If you’re a skier but you don’t own a mountain bike, I pity you. One of my buddies summed up this year’s spring ski season best when he commented, “This ski season has been the best mountain biking season ever.”
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s been a warm and dry spring. With the exception of this past week, we’ve had more than our fair share of sunshine. Combined with the lack of snowfall, this has been a godsend for mountain bikers. Apparently, buff singletrack grows from the tears of frustrated spring skiers.
Most years, April is the time for corn harvesting: corn snow that is. Usually the snow depositories in the upper reaches of the White and Green mountains are ripe for the picking in the warm spring sun. However, my early March trip to the quickly disintegrating snowpack on the Gulf of Slides made it apparent that this wasn’t going to be a typical year.
After seeing the early season carnage, I sank into a depression. In fact, I was so depressed that I dug deep into my shed and broke out my mountain bike to try and ease the pain. This was no easy feat. Touching my mountain bike in March, much less thinking about it, is verboten. I was breaking the rules. I was effectively turning my back on winter. But sometimes you have to break the rules. Change the game. Adapt.
The result has been over 300 miles of mountain biking in March and April. I’ve already made my first trip to Kingdom Trails, where I found the trails drier and in better condition than at any point last year. By comparison, I didn’t even start mountain biking last year until the beginning of May, and it wasn’t until late July that I approached the 300 mile mark on singletrack.
This is going to be a special year. So don’t be a whiner. Be an opportunist.
And if you’re not a mountain biker, it’s time to go to your local bike shop and get acquainted with the thin dirty line. It might just make you forget that you didn’t make it to Tuckerman this year.