Having been a ski fanatic for 26 years (yes, I started late), one of the highlights of the season is spring skiing. For those that haven’t tried, it is a chance to shed those bulky clothes, biting cold, and bask in the warm sun while doing what we find exhilarating and fun, SKIING! While just about any mountain hosts (albeit short) spring skiing, some are better than others but one is considered by many to be the holy grail in the North East. Tuckerman’s Ravine located on the southeast face of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.
Each year a multitude of people flock to Tucks in late March to test their skill and metal against the mountain that offers skiing in raw form. Tuck however, does not offer any modern conveniences (no lifts, no grooming), if you want some of this you will have to earn it the old fashioned way. Getting to the top or any point in between requires up to a three mile hike and a great deal of skill and smarts to get down unscathed. Foretold is forewarned is what I’ve been told and is apropos for “Tucks” as it is not for the faint of heart. If you’re not in shape for Tucks you may fare better squaring off with a now aging Mike Tyson. At least that will be over in a second, Tucks will have you much longer than that!
Tucks extreme skiing offers some out of control runs. At 4,500 ft above sea level most of the trails from the top are in the area of 40 degrees or above. If you don’t ski, look at a steep staircase that’s about 38 degrees then imagine snow and ice, add another 10 degrees, and sliding down that on skis. Having been on top contemplating a 55degree trail commonsense strongly insisted something a little more sane. No matter what you pick your poison. So if it’s not the very top you can start somewhere in the middle. But no matter what you choose remember, you will be hiking up to your starting point.
If you are sane you may choose the lower part of the mountain for sledding or tubing which in and of itself is exhilarating. And, will leave you screaming with laughter and giddy for days after you’re adventure to the real “Beast in the East”. Moreover, “you” will have earned the badge of honor having climbed Mt. Washington not your car!
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