SNOW SKI IN THE SPRINGTIME
The springtime is usually mud season as most slopes in the White Mountains melt beneath rising temperatures. But there’s a spot on the southeast face of Mount Washington where the thaw doesn’t quite turn snow to slush. Tens of thousands of hikers and skiers ascend the bowl while the weather is relatively mild, enjoying an exhilarating run down the steep chute between two large cliffs.
Tuckerman Ravine is not for the inexperienced during the wintertime because of the risk of avalanche or falling ice. For daredevils and those patient enough to wait for spring, however, it can be quite the thrill. The mountain’s altitude keeps the snow packed deep, even as many put their winter coats away in the valley below, and the conditions inhospitable.
Tuckerman Ravine is located within the White Mountain National Forest and managed by the US Forest Service. The Tuckerman Ravine Trail provides year-round access to the ravine’s slopes and gullies. It leaves from Pinkham Notch and follows the Cutler River to Hermit Lake.
There’s no steps or chair lift. Just the ravine, the high winds, and any poles, skis and boards that people carry up the side of it. Add gravity and try to stay on your feet.
If you’re going to be so bold as to try skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, ice climbing or hiking there for yourself, be sure to first consult the website maintained by the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol with condition advisories for Huntington and Tuckerman Ravine. Planning ahead to make sure you have the property skills and equipment could be the difference between a blast of a time or having to be the focus of search and rescue efforts. A little time spent in advance will result in a safer and more enjoyable experience.
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