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View Full Version : Trail-Skiing Conditions across the WMNF



--M.
12-25-2010, 01:00 PM
Merry Christmas (and general Happy Holidays) to everyone today!

I've seen li'l bits of snow data around the trip reports and trail conditions (winter and these pages go together like hand and glove!), but I'd love to see specific updates from those who have been out recently. MORE TC REPORTS, PLEASE!

For example, is the Zealand trail still a rock-ski proposition, or is there a reliably compressed and usable base by now? Has anyone been out along the Swift River valley (Sawyer Pond, Lily Pond, Rob Brook)? Can you cross from Zealand to Lincoln Woods yet (bridges notwithstanding!)?

For another example, I avoid hijacking the "Bridges of Gale River Road," but one poster asks about footbeds (meaning bridge construction), but in a later post, I feel like asking about the footbed under one's skis all the way to the steeps. Someone does, and it'd be great to hear about conditions across the region.

Is the Wildcat Valley Ski Trail in? (By the way, I know the answer is here: http://jacksonxc.org/trail-conditions, and no, it seems the snow is not in yet.) But personal testimony is rad-i-cal-mon, and this is a good demographic for mining.

Perhaps a currently updated thread would be one way to centralize. Or not, but I'd sure appreciate more ambient-snow-conditions reports: I may actually get to find out for myself sometime, and I don't actually own rock skis (my three sets are are different, with no back-ups).

For a tangent, where are your favorite bc-skiing spots? I have really enjoyed the ones listed above, plus
==Champney Falls,
==Livermore Pass,
==Greeley Ponds and
==The Wild River system (which is a particularly effective way to shed traffic -- just don't need rescue!).
Where did you have the most fun?

Thanks, and Happy New Year!

--Mike.

DougPaul
12-25-2010, 02:40 PM
One way of getting an idea of BC conditions around the Whites is by checking the conditions at the commercial areas:

Some ski areas:
* Bear Notch: http://bearnotchskitouring.blogspot.com/
* Bretton Woods: http://www.brettonwoods.com
* Franconia Village: http://www.franconiainn.com/cross_country_ski_center.php
* Great Glen: http://www.greatglentrails.com/
* Jackson: http://www.jacksonxc.com/
* Loon: http://www.loonmtn.com/winter/
* Mt Washington Valley (Intervale): http://www.mwvskitouring.org/
* Waterville Valley: http://www.waterville.com/

(not the Whites, but a nice place anyway...)
* Windblown: http://www.windblownxc.com/

Associations:
SkiNH: http://www.xcskinh.com/snow-reports/index.cfm
Cross Country ski Areas Assoc: http://www.xcski.org/

And a search on "cross country skiing new hampshire" (no quotes) brings up more info sources. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=cross+country+skiing+new+hampshire

Doug

bikehikeskifish
12-26-2010, 07:39 AM
Waterville is still "waiting for snow" and Bretton Woods has 6-10". My read is that it is still very scratchy, even for rock skis, down low.

Tim
p.s. I expect to be XC skiing over New Year's weekend, however :D

MichaelJ
12-26-2010, 08:08 AM
I have it on good authority that the "snow was awesome" on Friday at the Bretton XC center (the downhill snow sure was, woo-hoo!).

I noted in my other thread that Zealand Road has been plowed, and kltilton confirmed it goes only as far as I'd guessed: about 1/3 mile south of the Sugarloaf trailhead.

And it's all gonna change tonight, anyway!

mirabela
12-26-2010, 08:23 AM
Looks like it's about to get a lot better ...

--M.
12-26-2010, 11:52 AM
Yes, indeedy, it will!

Thanks for the replies. DougPaul, I knew of some of those, but not all, thanks!

I also appreciate camera shots, and so use the MWO webcams (http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/cam/presidentials/) and notice you didn't mention Cannon Mountain (http://www.cannonmt.com/snowreport.html), which can add a bit of context.

