Living in Place

Backcountry Skiing

Back Country Ski TrailAs Vermont’s ski areas morphed into Destination Resorts, I gave up downhill skiing for cross-country; as cross-country skiing developed around groomed trails at Nordic ski centers, I stepped out of the tracks and went backcountry skiing.

The Green Mountain National Forest is just twenty-five miles from my home. Despite the sunshine and the late March date, winter conditions prevailed with a temperature of twelve degrees and a stiff, bitter wind earlier this week. We stayed warm with layers of fleece and movement; we were enchanted by the beauty and solitude. It was just the two of us – and the dog.

We snapped on our skis and started down a snow mobile trail, but within minutes we slid off the packed thoroughfare into a narrow river valley open wide to the sky.

White snow, blue skyThe landscape is one of spare beauty; the snow sculpted by wind; fierce sunlight ricochets off the snow covered ground.

The river plays hide-and-seek through the dense snow pack. We followed it south, making our own path. At times, we’re forced to bushwhack our way through pucker brush and pick our way through the trees. Between a crude map, a good sense of direction, and dead reckoning, we aimed to venture forth – and still find our way home. [Read More…]

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