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February 14. 2013 12:30AM

Snowstorm, tip from friendly skier made for awesome day at Ragged Mountain

Joe Doran went off the right edge of a groomed run Tuesday morning at Ragged Mountain in Danbury.

A week ago he would have immediately hit a rock or a tree branch and gone catapulting forward out of his skis. Thanks to a much-needed snowstorm that dropped 20-plus inches at ski areas around New England over the weekend, Doran glided through packed powder on the side of the trail.

"That's great," Doran said as he swooshed up.

Veteran New England skiers like Doran are used to the conditions. I'm not. I spent seven full ski seasons in Utah, skiing the likes of Alta, Powder Mountain and all the other places you read about in Powder magazine. And it's not all it's cracked up to be.

To be sure, epic powder days are common out West. You can count on knee-deep snow 10 days a ski season. It's also skied into oblivion within 12 hours.

That's what made Tuesday at Ragged Mountain something of a revelation. Doran had pointed off to the South.

"Go up the Spear Mountain chair and look for a run called 'Showboat.' There's some nice little trails off to the right in there," he said.

Skiers out West don't give away their powder stashes. Doran gave away the motherload, but he could have pointed to any place on the mountain because, even days after the storm, there was still fresh snow all over.

I skied off into the woods, which are rated a double-black not because they're steep but because of the underlying rocks and branches and tight turns you have to execute around birch trees. It had rained Monday and iced over Monday night, but by midday Tuesday the snow was soft again. At the top of the run there were maybe 10 sets of ski tracks in the snow. There was a wide grin on my face as I leaned deeply back to keep my tips up.

While I was gliding over the tops of rocks, Doran stuck to the sides of the groomed runs. To each their own. Several days after the storm, there's still plenty of room for fresh tracks for everybody in New England.

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For more more stories and details about Granite State skiing, check out James Patrick's Slopeside column in Friday's New Hampshire Union Leader.


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