But I was thinking about what the commercial sites don't offer that we have here, and it shows up in Tim's post: the personal eyewitness testimony! So thanks, everyone.

Will be curious to see what news there is after today. Seems there's white all down the eastern seaboard!

Thanks again, skiers,

--Mike.

DougPaul
12-26-2010, 04:33 PM
notice you didn't mention Cannon Mountain (http://www.cannonmt.com/snowreport.html), which can add a bit of context.
The downhill sites can be useful for listing very recent snow, but of course their snow depths don't tell you much about the backcountry.

There used to be a site which showed graphs of new snowfall at DH areas for the past week or two, but it disappeared years ago.

The Backcountry trail conditions can also be useful: http://www.outdoors.org/recreation/tripplanner/go/backcountry-weather.cfm

And, of course, recent trip reports can be helpful. (But hikers often don't give full snow info for skiers...)

So mostly I just combine a number of hints plus knowledge of recent snowfalls and temps and make my best guess.

Doug

cushetunk
12-26-2010, 07:32 PM
If you aren't already familiar with these sites, you should check out:

Tele tips forum (http://www.telemarktalk.com/phpBB/)

and (drink a beer or something before diving into this one)

Teton Gravity Research Forums
(http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/)

These folks are mostly seeking out turns, and they'll rarely disclose precisely where the reports are from, but you can get some very good info on backcountry conditions if you poke around.

Becca M
12-27-2010, 07:41 PM
I think the question is really about "back-country" meaning cross-country on ungroomed trails. It's hard to find info without sorting through tele or randonee stuff. I think people kind of sort themselves into flat (meaning X-country) or steep (meaning turns-- tele, randonee, or downhill). There isn't much info in-between.

Some classic (in my opinion) "back-country" XC areas (ungroomed) are the Beaver Brook ski area, Greeley Ponds, Flat Mountain Pond area and the Pemi area from Lincoln Woods. A big issue is typically the wet gullies (trying NOT to get the skis wet) when the snow isn't deep enough. Another issue is the blow-downs, which require LOTS of maneuvering around. Greeley Pond is typically blow-down free, but the wilderness areas are (naturally) filled with blow-downs, making it not so fun (for me). Although I saw skiers last year on Cedar Brook, they were having a heck of a time with blow-downs and stream crossings. Of course, the deeper the snow, the better.

I tend to write up trip reports when I ski something, but, I've found that there just aren't that many people out there breaking out the back-country XC/hiking trails!!!! I used to break out the wilderness/lincoln woods loop, the greeley ponds out-and-back, and beaver brook the first nice saturday after a storm. Like I said... there don't seem to be THAT many people in the in-between ("back-country X-country")!!!!

Anybody else out there breaking them out??? What do you think???? I really should do some trailwork on them!!!!

DougPaul
12-27-2010, 09:31 PM
I think the question is really about "back-country" meaning cross-country on ungroomed trails.
Yes it was. The point of my posts was that one can use info from commercial XC areas, DH areas, recent weather, plus a few other sources to make educated guesses about BC snow conditions.


Anybody else out there breaking them out??? What do you think???? I really should do some trailwork on them!!!!
I've certainly (ski) broken a trail or two. And at least one of them required far more clearing than one person could have done in a day.

Doug

MichaelJ
12-28-2010, 07:22 AM
Some classic (in my opinion) "back-country" XC areas (ungroomed) are the Beaver Brook ski area, Greeley Ponds, Flat Mountain Pond area and the Pemi area from Lincoln Woods.

Also the Sawyer River Trail, the loop off of the Oliverian Brook Trail, and the Nanamacomuck along the Kanc.

carla
12-28-2010, 09:05 AM
just a thank you to those who do often break trails. Coming up from Mass, I almost always too late up to NH post-snowstorm to be the trail breaker. I've certainly done it, but it's pretty tough going for me as a small-ish woman. So I am always happy/thankful/grateful to find a trail broken out for me.

