Green Mountain Club
Montpelier Section

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Trip Reports
March 4, 2006
Ski the Catamount Trail

In a winter of challenging snow conditions, this short notice outing was lucky. My backcountry ski on the Catamount Trail (from Morrisville to Elmore) was counting on a forecast storm to patch some bare trail here and there. As was typical this year, the storm veered off with zero trace. A scout of the Elmore section revealed good snow, so I kept the trip as planned. A little walking might have to be tolerated.

Saturday dawned with snow dumping on us. Out of nowhere a storm had started Friday night. Being prepared to be flexible paid off. Six happy skiers and two happy dogs set off from Route 100. We did no more than chuckle at the bare ground beneath the fresh snow. Two folks took advantage of the easy option offered, turning to retrace their tracks before the more difficult traverse around Elmore Mountain. Four of us continued with the dogs. Two skiers showed off impressive skill and power, skijoring along the windy trail, stopping periodically for the inferior human power to catch up.

The south side of Elmore Mountain was windblown. The trail was rough with debris and ruts from storm damage and logging. It was our most challenging section, completed successfully by everyone with various techniques and speeds. Then things were fun. The snow kept getting better and better. The trail was very pretty, a delightful section of the Catamount. We ploughed through large drifts. We easily crossed partially frozen streams. We were all tired, yet invigorated with the blissful deep powder. Upon reaching the hiking trail up Mount. Elmore, our trail was broken by snowmobile tracks. What could have been negative provided an easy trail to re-energize the dogs. They led a joyous and speedy skijoring descent to the parking lot.

The dogs didn't join us for potluck supper, although all six humans enjoyed great food, conversation and laughter. Only two kept energy for the days final event, the contradance. The next day I regretted not going. Next time

Jill Aspinall

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