This winter has been rather disappointing thus far, with snowfall totals below normal, and well below last year’s above average accumulation. Don’t just take my word for it, here’s a graph of my disappointment:
With that in mind, this weekend is really the first backcountry-type adventuring I’ve done, other than a few quick Bolton trips. Having a Stowe pass this year, I’ve intended to check out a lot of what Mount Mansfield has to offer for off-piste trails. That will have to wait, but this Saturday I made use of it to gain easy access to Spruce Peak’s back side.
Getting off the Sensation Quad and hiking up further to it’s left, we quickly made it to the entrance to the “Birthday Bowls.” After one of a couple tunnel like entrances through the woods, the trees quickly opened up to allow a wide choice of line options. Not many people had been through, I guess probably deterred by the lack of snow, but coverage was actually surprisingly good and obstacle-free. The back side of Spruce eventually runs down to Rt. 108 through the notch, which is closed in the winter. Once we hit the road, the skins went on and it was a fairly easy trek back to the resort for a couple more runs.