Weekend at Sunapee Dec 30-31, 2017
I thought of all sorts of cute names for this thread driving home,"Max Pass weekend 1", "4aprice visits Nanook"," Articgeddon" (That's a Joe Bastardi expression) etc., but decided plain and simple is what describes it best. The wife and I spent the weekend skiing at Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire.
Hey, the lady is 70 years old this year, a classic, the "Queen" of Southern New Hampshire and I wanted to wish her a happy birthday. I first got to know her back in the 70's as Cannon's "little sister"
These 1970's patches show the family ties quite clearly (they were probably bought the same season). The cris-crossing chair lifts is something I will always remember. Now she is married to a very well run Okemo and wearing newer and much needed facilities.
We had 3 days to get a small vacation in. While my hectic season (Christmas) just ended, my wife's (year end) is just about to start so we really wanted to get in some days. We packed very carefully with all the cold weather gear we got, very cognizant of the coming cold. After work on Friday, got delayed pre-paying our property taxes by a line, (a NJ thing, don't ask) and missed my window to travel up through Ct so we had to go via the Thruway to Mass Pike to 91 instead of through up through Hartford, but still made decent time to White River Junction (watching the temperature plummet all the way) and even got in a swim before hitting the hay.
While Saturday would be my 3rd day of the season it would be my wife's 1st, so hurrying her was not my first priority. Forecast was pretty good with light winds. Drove down to the ski area through what has to be one of my favorite places the Lake Sunapee area which is really pretty under a good mantle of snow and arrived about 9:15. Pulling up towards the lodges they were parking cars in the 2nd lot below Spruce Lodge. I was going to be kind to the wife and drop her and the equipment at the drop off area, come back and park so I passed the barricade, Suddenly the New Hampshire car in front of me dived on to the shoulder and parked right there. I looked at the wife, got the nod, and dived in right behind them, across the street from the service road entrance to Spruce Lodge not even 200 yards away, lucky me. Dressed, booted up, stored the bag and hit the snow at 9:45.
Some of you may not be happy to hear this but Sunapee has gone to the RFID system. Once again I followed the instructions of keeping it in a pocket away from other objects and had no difficulties at all.
We started over in what I think is called the Little Sunapee area, boarding the Spruce Triple and hitting Elliott Slope. Almost 10 hitting uncut beautiful cord on a Saturday. Was too good to be true, so we hit it again before starting to head across the mountain.
Worked our way across Pipeline and Eggbeater to the North Peak triple. Jet Stream was ungroomed mounds so we avoided it, but everything else in this area of the mountain skied great.
Spruce Triple and Pipeline
The wife finishing off her 3rd run of the season
Hit Flying goose, and Lynx next. The groomed parts were good, the bumps Flying Goose were pretty icy, at least the outside lane I tried was. then hit the Sunapee Express up to the Summit lodge were the wife took a break and I took a run I will describe in another section of this report. She met me at the top of Sunbowl Express and we did Wingding, Skyway/Skyway Ledges and Westside/East Side and Lower Cataract all skiing quite well.
We then moved over to the Sunapee Express where we skied the top to bottom runs of Bonanza, Blast off and the Chases. Not going to say they were bad, but they must have seen much more traffic then the others because they were much more skied and the taste of ice much stronger. After those and a couple of more Sunbowl runs the wife had had enough and we went down and had a cocktail at Goosefeathers. I left after 1 for some more runs.
When the wife took her first rest at the summit lodge I took off for a run down Hawes S Hideout which I knew was open. I need to introduce a new term into my reports and that would be the Sketch Factor. Overall I would give the Sunapee woods a Sketch Factor of 6 (1 being good, 10 unskiable). Hawes was in that 5 to 6 range for sure with some troughs void of much snow and other obstacles but it was skiable.
Looking down Hawes
and back up where some of that sketchyness is more apparent.
After leaving her in Goosefeather's I went up North Peak Triple and hit Cataract Glades which I thought was much better and give it a Sketch factor of about 4.
Tried to hit Sunrise Glades but give that a Sketch Factor of about 9 and bailed back over to Hawes. Hit Double Dare Ya on Sunday and give it a SF of 5. All in all fun but could use more snow.
In between times in the wood there were some fun bumps to be had on Upper Wingding, Middle Wingding and Kartwheel. Love the little signed areas reading natural conditions and the bumps were in pretty good shape.
Sunday the 31st was much the same except colder. Arriving even later then Saturday we were able to park in the main lot between the 2 lodges (nobody was there).
Jet Stream had the mounds groomed out and was absolutely beautiful. We skied around much of the same stuff as Saturday even hitting South Peak for a couple of runs (including a little glade which was actually not bad) for pictures.
Looking across from South Peak
An empty North Peak Triple Sunday afternoon
Favorite run of the weekend was the top 1/3 of Goose Bumps. Bottom 2/3 had snow guns on it, but they were not running (too cold?) and it remained closed all weekend but the top was a whole lotta of fun. Also skied a more inside line of Flying Goose bumps and it was better then the outside line but still in need of more snow.
Top 1/3 of Goosebumps (South Peak in background)
The Little Things
As I've said before I really have enjoyed this Max Pass and "weekending" at different resorts. I feel skiing it 2 days in a row you really get the feel and vibe of a place even if you are skiing the same trails on multiple days. We found a couple of things that really made our visit to Mount Sunapee enjoyable. One was on Saturday where they give a small mass service up stairs at the Summit Lodge which we attended. I'm not the most religious person in the world but my wife enjoys it and it was a nice touch.
Note the ski boots on the priest's feet
The other thing we enjoyed was Goosefeather's Pub. It is a really nice ski area bar with good food and an attentive staff. The Cuban Sandwich and fries were particularly good. We found the atmosphere very enjoyable.
All and all it was a fun weekend. A couple of shout outs, one to my wife who uttered not one word of complaint through a brutally cold weekend and was a true trooper. And one to the good Dr Jeff who's suggestion of Dematone was spot on, Thank you Dr J. Happy 70th Mount Sunapee, you showed us a good time.
Lake Hopatcong, NJ