The skiing was close to spectacular. And I don’t have patches of neoprene stuck to my face.

I did drive out to Seven Springs on Friday, after deciding that I could deal with sub-zero temperatures when the ski area would be mostly deserted and the snow would be pretty nice. Your participation in the poll helped too ­– 30 of you, or 81 percent of those who voted — said I should quit bitching and get out there.

I was right on all three counts — not many people, really nice snow and yeah, really freaking cold.

When I arrived, I was shocked at how close to the main entrance I was able to park. I found a choice spot near the ramp that leads down to the convention center doors, which made for an easy walk back to the car that afternoon. I changed clothes and found a locker in the nearly empty ski center and wandered outside, with my brand new neoprene face mask strapped over my nose and chin. The temperature at that point? Around 6 below.

On my first run down the front face, the mask was great. I didn’t feel any breeze on my face at all, and it appeared that I would be able to ski without having to worry about the cold.

And then I got on the chair. And my breath, directed upwards by the mask, fogged up my glasses under the goggles. By the time I got to the top, that condensation was frozen over one lens. And my time with the mask was over.

I did two more runs before I started feeling pain on the tip of my nose. I went inside, got a hot chocolate, and tried to figure out Plan B.

And that wasn’t actually that tough. I had a fleece neck gaiter down in the locker. When I was on the chairlift, I pulled it up over my nose; when I was on the way down, I tucked it over my chin. This wasn’t ideal, but it worked to the point where I could take five or six runs before heading inside to get warm.

It was worth it. Although Seven Springs seems to do an excellent job of stockpiling icy snow on days when you least expected it, there was plenty of beautiful snow all over the hill. I found one strip, right down the middle of Tyrol, that held butter-soft, fluffy snow all day; that’s where I spent my afternoon, doing laps while the sun beamed down on my back.

I stopped a bit earlier than I normally would; the cold did get to me after a while. And as I walked across the patio to head inside and collect my stuff, I heard the PA guy announce a milestone: the temperature had finally reached zero.

Check this out: Friday’s forecast for the Seven Springs area? A chance of snow and a balmy 32 degrees. I’m probably going again; this time, I might wear shorts.


  1. You, sir, are insane. And, of course I mean that in the best possible way. I’m glad to hear that your trip was so much fun though.


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