Getting out for some skiing

2011-04-30 17:28:05.000 – Brian Clark,  Observer and Meteorologist

Tuckerman Ravine Headwall

One of the advantages of having the backyard that we do on Mount Washington is being able to play in that backyard when the weather allows. If you follow these comments on any sort of regular basis, you probably already know that during the winter and spring, my activity of choice is backcountry skiing. It is a great privilege to be able to take a break from work to go skiing on some of the best backcountry terrain on the east coast. Also, living in the same place that I work gives me the flexibility to alter my schedule on the not-so-nice days to make up for the break I took to go skiing on the nice day.

Each winter/spring is a little different. Unfortunately, this winter did present very many days with weather conducive for getting out for skiing. When it wasn’t foggy, it was either too cold, too windy, or the snow was too icy. There were a couple of days that all the right pieces of the weather puzzle came together, but then those days always seemed too busy with work to take a break and get out. In fact, I didn’t get my first turns in the East Snowfields until March this year, which in the 5 winters I have spent on this mountain, is unheard of for me.

Luckily, yesterday was a day when everything came together just right. The summits cleared out of the fog in the morning, temperatures rose above freezing, and winds diminished. Even better, I was able to complete the work related items I had to do for the day, that were time sensitive, by the time I handed off observational duties to my fellow day observer Mike.

So, I headed out with Rebecca to ski down the East Snowfields, traverse across the summit cone, find the top of Right Gully in Tuckerman Ravine, and ski down into the bottom of the Ravine. Despite some difficulties finding the top of Right Gully, which resulted in some bushwhacking and post holing, the skiing was fantastic, and we got back to the summit just as a line of snow showers arrived and put the summit back in the clouds and dropped the temperature.

Tomorrow promises to be and even better weather day, with temperatures rising into the mid 30’s, winds diminishing below 10-15 mph by the afternoon, and nothing but bluebird skies above us. Maybe I’ll be able to find some time again to get out and enjoy the snow while it’s still around. I have a feeling I will, and working some longer hours later on in my shift will be well worth it!


Brian Clark,  Observer and Meteorologist

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