Hoping to XC ski on Beaver Brook and environs this Sat, but I have a feeling that a bunch of you will beat me to it, since it's only Tues now...

Do you all know whether XC skiers ever break out a trail on the Gale River Rd?

Happy trails...




Yes it was. The point of my posts was that one can use info from commercial XC areas, DH areas, recent weather, plus a few other sources to make educated guesses about BC snow conditions.


I've certainly (ski) broken a trail or two. And at least one of them required far more clearing than one person could have done in a day.

Doug

--M.
12-28-2010, 09:34 AM
I think the question is really about "back-country" meaning cross-country on ungroomed trails. It's hard to find info without sorting through tele or randonee stuff. I think people kind of sort themselves into flat (meaning X-country) or steep (meaning turns-- tele, randonee, or downhill). There isn't much info in-between.

Some classic (in my opinion) "back-country" XC areas (ungroomed) are the Beaver Brook ski area, Greeley Ponds, Flat Mountain Pond area and the Pemi area from Lincoln Woods. A big issue is typically the wet gullies (trying NOT to get the skis wet) when the snow isn't deep enough. Another issue is the blow-downs, which require LOTS of maneuvering around. Greeley Pond is typically blow-down free, but the wilderness areas are (naturally) filled with blow-downs, making it not so fun (for me). Although I saw skiers last year on Cedar Brook, they were having a heck of a time with blow-downs and stream crossings. Of course, the deeper the snow, the better.

I tend to write up trip reports when I ski something, but, I've found that there just aren't that many people out there breaking out the back-country XC/hiking trails!!!! I used to break out the wilderness/lincoln woods loop, the greeley ponds out-and-back, and beaver brook the first nice saturday after a storm. Like I said... there don't seem to be THAT many people in the in-between ("back-country X-country")!!!!

Anybody else out there breaking them out??? What do you think???? I really should do some trailwork on them!!!!

Thank you for this; what an excellent post!

I once thought I was a voice in the wilderness on skiing low-angle hiking trails, but it's definitely not the case: there are plenty of us! My version of the "48" is actually just a must-do list, and skiing certainly sits at the top! I feel among the luckiest in the world because of skiing...
the back of Wildcat,
(what little I could of) Tuckerman Ravine and the Sherburne Trail (steeper, I know),
the trails out to Avalanche Lake and Indian Pass in the DAKs and
Livermore Pass on the Kancamagus.
Most of these were skied on fresh powder and it added to the magic more than it subtracted from glide.

But thank you for those eye-witness accounts; I may come up soon. And after yesterday, we have a foot of fresh powder here at home. I could start a whole 'nother thread on trail-prep out the back door!

DougPaul
12-28-2010, 11:28 AM
Thank you for this; what an excellent post!

I once thought I was a voice in the wilderness on skiing low-angle hiking trails, but it's definitely not the case: there are plenty of us!
There are quite a few of us. Many of the trails in the Whites follow old logging railroads and roads and thus are likely to be suitable for low-angle skiing. The Pemi in particular has a large network.


My version of the "48" is actually just a must-do list, and skiing certainly sits at the top! I feel among the luckiest in the world because of skiing...
the back of Wildcat,
(what little I could of) Tuckerman Ravine and the Sherburne Trail (steeper, I know),
the trails out to Avalanche Lake and Indian Pass in the DAKs and
Livermore Pass on the Kancamagus.
Most of these were skied on fresh powder and it added to the magic more than it subtracted from glide.
The Sherburne ("Sure-burn") Trail is like an ungroomed black diamond downhill trail. (I have the cuts, bruises, and broken glasses to prove it...) And Tucks is Tucks.

