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Back in Business in New Hampshire
By: Marshall McKenzie
At long last, winter has returned to a beleaguered New Hampshire. December was a dismal month in the White Mountains. After a promising bout of clipper storms deposited a few feet of snow earlier in the month, a solid base formed at many areas in the northeast. It looked to be the beginning of a lucrative, snowy month. That was true; at least until a fifty-plus degree-day decided to come along and totally demolished the tenuous foothold established weeks earlier. What was first an encouraging start quickly turned into a gruesome scene of spring-like carnage. Rivers and streams that had been covered or frozen since late October exposed themselves and swelled their banks. The whole thing reminded me of a Mount Hood ski camp brochure: mud covered snow, tee shirts, and worst of all, helmets without goggles. Absolutely depressing!
My plans for an epic, backcountry filled vacation dissolved in the heat of the sun. I had missed out on every major storm in Vermont, New Hampshire, and even in my home state of Massachusetts. The powder was elusive and my spirits were down. But, as luck would have it, after New Years, New England was slated for a shellacking from another storm. Predictions ranged from eight inches in Mass to over a foot in the northern mountains. Armed with skis and a resuscitated attitude, I charged the hill with newfound dedication. Well, as luck had it, my home turf, Wildcat, didn’t get snow. It received a wonderful helping of SLEET. Instead of shredding in over a foot of the good stuff, my dedication was rewarded with horrendous conditions and the worst car accident I have ever been in. My brother and I were driving back on rt. 16 and, to make a long story short, we ended up buttering a 180 into a snow bank, launching us into a sort of switch misty flip rotation. I am happy to be alive.
The season had been a circus until today. The snow gods had finally decided to give me a break when they dumped over a foot of perfect, Utah-like champagne pow-pow. This isn’t your typical Atlantic chowder, laden with buckets of moisture and lord knows what else. This was like powdered sugar, and we easterners don’t get it that often. Today was by far my best day on the east coast in several years. With innumerable face shots and a series of waist deep sections, I seized the day. With a bit more snow forecasted for tonight, I look forward to hopefully reaping some more powder tomorrow.