This weekend Niagras (sic) and the new Employee Housing run opened for the first time this season. We’ve been open WALL TO WALL at Crystal the past few days, which is far ahead of last year.
I spoke with a few skiers in the Elk on Monday about their first turns down the new run, and they were impressed. It has great potential. Once the lower section fills in, you will be able to ski a consistent 2,000 vertical feet right to the Boulevard. Not a bad little run.
However, when the avalanche that opened the new run ripped through last year, it rendered serious damage. Underneath the snowpack still lies downed and damaged trees. Little has been done to improve the slope over the summer with the exception of cutting out the 1-5 trail. While summer trail maintenance will be done once the Forest Service schedules a controlled burn of the slash, caution must still be taken while skiing and riding. Early season conditions exist. And when I say “early season conditions,” I mean it. You wouldn’t want to get a ski caught under a partially-buried tree or fall on a tree staub. Trust me on this one.
As you may remember from my post a few weeks ago, we are managing Employee Housing and Niagras as one area. In previous years Niagras was roped off and gated separately from the rest of Northway and inbounds terrain. We have added the new Employee Housing slidepath within that rope line. As you can see from the picture above, the runouts of Old Faithful and Johnsons flow right into the Employee Housing run about midway down the slope. Therefore, we must keep it closed while doing avalanche control in Niagras.
Hopefully the storm track in the upcoming weeks allows Employee Housing to fill in nicely. I, for one, am looking forward to skiing 2,000 vertical feet right to my doorstep. (If you were wondering, it’s our house at the very bottom of the slide. A little too close for comfort if you ask me.) And, on a side note, if you do happen to ski to my house, watch out for cars in the driveway and the transition onto the often sandy road.
And please don’t run over my cat.