David Goodman has written some very useful guidebooks, now in their third edition: http://www.amazon.com/Best-Backcountry-Skiing-Northeast-Classic/dp/1934028142/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books The WMNF also publishes info on a number of their BC ski trails: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain/recreation/winter_activities/skiing/skiing.php And a number of hiking trails (many covered in Goodman's books) and some 4K summits are skiable (eg Garfield, Owls Head, and maybe Moosilauke) on low-angle BC gear.

And since you mention Livermore Pass, there is a very nice loop out of Waterville Valley--up Kancamagus Brook Trail to Livermore Pass and then down Livermore Rd. (I have broken KBT several times, passed 20+ blowdowns on the upper portion of KBT, and broken my leg on upper Livermore Rd... (Don't let the leg scare you--the terrain was easy at the spot--a blowdown jumped out and bit me.)) Intermediate ski skills are generally adequate although it is real BC and there may be some route finding difficulty on the flats just before reaching Livermore Rd. Although I have climbed it on waxes (in good snow conditions), I usually use skins for the climb.

Another nice one is a 25 mi lolipop--Lincoln Woods, Thoreau Falls Tr, return via Shoal Pond Tr. Took me 17.5 hr and included some route finding and 12 mi of night skiing. Or just go out as far as you want and turn back.


But thank you for those eye-witness accounts; I may come up soon. And after yesterday, we have a foot of fresh powder here at home. I could start a whole 'nother thread on trail-prep out the back door!
I often take both my waxable and waxless skis in the car and choose according to the snow conditions at the trailhead.

Doug

kltilton
12-28-2010, 03:49 PM
I found the Sherburne to be skiable with BC XC gear if there's enough powder. It's amazing what 10" of fresh snow will do :D.

David Metsky
12-28-2010, 05:21 PM
Sherburne is more like a blue trail. It's narrow at times, but not where it's steep. I've skied it on back country gear many times, even in awful conditions

DougPaul
12-28-2010, 05:27 PM
When I skied Sherburne it was lumpy worked powder (like a downhill run at the end of the day when the surface powder has been pushed into piles) and some patches of water ice. IMO, black diamond skills were required that day. I have no doubt that it is easier with a nice coat of fresh powder.

FWIW, Goodman rates it a "more difficult", but IMO many of his ratings are sandbags.

Doug

--M.
12-28-2010, 06:14 PM
The day we went, Tux was iced boilerplate, but the Sherburne was powder bliss. There were a few tough spots, but it was a cruising dream..., that day (April 1, couple years ago).

Goodman's book is fun! The bits about the Inferno (the Toni Matt story is incredible!) and the history of Cannon Mountain are cool and the suggestions are all good fodder. There's also good stuff about Joe Dodge and his son, Brooks ("Dodge's Drop"? that's ridiculous!). By the way, get your copy from Mr. Smith's Mountain Wanderer, should Amazon lose your attention for a moment.

Thanks for the bit on Livermore from Waterville. Would also like to get further into the Sawyer Pond and Bear Notch area.

DougPaul
12-28-2010, 07:06 PM
Would also like to get further into the Sawyer Pond are Bear Notch area.
You can XC ski the Sawyer Pond Tr from the Kanc if the ice at the Swift River crossing is strong enough. Otherwise, enter at a logging road near the S end of Bear Notch Rd. Follow the logging road until it intersects SPT. (Don't follow the Rob Brook Tr--it may be marshy.) You can also turn N on a snowmobile trail just E of Sugar Hill. All of the above are marked on the AMC map.

I've done both routes--both are nice.

Doug

DougPaul
12-28-2010, 09:25 PM
Do you all know whether XC skiers ever break out a trail on the Gale River Rd?
Last I knew the Gale River Rd was used as a snowmobile route between the road junction just east of the summer parking lot for the Gale River Tr and a junction just west of the summer parking lot for the Garfield Tr. So you shouldn't have to worry about breaking that part. Snowmobilers often "explore" nearby roads so they might have broken the whole road.

