All of Burke Mountain‘s natural terrain has been closed since last weekends rain, thaw and freeze cycle. They have had a little bit of snow this week, but not enough to make any sort of difference. Today, however, Burke was expecting 6-8 inches of snow to fall to add some fresh powder on top of their few open groomed trails.
I woke up this morning to heavy snowfall with a good three inches already on my porch. After running some errands I made it to Burke by 10:30 am. I knew I would miss some fresh tracks getting there so late, especially since the lifts had opened an hour earlier today to support the Eastern Super G Races on Big & Upper Dipper. But even getting there so late, there was still plenty of untouched powder to hit on my first run on the lower mountain.
The lower mountain was fairly warm with clear skies, so when I loaded on the upper mountain lift, I had no idea I was heading into the darkness of thick fog. It was a day and night difference between the two parts of the mountain. On my ride up, a mix of small ice pellets and big fluffy snowflakes, blown by cold wind, were pounding my face.
Limited Trail Access
Between the Super G races and Burke Mountain Academy training, several of the trails were closed including Upper & Big Dipper, Upper & Lower Warrens Way and Carriage Road. This left only Upper Foxes Folly, the Shoot, Upper Whilloughby, Lower Whilloughby and Lower Bear Den open. I decided to start my first decent down Upper and Lower Whilloughby and it didn’t take long for the visibility to take a turn for the worse. Since so few trails were open from the summit, everything was pretty tracked out, with a mix of large snow piles and icy surfaces. It would have actually been really fun on a blue bird day, but it was quite challenging not being able to make sense of what was in front of you.
A Challenging Day
After my first run I was tempted to go home, but I quickly decided, because the challenge of today was quite fun, to ski down every open trail. My second run was down the Shoot, which dumps you into Upper Whilloughby. Where it dumps you out, I noticed a really cool narrow trail through the trees, which cuts in and out of Upper Whilloughby. I’ve passed it so many times and never noticed it! The trail was a bit too icy for my comfort zone to do today, but it is on my agenda to check out after this weekends snowstorm. I made it back up and down the mountain one more time to cover the rest of the open terrain and then headed out to finish running my errands.
Better Luck Next Time
It turns out that the Super G race was canceled shortly after I left, I assume because of the weather, and they opened up Big & Upper Dipper and Carriage Road to the public. By this time I was already in St. Johnsbury and decided the drive back, under current conditions, wouldn’t be worth it. Northern Vermont is expecting a foot or more of new snow this weekend, dumping powder on top of both Burke and Jay Peak. It should be a spectacular weekend for anyone driving up north for the MLK holiday. Most of the natural terrain at Jay Peak is already open and after this storm hits, I am hoping it will revive the rest of their terrain as well as the natural terrain and glades at Burke.
- Check out Stoked! Jan’s Ski Blog for more of his skating off-season adventures.
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About “Stoked! Jan’s Ski Blog”
I’ve spent my entire life living in cities, where I was able to urban, distance and aggressive skate all year long. In December of 2017 I moved to rural Vermont and found myself in the dead of winter, with snow all around me. Winters in Vermont are long and harsh, making skating nearly impossible 4-5 months out of the year. I live 2.5 hours from the nearest city and an hour from the nearest trails, making skating even in the summer much less frequent then I was used to.
Something needed to supplement my skating during the off season, so I took up skiing on January 2nd of 2019. From the moment I put on skis, I was hooked! Skiing gives me the exact same feeling I get from urban skating. Through skiing I am able to replicate the feel of carving around on city streets and playing on whatever obstacles catch your eye. This blog chronicles my stoke on skiing during my skating off season.
– Jan Eric Welch (Founder of bigwheelblading.com)
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