Local Thicketeering 1/21/08

Crust is the hardest terrain to negotiate for me on a snowboard, and I was eager to try some of Tommy T’s recomended technique.  Thicket touring is a term, and practice I’ve adopted from Luddite on T4T, and I have really come to enjoy it.  It consists of touring on slopes that have not been prepared for skiing at all.  Sometimes its just the simple pleasure of linking a few turns together in  a technical section of slope.  This is really a niche best suited for Tele, but I really like taking my splitboard.  The hill of choice today was an area my Mountain Bike Friends and I call Mt. Verizon because of the cell tower on top.  We usually ride up the maintenance road in the summer to access this area, but I knew of a logging trail that was to erroded to bike on that descended all the way down to the valley.  I decided to just boot today, because the snow pack was pretty consolidated with a crust.
Loggging road:

the logging road ascended for about a 1/2 mile to a power line for the cell tower.  The power line had a fun looking slope:

I left the power line where I knew the single track went towards the summit.  The powerline would have been an easier walk due to a snowmobile trail that was well packed, but it was ugly.
On the single track I found a few places to link some turns:(flat light photo)

After working on crust turning technique for a bit I proceeded to the summit.  Looking across the the valley to the east I saw a curious looking clearing that I need to explore further:

Looking to the west, my playground: North and South Uncanoonuc

Below the summit I found this sweet little section that took me back to the power line.

The power line had a lot of pricker bush making for true thicketeering.

On the way back to where I had parked I found a gully that ran parallel to the logging rd.  I originally wanted to ride down the logging rd but I had noticed on the way up it was loaded with death cookies(rocks, Ice bulges, stumps).  The brush was kind of thick in the gully to get any speed but it was still fun.  In all the tour took about 3 hours, and the temp stayed around 10 degrees.  I felt like I picked up a bunch of skill, and even tried some different binding positions.  Front foot at 50 seemed a little too extreme for me, but 25 made the legs burn less.  Different areas with different sun exposures had very different crust.  In the area with the thickest crust the technique I found worked best was similar to how I ride Moguls, except my weight was on my back half of my boards edges, instead of the front half of the edges.  In the thick crust making quick and constant turns worked well, instead of long arched turns, which worked better in the thin crust areas.

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