East Burke, Vermont was a nice place to be this past weekend! Saturday saw perfect trail conditions on the Kingdom Trails Nordic. I classic skied about 30KM on some of the nicest groomed powder I've ever skied on... and some of the hilliest terrain I've ever skied on. After dropping me off at the Nordic Center, Kevin drove the short distance to the ski slopes for some snowboarding. He later reported those conditions to be ideal as well. We had warm sunshine throughout the day but it never got above the twenties and the powder held up well.
That day, I skied what was probably the steepest and narrowest trail I've ever been on with my skinny little XC skis. I was resting and taking in the views in the Mcgill Fields when I saw a guy ski past faster than I've ever seen anyone ski before. He had a dog chasing him in a full sprint, yet the dog was barely keeping up. I read the back of the guy's suit as he disappeared down the trail and it said "USA National Nordic Team". So I took off in pursuit, just to gage how fast he was moving. I lost sight of him in seconds, but I could see where he had turned off onto the narrow Big Birch Trail and thought, "heck if a national class skier can do it, so can I." It was crazy! There was no stopping or slowing once I started down, I had to just go with it. The old rule about always being in control was just not possible. If I had met anyone coming up the trail I would have had to crash in order to stop. But really, I doubt anyone would try to climb that on skis. It was fantastic! I would have looped around to do it again, but decided not to push my luck (or my limited skills.)
When I was good and done (meaning I could hardly make forward progress due to sore quads,) I jogged down the road in my ski boots for a few miles to Lower Burke. Timing was perfect because when I called Kevin from the parking lot, he said he was done, too... and ready for a beer. We laughed about all the cans of PBR being consumed at Mid Burke (PBR was definitely not cool when we were younger.) Then we moved back down to Lower Burke where we spent the evening in the Tamarak. We were very amused to hear the staff there refer to Mid Burke as "PBR."
We got some nice snow on Saturday night. Sunday morning was cloudy, but warm. The trees were all loaded with snow. After a nice big breakfast at the Miss Lyndonville Diner, Kevin dropped me off at the Nordic center again. This morning he was going to park at Mid Burke as there were rumors about power outages and lifts being down. Kingdom Trails was doing their best with the Nordic grooming, but they don't have a lot of staff or equipment and most of the trails weren't groomed yet. So the skiing was tough and slow, but the woods were just beautiful.
I didn't have anything left after a few hours of this type of skiing, so I started my jog on the road to meet Kevin. But this time I had to jog up the mountain to Mid Burke. The road was very slushy. I saw a Hummer with a Mass. license plate speeding down the narrow road toward me. I put my arm out with my palm down giving the "slow down for God's sake," signal...and he accelerated. I got completely drenched with brown slush from the road. I turned around and screamed profanities at the vehicle (temporary loss of sanity.) Just then a big green pick up with the Burke Mountain logo on the side pulled up and offered me a ride up. Again the timing was perfect because Kevin had broken a strap on his binding as was ready to quit. The drive home was pretty and we stopped at our favorite pub for dinner and beer on the way.