozen up the trails. The dude that runs Dewey said that he had groomed the lower trails, but left the upper trails ungroomed.

      We started kinda easy. First doing Natski. Then, Peanuts before a few rounds of Cookie Monster before taking a quick lunch break at the lodge.

      Afterwards, we did Thanks Coach. Which was ungroomed. There were some sticky sections and really fast sections. We did an awesome job.
      This was an excellent ski day. We like Dewey... "It has the Mountain."


      • #33
        Pokey's Ski Day 19: Whiteface 3/19/2023

        On Sunday at Whiteface it was a *free ski day so I went skiing with my grandpa and uncle Chris and my grandpas friend Jim. We went on the main mountain and did some easy trails then one blue trail the weather wasn't that good it was very windy and cold and made it hard to see but thankfully nobody crashed. After a couple runs we went to the bear den lodge to warm up then we did flying squirrel and I did the jumps and went up the his and up and down the bumps then we were done. Overall it was a good ski day I just wish that the weather wasn't bad**.

        *Free Ski Day as in there were no lessons scheduled.
        ** Pokey isn't wrong. She had six amazing weather days at Whiteface this year. Her 7th was a Windface/Iceface day.

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        • #34
          Ski Day 32: Rattlesnake Mountain 3/20/23

          One of the main reasons that I got into skiing in the first place was to be able to use it as a way to approach/hike a mountain in Winter. I'm not a huge fan of snowshoeing. The idea of gliding towards a mountain and zipping down it appealed to me. It was time to give this a shot.

          I pulled into Rattlesnake's lot and was pleased to see there was a decent base. Snowshoers had set and maintained a very nice track. This is another place that I've been to countless times in Winter and have often found the trail to be a mess. So it was a pleasant surprise to see it in good shape.

          I skied a combination of the snowshoe track and off track on my approach. Both benefiting me at different times.

          I noted two areas where I'd need to pop my skis off on the descent to avoid a massive "jump" and a small washed out part of trail. Arriving at the "Rattlesnake Mountain <===" sign, I took a brief break and decided that I could probably keep my skis on for this part of the ascent. Someone had ridden a large saucer sled down the snowshoe track, effectively making that an impossible effort for my skis to climb. So, I avoided their track as long as I could before popping them off and putting on my microspikes to complete my climb to the Summit.

          It was a beautiful afternoon. The views were great as always. I was feeling pretty warm upon arriving at the Summit. I drank an A&W Root Beer and waited til my body temp hit "neutral" before packing up and making my descent. Arriving back at my skis, I popped them back on and began my ski down the mountain.

          I made some nice moves. I made some moves that I immediately questioned my decisions. Nevertheless, I didn't fall or fly face first into a tree. So chalk that up as a small "W."

          I did take a "L" on the descent. I was skiing down some nice off track snow and was trying to ski across the saucer'ed up track to more untouched stuff and I fell back on rock. The lower spine took all of it and I let out an echoing scream.

          Composing myself, I got back up and enjoyed a pleasant ski out. I popped my skis off for the aforementioned small spots of trouble.

          I felt good arriving back to the car.

          A perfect ski?

          Better than expected?
          A resounding yes.

          This was a good step towards a long term goal.

          With an extra hour of sunlight... I was able to go home and pick up Pokey and go on a second afternoon (evening) ski.​..

          Ski Day 32 (cont) & 20: Quinn Mountain 3/20/23

          We parked in one of the plowed pulloffs on the road. I knew there was no way my car would make it up. We hopped out and made the short ski up to the trailhead and signed in. We enjoyed some nice conditions!

          There's a nice base here and the trail (thankfully) hasn't been groomed in a minute. This was another really fun ski at Quinn. I love that we have a place like this just a mere eight minutes away from our place.
          It's not the longest ski in the world. There's a few nice hills. There aren't any huge vistas. Though it has some "through the tree views," a few nice views of the WPTZ antenna on Terry Mountain, a pretty mountain-ridge pond and a dead Subaru covered up past it's windows in snow. So, there's plenty of character here.

          We signed out at 5:24 PM. The exact end of Winter and beginning of Spring. We thought that was pretty cool.


          we could here the rumblings of a "big truck." We skied the road down to our car - which was pretty great as well!

