words & photos by Nathaniel Mildner
After a great east coast winter, spring finally hit New England in mid april and I knew it was time for a trip to Tuckerman’s ravine. On May 5th the weather was clear, the crew was ready and it was off to Mt. Washington. A perfect spring day at tucks is a right of passage for any New England skier and it was the first time up to Tucks for my friends Matt and Mark. As a positive omen to start the day; we walked by a car on the way to the trailhead with half a case of beer on top of the trunk with a sign saying to help yourself. Now properly equipped, we made good time on the hike up.
Our crew skied two variations of the chute/center gully area, just lookers right of the prominent hourglass shaped line on the left side of the bowl. The snow was nice corn on the upper slopes, bumpy and runneled in the chutes and a little sticky in the lower bowl. I’d say the ravine was a little past its prime snow wise.
The spring party scene in the bowl on the other hand was in full effect complete with t-shirt weather, snow tubers, and a small kicker in the lower bowl. Most of the hero lines were melted out and in rough shape, but there was some solid skiing on display with a few nice straightlines and cliff jumps. There was also at least one nasty crash where a woman lost it in the chute and ended up taking a ride down a deep runnel head first like it was a water slide, luckily she was ok.
Tucks has a very laid back and fun vibe but its also serious big mountain terrain that demands respect. Like many other people it was my first experience with backcountry skiing and the first place I skied real steeps. The crowds are all part of the experience and I was glad to introduce it to my friends.