Wednesday, March 9, 2011

XC Skiing - Return to the Pine Bush Preserve

We're due for a couple of days of serious rain, so today I got out for one more day of skiing before the local snow washes away. A couple of days ago, Holly and I went to the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, and were the first ones out on the trails. That skiing was great, so I decided to give it another try, while Holly went snowshoeing elsewhere with some friends.

The Pine Bush gets a lot of snowshoe and walker traffic, and I expected the trails near the Discovery Center to be pretty beaten down. So my goal was to get to the trails across NY-155 to the southwest, which might still be untouched. There's a trail under the bridge that carries NY-155 over the Thruway that allows access to that area. I started out on the blue trail, but decided against skiing down the stairs from the top of the large dune, and did a longer route instead, out the red and white trails to the bottom of that steep hill. But because this route was longer, by the time I got to the white trail under the bridge, I decided against going there, still having a ways to get back to the car. And it had also been walked anyway, so there would be no virgin snow anymore.

So I returned to the car via the red and yellow loops. Though all of the trails had been walked, they were not hard-packed, and the snow was still soft enough for some decent skiing. I was only out for about an hour, but I'd covered a lot of ground at a pretty good clip, and had had enough. After yesterday's deep-snow slog, it was nice to actually kick and glide and get moving again.

This is a very interesting area for skiing, with lots of rolling terrain among the dunes. But it's best to get here just after a snowfall, or better yet, just after somebody else breaks trail.

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