Doug

--M.
12-29-2010, 08:49 AM
You can XC ski the Sawyer Pond Tr from the Kanc if the ice at the Swift River crossing is strong enough. Otherwise, enter at a logging road near the S end of Bear Notch Rd. Follow the logging road until it intersects SPT. (Don't follow the Rob Brook Tr--it may be marshy.) You can also turn N on a snowmobile trail just E of Sugar Hill. All of the above are marked on the AMC map.

I've done both routes--both are nice.

Doug

I've tried both routes, and been stymied both times. In one case, the Swift was open & running (March 15), so I went up Potash instead. In the other, the snow at Bear Notch was unbroken, thigh-deep, wet cement. I had never post-holed while skiing before, but I made it about 200 sweaty yards before I realized it was not to be. I went to the Lincoln Woods on-ramp and got myself some reliability (only had an hour to kill).

I think I'll do it from Lily Pond to the Sawyer Pond Trail. It just requires rather specific conditions, so it may have to wait. Ixnay on the ampsway!

Anyone been out lately? I see that Avalon report. The track out the back door is well-set now, with several laps of both snow-shoes and skis. And, miraculously (it's Christmas), no one has destroyed them yet! The first ski of the year always reminds me of how unfit I am at the start of the season.

Later....

DougPaul
12-29-2010, 10:30 AM
I've tried both routes, and been stymied both times. In one case, the Swift was open & running (March 15), so I went up Potash instead. In the other, the snow at Bear Notch was unbroken, thigh-deep, wet cement. I had never post-holed while skiing before, but I made it about 200 sweaty yards before I realized it was not to be. I went to the Lincoln Woods on-ramp and got myself some reliability (only had an hour to kill).
When snow conditions are bad then one might as well stay home or do something else (like hike). I've had good conditions for both.


I think I'll do it from Lily Pond to the Sawyer Pond Trail. It just requires rather specific conditions, so it may have to wait. Ixnay on the ampsway!
That should work too. I've done Hancock Notch coming out at Lily Pond, but have never gone in there or toward Sawyer Pond from there.


Anyone been out lately? I see that Avalon report. The track out the back door is well-set now, with several laps of both snow-shoes and skis. And, miraculously (it's Christmas), no one has destroyed them yet! The first ski of the year always reminds me of how unfit I am at the start of the season.
Does "suburban BC" count? I did 6 mi on town conservation land and an abandoned railbed yesterday afternoon (Bedford, MA). I even broke part of the way. I'll probably go out again this afternoon. (But the heat wave will be killing the snow before long... :( )

Doug

Becca M
12-29-2010, 09:18 PM
No trip reports from skiers yet.... SO, any hikers notice if any of the ski trails you cross or see have ski tracks???? Wondering about anything along the Kanc???

DougPaul
12-29-2010, 10:40 PM
No trip reports from skiers yet.... SO, any hikers notice if any of the ski trails you cross or see have ski tracks???? Wondering about anything along the Kanc???
Lincoln Woods is almost certainly broken as far as the 3-mi bridge. Perhaps farther. (Last I knew, they groomed it as far as the bridge.)

East-Side Rd is also very likely broken out too.

Both lead much farther into the backcountry.

And if they aren't broken out, break one.

Doug

Becca M
12-30-2010, 08:23 PM
Lincoln Woods is almost certainly broken as far as the 3-mi bridge. Perhaps farther. (Last I knew, they groomed it as far as the bridge.)

East-Side Rd is also very likely broken out too.

Both lead much farther into the backcountry.

And if they aren't broken out, break one.

Doug


Good suggestion!!!! I'll post my trip report!!!!

una_dogger
12-30-2010, 08:27 PM
j

Hoping to XC ski on Beaver Brook and environs this Sat, but I have a feeling that a bunch of you will beat me to it, since it's only Tues now...

Do you all know whether XC skiers ever break out a trail on the Gale River Rd?

Happy trails...

I plan to...its well travelled by snowmobilers, if you don't mind skiiing in their track.