          As were were loading our things into the car, one of the owners and his son (or grandson) pulled up riding a huge front-loader. They maintain the state's easement road on their property. We had a really nice exchange before taking off.

          So thankful for the extra hour of sunlight that allowed these adventures to take place! This was a great day of late season skiing and a big shoutout to Pokey for hitting 20 ski days

          (14 XC / 7 Downhill - I know that math doesn't immediately add up - but if you've been reading all of these TR's - then you remember that Pokey skied both Downhill and XC on the same day once this year - The math adds up!).


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          The Mighty Quinn:

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          • FlyFishingandBeer
            FlyFishingandBeer commented
            Editing a comment
            +1 For the Manfred Mann/Grateful Dead reference.

            "Come all without, come all within.
            You'll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn."

          • Learning The Trails
            Learning The Trails commented
            Editing a comment
            FlyFishingandBeer I've been catching the Manfred Mann version on the radio quite a bit lately. When we're at Quinn, the tune immediately enters my head as soon as I start gliding.

        • #35
          Ski Day 33 & 21: Macomb State Reservation 3/21/23

          Much like Wickham Marsh, Macomb State Reservation was a place that I skied quite a bit last year. I had my first real zen moment here where everything was clicking. I was skiing like a d@mn skier and it felt good.

          Much the same as Wickham Marsh, it was kinda puzzling why I hadn't been here as much this season... Though, finding new places and trying to up our game has been a bit of a theme.

          I was curious if there was a decent snowpack at Macomb.

          Macomb sits just north of the "Peru Range."

          We were happy to see that it's location provided a pretty nice base.

          Pokey led for most of this trek. She was working on her race/fast skiing technique - which I have never really explained or attempted in front of her - because that's foreign territory for me...
          She had a groove going for a bit...
          I think she could benefit from a "pros" (aka not mine) advice in touching up her technique... But, considering, I didn't expect her to attempt this style... I thought she was doing really nice.

          We skied down towards Davis "Pond."

          I noticed a big bird landing in a nearby tree, mentioned it to Pokey and skied towards the area where I saw it land. It jumped off the branch and flew maybe another 50' to another branch... Where I was able to get a shot of it. It was a medium sized Barred Owl!

          It's been a few months since we've seen one. So we were really happy to spot this one! It's body sat facing away from us. But, it's head turned *almost* 180 degrees to peer down upon us.
          We watched it for a good minute before it took off to a nearby tree. We tried to follow... But, lost it.

          We then continued our ski back to the car, while taking a few detours to enjoy nice snow or nice views.

          Only a few small areas may pose a problem in the upcoming days but there's a really good base at Macomb in most places.

          Macomb State Reservation is a great place to ski. If you're in the Northern Netherlands of the ADK, enjoy this place!

          Barred Owl (center):

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          • #36
            Ski Day 34: Macomb State Reservation Campground-side 3/24/23

            I skied Macomb quite a bit last year. There's two sides to the park. The day use side and the campground side. Both have different features that make them enjoyable skis. I skied the campground side a number of times last year but haven't been on that side of the pond at all this year. I hit 34 ski days last season. So, this seemed like a good place to tie that mark.

            With my skis on, I skied the road down to the pond. This hill is by far the best on the campground side and it's pretty fun to hit it right off the rip. If you want, there's numerous ways to make small loops and hit this hill over and over again to your hearts delight.

            I opted to go for a longer loop and ski the perimeter of the campground and hit a number of the side trails. The weather was perfect. I had a really pleasant ski. Arriving back near my car, I skied an alternate route that parallels the road down to the pond. After skiing up, I skied towards my car and found a dry picnic table draped in sunlight. It looked so inviting. Picnic tables are usually frozen when you're skiing. Seemed like the prefect opportunity.

            I sat there for a good 20 minutes. The sun was perfect. Everything was perfect. I could've hung out for another hour. But, had things to do.

            This was a really nice ski to match my mark from last season.


            • #37
              Ski Day 35 & 22: ADK Cascade Ski Center 3/25/23

              Before the season started, I had a number of ski days in my head that I'd like to hit this year. I had a nice start in December... But, then came January. Three weeks of no snow. Just me looking at the lawn. Rightfully so, I adjusted my ski goal to 35 days. One more than last year.

              We drove out to Placid with no problems despite the forecasted storm. We ran into sleet which followed us to the ski center.

