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Climbing in the cold to earn some fun turns in Stowe

Posted Friday, February 20, 2015
— Backcountry skiing, Stowe

Yes, another chilly day. But when you have things to do this coming weekend, you head for the trailhead anyways!

The Skimeister and I skied in the Sterling Forest in Stowe. We parked at the gorge and watched the wind whip up the snow as we put our boots on. Once the car was locked up I was on a mission to get into my backcountry skis and get across the open meadow as quickly as possible. I was relieved to find less wind in the forest on the Marston Trail.

We fell into the rhythm of climbing with our skins on. I got quite warm and even had to take my mittens off on occasion because they got steamy. A neckwarmer was a must today, however, with the windchill. We followed other skier tracks (we weren't the first here today) and soon we could stop and add layers for the descent.

The snow was cold and dry and wind-packed in some places, but really quite deep. Vermont's been having a very good snow year so far! We did telemark turns around hardwoods and spruces. I noticed some "spruce traps" on the climb up and kept my distance from the spruces.

On the lower Marston Trail we swooped up and down the sides of the snowy chute like kids on a big water slide. We veered off into the hardwoods whenever possible. By the time we kicked and glided back into the gorge area, my toes were just a bit cold. The handwarmers I had opened were still warm. And I was pretty tired. I guess we timed things well on this cold day!

Hats off to the Town of Stowe, Stowe Land Trust, Sterling Falls Gorge Natural Area Trust and others for protecting this land which features a network of ski trails on the east side of the Sterling Range. The Catamount Trail also runs through this forest.

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