The high peaks have been getting snow and I wanted to see some. Jenn was in the area and joined me last minute, but she didn’t have her microspikes or other winter gear with her. Luckily, the Mount Mansfield Toll Road has closed to vehicle traffic for the season but is currently open to foot traffic until there’s enough snow on the whole mountain that the resort opens. I figured the toll road would be easy enough without traction and we could see how it went. I outfitted Jenn with my extra boots, jacket, and other warm stuff and we headed for the mountain.
The road walk was just a road walk at first, albeit a scenic one. We came across snow stuck to the road after a couple miles and it started to get even prettier.
Then we reached the snow guns, which were running full blast. Those things are crazy loud! Not being a skier, I’ve never seen one working before. So there was a ton of manufactured snow in addition to the regular snow at high elevation. There were plenty of skiers and snowboarders taking advantage of it too, walking up the mountain to ride down.
We stopped at the Stone Hut for a snack. They just finished rebuilding it after it was accidentally burned down last year. The lottery for reservations starts soon. It would be really cool to stay there so I might try to get in on it. It costs well over $200 a night if you win, but it does sleep twelve. The Toll Road turns into a green circle ski trail in the winter and they did appear to have plenty of other beginner trails. Hmm…
We continued the last .5 mile up the road, looking for the visitor center. We actually passed it because it looked so utilitarian, I thought it had to be a work building, not a visitor center. When we ran out of road, we had to turn back, and turns out, the visitor center is just ugly. It apparently used to be a utility building. It’s closed for the season but doesn’t offer much in the way of amenities even during the summer.
It had been cloudy all day but the clouds finally started lifting as we headed back downhill and we could see farther out.
It really felt like winter at the top of the mountain, with my hands even losing enough feeling that it hurt when they warmed up again. It was hard to believe when we got even a mile down the mountain, it was so much warmer. I always seem to forget how to regulate my temperature well between winters. I had only dug a few winter items out so far, but looks like I’ll be going through my gear stash for the rest of it now.