              Upon arriving, we got our things together and went into the lodge and checked in. A friend of ours was working there and we chatted with him as we got ready.

              We hit the trails and conditions were hard packed and *really* fast. We did a series of loops that I like to do to warm up. I noted that I was flying down hills and getting way more distance out of them than any of our prior experiences here. Pokey reported the same.

              We were having fun!

              We took a 20 minute break back at the lodge to scarf down some Stewart's sandwiches and root beer before hitting the trails again.

              By now, the sleet had changed over to snow which left a perfect dusting on the trails. We skied up to Cascade's Black Diamond Trail "Cascade..." and let er rip.

              It was a great hill!

              I need to stop at this point and say, Pokey has become such a good all around skier when it comes to both Nordic and Downhill this year. She has fantastic support and coaching. She crushes trails! I wish that every now and then that had someone around to critique me or say "that was great!"

              I've come to realize, that a ski at Cascade is all that I need to get that. The trails/ski itself triggers an inner voice. Today, that voice said "you're both pretty good skiers now."

              I believe that this season was the first that I've ever set a "days goal" for anything. I'm pleased to have done so and achieved it.

              I'm riding high off of that and the quality of ski that we had today. It's been a great season for us. Looking forward to adding to it!

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              • #38
                Ski Days 36 & 23: Garnet Hill Ski Lodge (North Creek) 3/26/23

                My buddy Don reached out to me again looking to meet up for another ski a few days ago. Figured it would be a great opportunity to ski someplace new while splitting the drive time. I reached out to a friend who happens to be a great skier and one of the places he suggested was Garnet Hill Ski Lodge.

                It looked to be close to an even drive and the ski reports showed that there was over 3 feet of snow still on the ground. Don and I agreed to meet up there.

                This would be a "new" part of the Adirondacks for Pokey and I to explore!

                We met at the ski lodge at 12:45. Don had called yesterday (Saturday) and asked if we needed to buy ski passes in advance or if they were available at the shop.

                "Yeah, you can get them in the shop tomorrow."

                Take note of this. We should have bought them online. We would've saved some decent bucks. Buy Online.

                I asked the dude at the counter if he could point us in a shreddy direction. Never got an answer on that. He struggled to ring Don out... He seemed out of it...

                That frustration aside, I introduced Don to Pokey and we let her lead... To where? Who knew?

                She lead us on the Old Faithful Trail. At some point, I noticed a little side trail that looked to link back up with Ol' Faithful. It was the 4-H Loop, It was ungroomed and untouched.

                "I'll take this and meet up with you guys up there," I said.

                I skied down what turned out to be a little terrain sidetrack. There was mogul after mogul. It was pretty cool. We linked back up as predicted and skied a little bit before noticing a lean-to. We made our way to it. I ditched a long sleeve that I was wearing and swapped out my knit hat for a trucker hat. This ended up being a perfect apparel swap opportunity and I'm glad that I took advantage of it. Don and Pokey were good and didn't need to swap anything out. From that point on, we were good to go. We were playing with the best ski conditions that I've ever seen!

                From the Lean-to, we took the Bobcat Trail. It's sign didn't have a rating. Pokey and I flew down it. It was a freaking blast. Don had a bit of trouble here. The final rip down the Bobcat was wicked. Pokey and I enjoyed a great run. It was "cool!"

                Don, being cautious, popped off his skis, hopped off trail and ran down the remainder. It turns out that Bobcat is a Black Diamond trail.

                Nice job Pokey and Sun Dogg.

                Pokey was about to take off on a Black Diamond path called "Solitude."

                I saved Don's life and called her back and we made our way back on to the Ole Faithful trail. We hit a split that offered a green trail and black diamond split (upper Bobcat) that would link back up while leading us back to the ski lodge. Pokey and I took the black trail and Don took the green. Nothing about the upper part of this trail was hard, complicated or "way too fast..."
                Just some rolling hills followed by a nice big easy hill back to the intersection. Which, we arrived at the same time as Don.

                We skied back to the lodge and made a five minute stop at our vehicles to rehydrate.

                We then, hit the Wilderness Trail with the intention of skiing to 13th Lake. This was a really nice trail with a few good turns thrown in.
                We opted to skip the lake and follow a combo of the Hopper - Andy - Red - Andy trail to the top of the mountain where the actual Garnet Hill Lodge sits. You're waking up to a heck of a view if you're staying here. Pretty nice scenery.

