Weekend Update and a Look Ahead March 31

Here in Pinkham Notch, we had plentiful sunshine, mild temperatures and light winds and lots of skiers, hikers and spectators to kick off Spring ski season in Tuckerman Ravine.

The number of skiers on Saturday was no surprise to us.  The forecast all week long foretold a promising opportunity to hit the chutes and gullies of both Tucks and Gulf of Slides.  Both trails were in great shape for skinning or snowshoeing and the GOS and Sherburne were in fabulous shape for skiing.  Today however, the Sherburne is showing signs of wear with bare spots near the bottom and some nice bumps to test your suspension.  That said, the week ahead is calling for cooler temperatures and a possibility of precipitation which might be of the white kind.  Let's be hopeful.  Nevertheless, we are way ahead of last year.  With nearly 69 inches of snowfall for the month on Mount Washington we are looking good.  Gray Knob, on the north slope is reporting 61 inches for the month (25 inches above normal) and our annual snowfall amount for that location -- 195" has been surpassed with a respectable 202" for the season.  Almost like a real winter.  One more reminder of how far ahead we are is the fact that by this time last year, the Lion Head summer route had been reopened (on the 16th of March) and this year we are on the eve of April and we are not anticipating swapping over anytime soon.  Lastly, as more skiers are heading into Tux to ski and as the risk of avalanche moves from Considerable to Moderate to Low, I'm struck by one comment from today's avalanche bulletin and I quote: "...Low avalanche danger does not mean no avalanche danger".  Please be cautious and be aware of what is above you (and below) -- a skier or climber above you could be holding his life in your hands.

From Hillman's across lower snowfields
On Monday, I got into the Crescent Range and got great views of the Northern Peaks and put my snowshoes to the test.    Still plentiful deep snow in the Northern hills so don't put your snowshoes away just yet.  Also, I got to make a few turns on Hillman's Highway and marveled at the damage an avalanche can do, all the while enjoying the great snow on the approach to Hillman's.

 As we move along, note that the Harvard Cabin, operated by the Harvard Mountaineering Club, is wrapping up it's season next weekend. Last night for the public is Saturday, April 6.

 And remember to check with us to get updated trail and ski information.  <www.outdoors.org>
Avalanche and general Tuckerman and Huntington conditions: <www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org> and Local and Mount Washington weather: <www.mountwashington.org>

So, that's my plain vanilla update.  Happy trails and Happy Easter.  I hope you got out to enjoy this great weekend and that you can enjoy the week ahead.

Mike Micucci, Pinkham Notch Visitor Center

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