In honour of the first World Statistics Day yesterday, I presented you with the first TR posted directly on the Ski Mad World.
October snow: Skiing by numbers.
California actuaries to New York State ski bloggers are curious about numbers and statistics. So to start, here are a few number related to this outing:
3: Number of days later than last year’s start at Sunday River.
6: Consecutive months of October skied.
9: Total Days skiing in October
6: Different states/province skied in the month of October. 1 different each October.
50% of the October months were non-liftserved (33% of the days).
33% October months on artificial snow (4 out of 9 days).
In the East? 5 out of 6 ski days on natural snow over 5 Octobers.
8: Number of October ski days with more enjoyable conditions than on this past Monday.
2: feet of snow measured at around 3900 feet above sea level.
1: greatest vertical height skiing in October. (696 meters / 2284 feet)
1: number of runs done on this day.
1405m / 4610 feet above sea level: altitude at the start of my run.
2 hour sleep
4: times I’ve seen Roger Waters in Concert.
3 hour drive to Whiteface
2: times I started my season in the Daks lifetime. The previous time was at WF on January 5 2003 – yeah, it was my latest start in my life.
4 hour hike up the Toll Road
35 minutes ski run.
3 set of gloves
3 pairs of skis (with only one with AT gear).
$3 US or $3.25 CDN: Cost of Toll on the International bridge between Cornwall and NY state.
1 vital element forgotten that could have nixed my plan for this day.
58: Between my June and May days?
55: Between my August and July days?
41 Days between my last ski day in September and this day
The gap between days is heading in the right direction…
Harvey Road, a few colleague at work and friends were curious about the next fact:
61: consecutive months on skis on snow
63: consecutive months on skis if you include grass or sand
Now for the text
As the Ski forum chatter and the models became louder, it looked as some significant snow was heading our way.
The forecast was for a Friday-Saturday event. The Greens, the Daks and the Charlevoix were the three regions in my sights.
Where would the snow fall?
How significant? Steepmomo’s birthday party/sleepover was on Saturday/Sunday + I was seeing Roger Waters “The Wall” Tour in Ottawa on that Sunday, so I wouldn’t be able to make turns before Monday. I work on Mondays, but the priorities were straight from the start. Birthday > skiing > work. Anyone taking notes?
As people were sliding on Saturday, I was in a virtual internet blackout zone with 8 pre-teen/teen girls over running our home for 20 hours. I started looking around and seeing the results. Checking for some Beta, ‘is it worth it?’ is there any snow? It emerged that Killington seemed to have received an important amount, no word on Jay, Le Massif was white, but not really deep. Whiteface also got dumped on, something I noticed while looking at Friday afternoon’s radar. The plan was setting in, after getting back from the Roger Waters show, I checked emails and internet to confim my previous assessment. Started getting my ski gear together not trying to forget anything, only 2 hour of sleep until the waking up in order to get my gear in the car plus take care of a few things around the house (Monday is recycling and garbage day). I knew I was heading toward Lake Placid and Whiteface mountain 250km and 3 hours away, but I still needed to decide what I was going to do? Ski the ski area or head for the Toll House. I had driven the Toll Road to the top once, this was with my visiting mother-in-law back in our first Summer in Ottawa back in the 1995. The Toll Gate is at 709 meters versus something like 345 meters at the bottom of the ski area. Anyway, I was prepared with 3 pairs of skis (junkboard B1s, old skis XXXs and some fairly new Rossi SC87 with an AT setup – I need another AT setup for marginal conditions) plus 3 set of gloves. As I was crossing the International bridge in Cornwall, I noticed I forgot an important vital element to make on this trip. It could have been ugly, but someone was smiling at me.
After a long wait at customs and a couple of hours later, I drove passed Whiteface ski area, checking out the snow. The snowline was fairly high and it was hard to determine the amount from the highway, so I headed toward the Veteran Memorial Highway. There were traces of snow at the gate, however it was hard to determine how long of a walk until I reached some significant amount. A few people wanted to drive up and wondered why the road was closed? “There is at least one to two feet of snow at the summit” I said. A couple from Tennessee that arrived at the same time as me, decided to hike up. This was Day 3 after the storm, what was the snow going to be like? How much would have melted away? Heard it was wet and pretty dense initially.
I finally decided to tie the fatter old XXXs on my backpack and started hiking at 11am. This was very similar to my last day of skiing last September. An earn you turns type of day. Man, when I think I set my alarm at 4am and I only started hiking now? Was I going to reach the top of the road and summit, unlike that September day in Chile? Maybe one mile in, there was remaining jumps that were made by some snowboarders (I saw them at the end of the day). I had a long walk with “The Wall” playing over and over in my head, as the Roger Waters concert was sinking in. After maybe one hour, the snow was getting deeper while I tried to stay clear from the skin tracks plus I got a first look at the top. This is a long hike.
Previous night in Ottawa, sounds and sights still playing in my head.
At one point someone on a snowmobile passed me and I had a nice set of tracks to walk in instead of following the increasingly difficult bootpacked. At approximately 3,800 ft in altitude, the snow was about 2 feet deep and I struggled walking even in the snowmobile track. That lasted for a few hundred feet after that the snow was hard enough to hold my weight on most steps.
Snow at the Lake Placid turn was blown off, I was getting closer. I didn’t sink at all in the snow at this point, the snow was firm and made the walking much easier. There was even less snow at the Wilmington turns, with a glimpse of the ski runs on the other face. The ski runs off the summit quad seemed nice. I was know on the home stretch. After 4 hour, I reached the top of the road 5.5 miles and 720 meters later. I only saw two other hikers plus the Tennessee couple coming back when I was less than 1 miles from the top. They weren’t dress for this type of weather. Temps were around freezing, so the snow never soften. As I was getting to the top, a lady on cross-country skis arrived. I was just a few steps from the summit, but I didn’t want to leave too late. I wanted to start skiing down at 3pm at the latest and it was already passed that.
The cross-country skier started before, I started skiing right and passed her and never saw her again. The surface was frozen solid and would have been real hard in cross-country skis. The fact that there were a bunch of ski/board and skins tracks made it even harder as there were some deep ridge to cross to make some nice turns. Sometimes I skied the tracks, but it was like skiing within train tracks, so it was pretty hard to move away and I kept picking up speed. Killington received a ton of snow on this storm and got me thinking of the Toll Road as being WF’s Juggernaut, I don’t remember carrying as much speed on Kmart ultimate super long flat run. I had to slow down, jumped out of the tracks when I was skiing in them or simply stop to let my legs rest. My legs were tired from all the hiking and being on my toes to ski these conditions. It never warmed up enough to make the skis sink in the snow. At the bottom became a game of connecting the patches. I might have taken my skis off about 500 feet from the gate. That was one long descend and I didn’t have much strength to left in me to try to carve it up without getting tripped up by the many deep weekend tracks. Once at the car, I was happy. The enjoyment factor would have been greater if the snow would have softened up, but it wasn’t going to be. Still a day on skis, is always better than sitting around or being at work. My batting average is pretty good in October.