Ok, its getting ridiculous now. Aims has found more snow to ski on up in Eustis, Maine. And not just a little bit of snow, but from the looks of it, a nice pile of the stuff! I don't even know where Eustis is, but suffice it to say you go past Sugarloaf, past Flagstaff Lake and its up there somewhere before you hit Canada. Phew, thats a drive! Here is his story and photographic proof.
For ten years I've wanted to make a spring trip to Eustis, Maine to catch the snowline before it recedes into Canada and this year I finally did.
The picture was taken at the north end of the Kibby Range, off Gold Brook Rd, near Chain of Lakes in northwest, Maine, elevation 3000 feet.
Things were disappointing as I pulled into spring-like Eustis late Friday afternoon. The only snow was a tiny pocket next to somebody's barn and I thought perhaps I'd just wasted a tank of gas. But, I kept driving further north on route 27 and soon I could see snow high up on the western hills, and in isolated patches in darker woods beside the road.
Sadly, the two woods roads I'd identified in advance from topo maps were a bust. Both started out fine, but one soon left its shady Hemlock grove and began a long, snowless climb through deciduous trees and the other turned out to require a ford of the swift (and cold-looking) North Branch of the Dead River. Missing out on that second trail was particularly disappointing because the snow-covered road on the other side climbed gently up into a long shady valley. Next year bring a boat, I vowed.
Finally, as I was about to give up and settle for my two short excursions, a long drive for just 12 minutes of skiing, I noticed a dirt logging road that climbed my side of the valley. Early mud season was underway and I've already switched the minivan to summer tires, but I thought I'd see if there was snow up there. Fortunately the road was firm and after climbing steadily for four miles, at about 2300' it swung around the north end of the ridge. And there, just waiting, was beautiful white snow! Recent logging had left a perfect ski playground, too.
Friday, by the time I'd found the Kibby snow fields, it was nearing sunset so I could ski for less than an hour. But early Saturday morning, before the rain began, I followed skidder tracks halfway up the mountain, bushwhacked through open Hemlock woods to the summit, and had a wonderful, winding descent.
As you can see from the picture, a couple of inches of fresh snow had fallen at the end of Tuesday's rain and conditions were clean and white and perfect.
Below is Ed Summersby's report from 4/30/08: Here’s my report on snow conditions on Mt.Washington. By last Saturday Tuckerman Ravine had lost a huge amount of snow to the recent 10-day heart wave. The Sherborn was skiable to the bottom up until last Thursday, but by Saturday only half way, and that was marginal, badly cut up with moguls and bare spots. The waterfall under the Little Headwall had totally washed out any chance of skiing there. The Bowl had snow, but what snow! Heavy soft mush, at least for me, made for what I would call not enjoyable spring skiing. The most pronounced negative about the Bowl were the deep runnels (deep grooves maybe up to 3 or 4 feet deep) that ran from top to bottom of the headwall from the above the Lunch Rocks all around to the Left Gully. I gather these runnels were caused by the dramatic flow of meltwater running down the surface of the headwall during the heat wave. I have never seen anything like it, in my many years of skiing there.
The lip was barely passable, with big moguls and rocks showing, with a sizeable crevasse just below. I did see a few make it through, but not many. The Chute and even the Center Gullies seemed to somewhat well-travelled routes down from the summit snowfields (but didn’t attract me), but by far the greatest number of skiers (and boarders – a new phenomenon in Tuckerman for me) were in the Left Gully, which was well covered all the way up. Hillman’s Highway also was also OK, with the usual moguls. The Gulf of Slides ski trail was completely bare from just below the gullies in the Gulf, so that was not an option for climbing on skins.
It’s that heat wave that did in the skiing. Before that hit there was an unusually deep snowpack that by rights should have made for great skiing in all the gullies and chutes for some time to come. No doubt a return to more normal cooler weather will allow the snow to settle and firm up and provide plenty of spring skiing for those who want to pursue it, but I’m done for this year. Clearly cross country skiing has ended for this season.
Aims is still at it! He's heading for 150 days now.....complete with the hazards of spring skiing - here is a picture of him skiing over a large "crevasse" or moat at Wachusett this week. Don't fall in!