                We popped on to the "Blue Jay Way" trail. Pokey was stoked because of the Beatles reference. And, it ended up being an awesome way down the mountain.

                Don even crushed it!

                Blue Jay Way linked us up with Ole' Faithful which we took a left and convinced Don to go on the upper Bobcat Trail with us (Counter-clockwise). He noted that it was just a simple series of little hills... It was. Then, just an easy ski back to Ole Faithful and back to the ski lodge.

                Despite the brief early frustrations at Garnet Hill, you can't let that hang over you while chilling with a good friend... These were the best conditions anywhere - all season. We enjoyed a really fun and exciting ski in a "new" part of the park..

                Garnet Hill Lodge has been added to all of our annual "To-do" lists.
                Ordering online next time...

                This has been such a fun and cool late season.
                You really can't ask for much more than that!

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                • #39
                  Ski Days 37 & 24: Macomb State Reservation (Campground Side) 3/27/23

                  After work and homework were done, we took a ride over to Macomb to get in a ski. We checked out both sides of the pond (day use and campground sides) and ended up rolling with the Campground Side. Pokey has been to this side of the park a few times in Winter... But, she and her friend mostly hung out and occasionally rode their sleds down the hill while I skied nearby.

                  So, in many ways this was her first time here. We did a few of the hills by the pond before making a loop around the campground. Conditions were mostly bleh. But, there were a few moments that we hit untouched snow that was just hidden enough from the Sun where things were kinda nice for a minute or two.

                  I expected much worse conditions. But, there's plenty of "off the main routes" snow that hasn't seen a ski on it all year. So, for the time being, the Macomb Campground side is still skiable.

                  Coming off of two great days of skiing with nothing short of the best conditions, I... We, knew this was not going to be a "Bobcat," "Blue Jay Way," or a "Cascade."

                  That's alright.


                  • #40
                    Ski Day 38: Macomb State Reservation (Day Use Side) 3/28/23

                    After a busy day, I shot over to Macomb. I've gotta mention there are a buncha families that plow the all of the snow off their yards on the road that leads to Macomb's campground & day use side. Such a waste... Just to drive ATV's around... a tree... lol.

                    Anyways, I went to the day use side today. It's a bit of a mixed bag. Some thin stuff, some icy stuff and some deep stuff. Depends where you are and where the sun has hit. I did the nature trail which had all of the above going on. The lower trail and area that follows the "pond's" shoreline was shot. So, I skipped that.

                    However, the fields still have quite a bit of snow on them. I followed the perimeter. Lots of deep stuff here. The other day, I skied up and down this random huge "lump of snow." It was funny and got a laugh. But, despite there still being a decent amount of snow in this spot...
                    Plenty had melted since.
                    There was still a big base on most of the lump... But, the thawing temps had exposed enough where I realized that it was a pile of branches and blowdown that had been tossed there. I opted to not climb the lump.

                    It was just a short ski to the car from here.

                    Some places along the trail will burn out soon... But, there's definitely some life left at Macomb.


                    • #41
                      Ski Days 39 & 25: Dewey Mountain 4-1-23

                      I called before we left to see if Dewey was still open. I got an answering machine with the prior week's trail conditions. We drove out anyways. If the center was closed and there was still snow, we could ski it for free. When we arrived, it was apparent that the center had closed the day before. So we popped on our skis and hit the trails. Dewey has a reputation with us for being a very fast place to ski on the flats, uphills and downhills. On this day, it was pretty slow moving. The snow was mostly slushy but there were some spots of ice. We started out by doing Cookie Monster. A favorite trail and great warmup. We followed this up by skiing the Black Diamond "Iron Bill" for the first time. This was an awesome trail that takes you up to the Upper Mountain and then shoots you down amidst beautiful scenery and tight turns. We were definitely kicking some slop on the way down. But, that may have been a good thing. We decided to call it a day after Iron Bill and went into the village. Pokey picked up a Winter Carnival shirt at Bear Essentials and we grabbed some (good) lunch at Fusion Market. This was a fun final visit to Dewey for the season. I really can't say enough good things about Dewey. It's where we "got good" this year.


