Woke up rather early this morning to skin up Wachusett. I’ve been itching to get out there since I bought some telemark gear this summer. Wachusett is free if you hike up and come down before they open up in the morning – 8AM. And for me its only a half hour away which makes it worth it. It was a beautiful morning as well – actually all mornings are beautiful in their own way – even if the weather sucks. Temps were in the 30s somewhere – just cold enough not to melt things. There was a bit of overcast but it was clearing up when I was ascending which revealed a unique perspective on Monadnock and the Wapacks. The light gave these hills a dynamic character that I’ve never seen from the few dozen or so times I’ve been up this hill. Its amazing how lighting can reveal entire new features of common objects. I wish I was in the mode to take some photos but I was on skiing time today and not picture time.
It was a bit of workout to skin up the mountain but nothing terribly hard. I went up Conifer Connection behind some other guy who was really moving well. It was good to see that I wasn’t the only one skiing over here at this time since I’m new at this and was a bit tentative about what to do. The ski patrol was out and they were still grooming up until 7AM. I’m also assuming the Confederate flag motifs (2) and the Redneck “Nation” stuff I saw in the parking lot belonged to these guys. But, thats beside the point. I almost felt like a kid going out for a team for the first time – the sensation of being new. It actually felt good to be a bit disoriented. I got the chance to talk to two other telemark skiers at the top for a few minutes before sloppily making my way down the hill. They had a similar story to mine – picking up telemark after years of alpine. It was good to see a few people not working at the mountain to make the mountain feel more hospitable. When I came down the lodge was already half full of people (it was before 8AM) and I realized it was a joy to have the slopes to myself for a little while. Wachusett gets crowded quickly and can become repetitive. Took about 25 or so minutes to get up, which I think I’ll count as my workout for the day. It was well worth the early morning to come up here and this will be something I do again.
There was nobody out here to see me fall! Honestly, its great to learn how to ski again. I like to try new things and I don’t mind being new at something. But I have a lot of work to do on my technique. Curiously though, alpine turns feel almost exactly the same. I think I could ski anything with these things, which is probably hubris talking but they turned in a similar way to alpine skis. I linked a few tele turns together which was a magical feeling however and made the hard fall onto that manmade corduroy worth it!