We arrived at Maplelag around 1pm on Friday. The drive took about a half an hour longer than normal due to the snow and slush but we weren’t complaining. As we turned onto Maplelag’s drive we noted that North Loup and Sukkerbusk were both nicely groomed. Just seeing this, I couldn’t wait to check out a couple of my favorite trails. So after checking in with Jim Richards and noting the temp, I waxed up my skis, changed into my ski duds and headed out.
I didn’t take any snaps that first day. It just felt good to be on skis for the first time this year. I headed up first to Roy’s Run, a 10k single tracked trail that meanders through the northern woods of Maplelag. The trail isn’t hit that hard by other skiers and I’ve found it’s a favorite place to just unwind and forget about the troubles of the world. The trail was a little soft as I expected. The weather had been pretty warm and what this and the other trails needed right now was some traffic and a cold night to set the tracks. Still, it felt perfect as I crossed back over the road, took the back half of Rootin’ Tootin’ over to Suicide Hill then down to catch the 6k of Bullhead Lake Trail and Bootleg Extension. I had wondered if there had been enough snow on Bullhead for Jay to groom but it was ready and just waiting. Pretty neat as I could tell I was the first one to hit these trails since the snow front went through. Alright, I was pooped when I got back to the rooms and propped my skis up against the outside wall. An hour later we ran into recent and long time friends, enjoyed a great supper and visit and then headed off to bed.
This was the second year of skiing with the Fixen’s. Thirty-six years ago I was lucky enough to be best man in Paul and Nancy’s wedding and a few years later Paul became my best man when Susan and I got hitched. I went out before breakfast and got in 10k before breakfast. I cleaned up a little and joined the group for a great breakfast before we hit the trails together. Throughout the remainder of the morning we enjoyed visiting and laughing as we skied the Twin Lakes Trail together. There was a little breeze but the cloudy skies provided a light but constant shower of snow flakes throughout the morning. After another good meal, the skies cleared and the breeze came to a halt. Paul and I headed out to do the North Loup while the gals checked out Sukkerbusk and Jib Fly. I have to tell you, we all really enjoyed hitting the hot tub before supper. You may be getting the picture, we have to ski a lot to try to use up all the calories we take in. Some even joke that we come here to eat and manage to get in a little skiing.
I hit the trail prior to sunrise again on Sunday morning. Upon stepping out the door I was greeted to the loud SNAP of one of the maples reacting to the cold. Yeah, it was much cooler out this morning (4 below I found out later). I grabbed some warmer gloves and headed out. As expected, the trails were really firmed up. They were a little slow now but I knew they’d be great later in the morning. So I just skied and enjoyed the solitude of the peaceful dawn. I’d went around Mother North Stay, caught Jib Fly and took its loop back around til it met Mother again then over to the east to watch the first rays of sunshine peeping through the trees as I went around Sukkerbusk. As I completed that run and headed back out to finish Mother, I saw a very welcome sight. Jay had just groomed Luckys Loupe this morning. So I had to take this sentimental favorite for a quick spin as well before breakfast. It brought back a lot of memories of being here with my daughters and ski team as this was a trail they really enjoyed just goofing around on. I grabbed a few clicks of the post-sunrise light and shadows on the trail and then joined up with the group for the fabulous Sunday Breakfast Buffet. It’s hard to eat so much!
We skied the rest of the morning together. Wavy Gravy can be one of the more challenging trails but it was also groomed to near perfection. Here we realized just how fortunate we were to be skiing this weekend. It was obvious that keeping snow cover on a couple of the south-facing downhills had been a challenge. However, we had a nice snow pack now which made everything so right. The sky was a beautiful bowl of unblemished blue and the only breeze was created when we zipped down the hills.
I was getting a few of “those looks” from the girls as we neared the end of the trail. You know, those “I’m getting tired” looks. As we encouraged each other up over the last hill, I knew they’d be happy with the reward. It’s a good accent but again the hill climbed easily with the abundant snow. And then, you have a long but fairly gentle winding down-hill run back to the start point. It’s one of those runs that makes you forget about the work in getting there and then ask as Paul did, “Can we do that again?” But alas, we had another appointment. Yes you guessed it. Time for lunch!
Maplelag. Great times. Great friends. Great skiing. If you get a chance, give it a try. You can check it out at www.maplelag.com