                      • #42
                        Ski Days 40 & 26: South Meadows Road 4-2-23

                        Pokey and I wen on a drive which we dubbed "Snow Watch 2023," where we drove through Ausable Forks, Jay, Upper Jay, Keene & North Elba in search of trailheads where snow was still present. Everything was cooked, a few of those places being the new bike trails between Upper Jay and Keene, Craig Woods and John Brown's Farm.

                        The last place that we stopped was South Meadows Road. We saw two guys ski out as we parked. So things were looking hopeful for "Snow Watch 2023."

                        It was immediately evident, that his was awful. We would've been better off with ice skates. We reached the turn off for Van Hoe and opted to take it to see if conditions were any better... They weren't. After "skiing" a few hundred yards. We decided to turn around. Getting back to the road, we took a left and skied a little more. We arrived at a small snowman and called it a day and zipped back to the car.

                        We found what we could on "Snow Watch 2023." It's pretty safe to say the XC season is over...
                        That said, 40 days was my original goal before "No Snow January" made me adjust the number. So There's that.


                        • Learning The Trails
                          Learning The Trails commented
                          Editing a comment
                          That said, we grabbed some Crosby, Stills and Nashville's from the Ice Jam Inn on our way home and ate them at the Jay Covered Bridge. As always, great food. Definitely check them out.

                      • #43
                        Ski Days 41 & 27: Whiteface Mountain (Bear Den Side) 4/7/23

                        I haven't downhill skied in the ballpark of 20 years...

                        A friend sent an IM informing me that Whiteface was selling tickets for Bear Den for $10 dollars on Friday (rentals were 10 dollars). Seemed like a nice way to kick off my vacation (which officially began at 2 PM) and to wrap up the sticks attached to feet season.

                        Pokey & I arrived at the Bear Den lot a little before 3 PM. We checked in at the desk and I informed the guy working the desk that Pokey was in ski club and that I noticed on her rental card that her rentals were valid until 4/28. I explained that people working (at this desk) told me that her rentals were valid for the rest of the season. I had a pic showing her ski club "rental card." He had an assistant check with the rental dept. and they reported that her rentals were no longer valid.

                        "No worries," said the man, "I'm a manager with guest services and I'll give her free rentals for the day."

                        He printed off a slip and she was all set. Sick!

                        We grabbed our rentals and threw our stuff on a table and went outside. Pokey wanted me to do some practice runs off of the magic carpet, which I gladly obliged. She gave me five words of advice before we moved over to the Falcon Flyer lift.

                        It took me maybe 30 seconds of skiing down and a sloppy stop to realize that I was doing a few things wrong. I immediately made adjustments and enjoyed a worry free ski down. On our next run, Pokey led me down Loon/Bobcat. Zero problems. During this run, we ran into one of her instructors leading a class.

                        "Hey Terry!" yelled Pokey, "What's up?"

                        "Oh, Hi!" shouted Terry.

                        After that run, I told her that I'd be off checking out the rest of the trails and that she could ski whichever trails on the Bear Den Side that she wanted...

                        They were all the Flying Squirrel. It's her favorite on this side. She mentioned that it really should be a Blue Trail.
                        I skied all of the other trails and enjoyed seeing the places where Pokey learned to downhill.

                        We'd meet up at the lift and hop back on it.

                        After enjoying skiing all of the other trails on the Bear Den side, I joined Pokey for a run down the Flying Squirrel.

                        I nailed a jump right off the rip... But needed to hit another to somewhat impress her. I was ecstatic with my run.

                        Meanwhile, Pokey hit every terrain feature and crushed it. Signing her up for ski club this year was of the best things ever. During "free ski," she skied with a few of her friends, a few of my friends & our family.

                        It was nice to join her for a really fun and final ski at Bear Den/Whiteface.

                        A superb season!

                        Pokey has figured both the XC and downhill side of skiing this season. She has a few different arrows in her quiver.

                        Get out of the way!

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                        • #44
                          Originally posted by Learning The Trails View Post
                          Ski Days 39 & 25: Dewey Mountain 4-1-23
                          The snow was mostly slushy but there were some spots of ice.
                          What skis do you use and how do you wax them for slush?


                          • #45
                            I can't speak for LTT but F4 liquid is a no brainer in just about every condition except racing. I've found that I can get more useable mileage out of good application of it than a hotwax too.
                            My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.