The early bird gets the cold snow

(Update: Photos have now been posted.)

A very rare event occurred today. The sun was in my face as I was climbing Whiskey Jack!

Wally on Whiskey Jack. The air temp was -11.

Tracksetter Jody had just finished skiing on his night’s handiwork when I met him at the Boulton Creek parking lot at 9:30 a.m, so I got a first-hand account of the new tracksetting. I thanked him for volunteering to do weekend tracksetting; it’s been a Godsend this winter, and especially on a day like today.

Heading north on Pocaterra from the Whiskey Jack junction

No worries about whether I could use wax today. The snow temp at Boulton was straight out of mid-January at -14! (Wait ’til you hear what it was at 1:30 pm.) The air temperature was -11 with no wind.

I finally was able to make use of my skis with green glide wax. I already had VR40 on them for grip, and didn’t touch it. I can’t remember climbing Whiskey Jack on such excellent conditions with great grip even on the steep hills.

The first skier I met was Wally as he was coming down. He’d started out even earlier at Pocaterra hut. The frost on his facial hair will verify just how cold it was at 10 a.m.

Pocaterra between Whiskey Jack and Packers

A tough choice awaited me at the top with new tracksetting going in both directions. I decided to go left on Pocaterra for what might be my final run down this beautiful trail this ski season. Flying along those downhills was as much fun as ever with the wonderful snow conditions. It always ends too soon.

Lynx and Amos were still in excellent condition from Friday’s tracksetting, and Wheeler had brand new tracks, as did Packers. Now at the top of Packers, I retraced my steps as I skied Pocaterra once again but in the opposite direction, and continued on to Tyrwhitt where snow bombs were dropping like crazy all around. Luckily, no direct hits, but believe it or not, one dropped right on my foot. A milli-second sooner….

Geoff on Packers. Lots of tracksetting was completed last night.

I only went as far as the picnic table on Tyrwhitt and turned around. Within the past half hour, conditions had changed dramatically. I wasn’t getting much grip, yet in some places, my wax was clumping. It was now about 1 pm.

The trip down Whiskey Jack was challenging as anyone spring skiing will attest when you have sunny patches on a fast downhill. Now the green glide wax was working against me as it created lots of suction on the wet snow. I managed to get to the bottom without a faceplant, but I proceeded very cautiously to accomplish that.

I was the second car in the Boulton parking lot this morning, but now, at 1:30 pm, it was full. The snow temperature had warmed up to -1, and the air temp was +6. It was now waxless ski conditions.


I came across this twitter site “sh_ t coaches say.” It has explicit language, but it’s kind of funny. For example, When testing in the dark at 5:00am- I often ask myself “what poor life decisions led me to this point in my life?” Don’t click on this link if the “F” word offends you.!/Sh_tcoachessay 


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  1. Mikhail Kudienko

    Thanks for the pictures, Bob!
    I was one of those who started after 1PM on Sunday from Pocaterra hut.
    It was quite strait forward for the first 3K with some sticky multigrade waxes (I used Start synthetic Purple +1-2 covered with Start MFW Yellow), but then waxing became a bit of a challenge while climbing up Pocaterra trail.
    I had to stop 3 (three) times for re-waxing on my way till the top of Tyrwitt.
    But in the end the combination of VR65 + several drops of Start Universal Wide klister was working very well. Despite the fact that it was slow and a lot of suction it still was beautiful with nice and warm weather and bright white snow.

  2. Bob you described the day perfectly. Unfortunately my daughter and I started about 11:00 and headed out on Bolton hoping to hit track setting on Elk Pass. We turned back after finding only skier tracking on Elk Pass. Fortunately we discovered Whiskey Jack in beautiful condition but by the time we made Pocaterra it was tough going. No face planting and avoided the snow bombs returning on Packers. I need to figure how to get a 13 year old up early.

    Jody, if you read this, thank you! It is wonderful finding fresh track setting on a Sunday morning.

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