Monday, January 13, 2014

Waterville Valley - 1/12/2014

Another day, another mountain to check off the list. This time it's Waterville Valley.

Waterville Valley Summit
This one is a rough one for me. After the disaster of a day/storm that came through on Saturday here in New England, I almost sat this day out. We got upwards of 2 inches of rain across the entire region, making my job instructing quite miserable and wet on Saturday. When I awoke on Sunday though, it was sunny and temps were predicted to rise to 40 or so, so I threw on my gear, and headed north. As I drove in I spotted a sign, informing me that Waterville Valley is the location of the 'birth of freestyle skiing'. I don't know if that is really true or not, but its certainly interesting.
Upon arrival, I discovered that not only was the main quad to the summit down due to an apparent lightning strike the previous night, but also that their main park, 'Exhibition' was also closed for the day for grooming. It looked like it was in great shape from the lift, but apparently the need to groom it on a busy Sunday was greater. This meant the only other park on the mountain was the progression park way over in the beginners area, as the other parks on the mountain had yet to be set up. To be honest, Exhibition is above my skill level, so I had some hope that I might make some progress in the progression park. I never start the day in the park though, so I jumped on the Valley Run quad and transferred to the Sunnyside triple to get to the summit and get a feel for the mountain. I haven't been to Waterville in several years, from my memory, not much has changed other than the expansion of their terrain park program, and the new addition this year of a 'Waffle Cat', pictured below. I find it odd that the 'Waffle Cat' does not move, because it seems like a great thing to drive around the mountain and park in random places. 
Waffle Cat, which for some odd reason is completely stationary.
I got to the summit and bothered a random stranger into taking a picture of me at the summit. With temps hitting 40, it was well into hoodie weather for me, and I got to wear my new Saga hoodie for the first time in the season. I have to say, I did not think it would be mid-January when I would be trying it out. Global warming eh? Conditions mountain wide were a very odd mix of rock hard, glare ice, hard pack, and mushy standing pools of water. I only did a few laps up top, as with the main quad down, it took some time to get to the top, and considering my skis lack of sharp edges and all the ice, it was not a particularly pleasant day of skiing for me. Nothing anyone can do about the weather though.
Waterville Valley Summit - 1/12/14
Blackdynomite164 and myself at WV summit.
After having my fill of the all mountain riding, I bumped into this fine sir near the lodge. His NS handle is Blackdynomite164. He too was confused as to what to do, seeing as Exhibition was closed. I told him I saw a thing about the progression park being open way over in the learners area. Having never even realized that it was there, we headed that way to see what was set up. This is what we found.
Waterville's Progression Park

Two small jumps, a flat box and a down flat box, and a spine with a pipe over the top. We must have spent 2-3 hours lapping this park, as there was not much else to do. It was quite funny to have a whole load of park rats decked out in tall-tees and baggy pants mixed in with 6 year olds taking some of their first runs. The progression park is definitely a good park for someone to get their first ever jumps or boxes down, but with Exhibition still closed at 1 o'clock, I called it a day and headed home. For those of you who are interested in what is there, I took some pictures from the lift, no videos today though. It looked sick, but again, probably mostly above my skill level. 

As you can see, WV's Exhibition park has some serious stuff in it.
Again, weather kind of ruined this day, hopefully this Wednesday (1/15/14) coming up will be better, but with more rain and 40 degree temps in the forecast, its looking sketchy at best. The plan is to hit Pat's Peak with family and friends, as we have a bunch of tickets to there from the Warren Miller fundraiser I wrote about earlier in the year (Warren Miller - Ticket to Ride). Hopefully the showers will stay away and we will have a good time.

Since I got home from Waterville super early, I decided to practice on my backyard setup, which I don't get to use nearly enough. I am getting closer to having surface swaps down which I am super stoked about. Here is your parting shot. Keep on shredding!

Practicing on the backyard setup.

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