Wednesday, January 19, 2011

XC Skiing - Featherstonhaugh State Forest

It was a messy storm yesterday and overnight. First came a few inches of new powder, followed by a brief period of sleet in the morning. In the afternoon came the freezing rain, creating a full half-inch of icy crust in my driveway and back yard. Then today we got another inch or two of powder on top of that crust. Skiing seemed improbable at best, so I resigned myself to getting out for a snowshoe walk this afternoon.

Featherstonhaugh SF has become my go-to place for a quick outing like this close to home, so was the most likely candidate for today. It's flat, uncrowded, and familiar, so seemed like the right idea. But just in case, I'd throw in the skis, in the unlikely event that would even be possible. If not, then I'd snowshoe instead.

As it turned out, as long as I skied in the previous ski or snowshoe tracks that had been well-packed before the icy crust came down, the skiing really wasn't bad. There was an inch or two of new snow on top of the crust, and not much soft snow underneath to break through into. Next to the trail was a different story, and a ski disappeared under the crust on several occasions, into the 8-10 inches of softer snow below.

The trees were all sugar-coated with new snow atop the icy glaze, and the branches were bending over deeply from the weight. It turned into a pretty good day to be out.

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