Well, so far this winter has been a roller-coaster ride to say the least. We were teased at the end of October with some nice snow, but then were hammered with warm weather and rain. It’s been back-and-forth between cold then warm. I won’t go on any further, as I’m sure a lot of you are feeling the same pain I am right now. It does look like our friends up at Stowe and Jay having been getting some love from the snow gods, if they could send some of that down here it would be greatly appreciated!
I’m sure a lot of you out there keep looking and thinking about your favorite backcountry spots, wondering when you’ll be able to skin, tour, and get some fresh tracks. I’ve been trail running a lot lately with our dog, passing a lot of the spots that should have snow just waiting to get out! With the lack of snow in the backcountry I’ve had to get my fix by skinning at the local mountain. (All the mountains in Southern Vermont have done a fantastic job making snow and covering trails considering the hand they’ve been dealt.)
There has been a lot of debate over this issue and by no means do I wish to start one. Some resorts in Vermont have banned skinning while others are embracing it. I’m pretty sure this has been going on for a long time even with people just snowshoeing to the summit. Whether you think it’s right or wrong is your own opinion, but if your going to do it, be smart and use common sense, and know the skiers’ responsibility code. Just because your going uphill doesn’t mean you’re exempt. Always stay to the side of the trail and always be visible, this doesn’t mean you have to wear your neon parka from the ’80s. If your going stop, don’t take a break at the bottom of a huge kicker in the terrain park. The most important thing is to smile, and if you have to fake an honest laugh when you hear “You’re going the wrong way!” for the 50th time. Chances are, a lot of nice people will stop to chat up with you and offer you words of encouragement. You may not be in the backcountry shredding gnar, but at least you’re off the couch getting a good workout. So get out there!!