Mother Nature apparently didn't get the memo about it being the end of ski season. In my nine years in New Hampshire I certainly don't recall the entire mountain being open in April. Not just nearly every trail, but the glades too.
Sure, I can't deny that visions of bicycle riding have been dancing in my head. But this past weekend was the kind you remember as the classic spring skiing experience.
Saturday morning was still cool and cloudy, leaving the eight inches of fresh snow from Friday still wonderfully skiable. With a birthday party to take the kids to on Saturday afternoon, I got the morning pass to hit the slopes at Bretton Woods. On West Mountain, Maple Woods and John Graves Glades were just starting to get a few tracks, and the groom on Waumbeck and Star King made for speedy hero turns in the plush snow. On Rosebrook, I dropped into Roz's, a trail I often forget about, for some soft moguls, and then around again for a run down #5 on the Stickney Glades. To my delight, I got first tracks down the line nearest the ski area boundary before gliding back home.
On Sunday, the sun came out to play and we had a full day of outdoor adventure planned. In the morning, Matt and I each took a turn for an hour or so at Bretton Woods Nordic Center's last day of the season. It seemed that everyone I passed had a smile on their face. I stuck to the groomed trails, and took a nice long loop around Esker, up Beech Hill, across Clinton, up Abenaki Crossing, and then up and over Coronary Hills. The sentimental side of me was a bit sad to know that I won't be back cross-country skiing for several months, but I still had some downhill skiing to get to!
Matt met me at Bretton Woods alpine around noon, after Timothy's nap, when we also met up with two other families for some serious kid time at the Learning Center. Another thing I've come to learn this winter is how powerful the influence of other kids on the learning curve can be: when there are other, perhaps older, kids to emulate, Bridget's inhibitions seem to float away. After a short warm-up on the magic carpet, we quickly moved to the Learning Express Quad. Since November, she's become so much more comfortable with the whole skiing process. She walks much more easily in those big clunky ski boots, and turns around to retrieve something with her skis on without even thinking about it. Off the lift, Bridget put herself into a wedge to slow herself down without a reminder from Mom. Now we just have to work on making some arcing turns rather than heading straight down the fall line every time!
Timothy also rode the magic carpet a few times and Matt brought him up on the chairlift to meet Bridget and me. His little legs still aren't strong enough to really hold himself up to ski, but I knew he was excited to be out on the hill with the "big" kids.
After several runs with her buddies, we stopped for a brownie break in the sun on the benches outside the base lodge. In addition to some delicious treats from Lucy Crawford's Food Court, the kids found stomping in the puddles irresistible as well. While Matt and Dave went for a run on their own, Phoebe took Bridget and Silas in for a look at Tree Top Sports and returned with a new helmet for Silas, complete with a sheet of very entertaining stickers.
Next it was the mom's turn for a run on our own, and we headed over to Agassiz for a soft bump run in the sun. I saw this morning that the West Mountain Express High-Speed Quad and The Zephyr High-Speed Quad are closed for the season, so it may have been our last trip down Agassiz for a while.
Matt and Bridget joined the boys for another run on the Learning Center whileI took Timothy inside to warm up a bit. Although Bridget must have been tired by now, Matt came in to tell me that they were headed up with the boys for a run “on the big mountain” off the Bethlehem Express Quad. Although I was excited to hear that Bridget wanted to take on a new challenge, I just hoped it wasn’t too late in the day for such a energy-zapping endeavor. Luckily, she returned with a grin on her face. “Mommy, I went all the way to the top!” Matt later told me that it probably was a bit too steep for her, but she was nothing but proud, and I couldn’t help but share her enthusiasm. Snowflakes are gracing us with their presence one again this morning, but Bretton Woods’ closing day is only two weeks away. I hope you and your kids can get out there soon!