Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Skiing the Ravine - Tuckerman's Spring Ski Ritual

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Now's the time of year more and more skiers head into Tuckerman's Ravine on Mt Washington to enjoy true spring skiing, au natural, no lifts, no grooming, just the great White Mountains under a blanket of winter's snow. The sun comes out, the partyers do too. Trekking the 2 mile ascent up from Pinkham Notch into the bowl to be surrounded by snow, like minded skiers, and folks who are eager to celebrate the essence and the end of the sport of skiing for the winter.  Tuckerman's is an Eastern skiers rite of passage, certainly the passage from winter to spring.
Tuckerman's has been attracting skiers since the 1930s, the first Inferno race was held on these Mt Washington south slopes in 1933. Tony Matt made it famous tucking the headwall in 1939. Today you see other crazy stunts, costumes and hard core skiers attempt the snowfield, the headwall and Hillman's Highway.

Me, I prefer riding the high speed Wildcat Express across the valley, enjoying my cushy quad ride, resting my quads and doing 2,100' vertical laps on groomed snow that softens to perfect corn in the spring. Why hike when I can ride a 6 minute lift? I get the allure of Tucks, I did it as a teenager. Its a lot of ski gear to carry up the Fire Trail for those few runs. The party is fun, but its kind of a freak show on weekends these days. With as many as 4,000 people on a sunny spring Saturday, dare I say some don't know what they are doing up there, which scares me.

I urge folks to know before the go... check the avalanche danger, be prepared for the natural elements, changing weather, and don't put yourself or other skiers and riders at risk. PS: remember that you have to carry your empty beer cans and yourself out at the end of the party.

See more on Skiing Mt Washington's Tuckerman's' Ravine and skiing at Wildcat at Family Ski Trips!

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