Monday, January 12, 2009

XC Skiing - Partridge Run Wildlife Management Area

Partridge Run is a patchwork of state and private land in western Albany County. At an elevation of 1800-2000 feet, it tends to get more snow and hold it longer than here in the city, at about 300 feet. It's only about 45 minutes from home, and for some reason, it's been several years since we've been there. There's a very nice 7-8 mile ski loop with some challenging hills, and with the new snow, we thought it would be a good nearby place to try. Nothing is groomed here, and it's more like backcountry skiing close to home.

Unfortunately, a couple of problems have complicated matters this year. First, the ground never froze before we started getting snow cover. That leads to situations like the picture below, where there's lots of open water and washouts in the trail.

There wasn't an excessive amount of this issue, but it was annoying nonetheless. A worse problem was the damage left by December 2008's massive ice storm. Below are a couple examples of the literally dozens of trees and limbs we needed to detour around, over, or sometimes through.

This made for very slow going. In a little over an hour, we had only covered about 2 miles, and with a time constraint due to another commitment, we had to turn around and head back the way we came. We never got to climb the uphill that led to the best downhill, but based on what we saw, it's doubtful that the downhill would have been a clear run anyway. This place needs some serious trail maintenance, and I won't be skiing there again until maybe next winter.

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