For the Observer
All in all it’s been a terrific winter season of sliding at Hemlock Valley.
The snow has been deep and the temperatures cool to make for some awesome powder and groomed run skiing.
The two previous weekends were the best one could ask for in spring skiing, with sunshine and blue skies. But that all changed coming up to the last weekend of operations for the ski hill.
I am sure you all noticed the heavy rain on Thursday and Friday last week and it continued on into Saturday morning when some strange environmental conditions rolled in and the rain at Hemlock turned to snow.
Thermometers around the valley were showing temperatures ranging from 0C to almost 5C but the snow just continued to fall.
A number of skiers pulled out the powder skis and headed for Baby Bowl as they heard the snow had been falling there for quite some time and if they hurried they could make first tracks in the fresh snow.
There were some short periods of rain but nothing that affected the ski runs.
By Sunday morning there was close to 10 cm of fresh snow on the ground and it was still falling heavily.
Not many came out to brave the snowy conditions as I assume those in the valley were sure it would be raining at Hemlock but they were wrong. A measurement of the new snow at 3 p.m. Sunday showed 15 cm had fallen and it was still coming down.
To close out the day, and unfortunately the skiing season, Hemlock Resort hosted the annual Slush Cup, digging a trench in the snow and filling it with water.
Competitors ski down a run, try to make it all the way across the water to safety on the other side, while showing off their style and skiing/boarding abilities.
To me, the distance across the trench looked way too long for anyone to make the distance and keep dry, but I am from an era of long, narrow skis — not these snow boards attached to each foot that the riders use these days.
Many of the competitors made the journey the full length of the trench, stayed dry and then decided to try it again. Many others were not so lucky or talented.
Now remember the trench was long and the water in the trench would be somewhere in the neighborhood of zero celsius, or just slightly above freezing, so why would anyone who had just survived a trip over the freezing water decide to return to the start line and try it again?
Competitors turned out in costumes or lack of something to keep them warm but they all seemed to be having a great time.
Now the waiting starts, only eight months until the start of ski season.