The first ride

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Nov. 21 was season pass holder’s day at Jay Peak Resort, opening day of the season.

I had been up the night before waxing the base and filling the edges of my new board to my liking. I woke up with anticipation and excitement I had been waiting for since last May.

The morning was crisp, the thermometer reading 12 degrees Fahrenheit, and the wind seemed to be blowing no more than 10 miles per hour.

About 2 inches of fresh snow lay on the ground as I walked outside. I put my snowboard on the rack; my bag in the backseat and dusted off my car with the snowbrush. Forgetting to wear gloves during this process lead to numbing hands, but I wasn’t going to let that ruin the morning. On the drive to the mountain the sky was gray and dark.

I pulled into the Stateside  parking lot and headed straight to the lodge to boot up. The Jet Triple was the only chair running for opening day with the Jet and upper Haynes being the only two trails open to start the day.

They were planning to open the chair at 10:00a.m. I got in line at9:50a.m. with around 20 people all waiting anxiously. The lift attendants finally pulled the rope, which was followed by hoots, hollers, clapping and pole slapping.

I had met up with my friend George, and we both realized we were in for one of the best opening days of our lives: as we rode the lift, there was a clear 10 or so inches of snow everywhere beneath us.

We reached the top, strapped in and started our decent down the Jet. Our run started with ripping carves on the steep part of the trail to get back into the groove of things. We then moved under the lift, where we each had several face shots of powder. This is usually unheard of for opening day anywhere!

We reached the bottom and everyone was giving each other high-fives in amazement at the conditions. Our next run was on the Haynes, where we both stuck to the side of the trail in search for more powder.

I was definitely feeling the burn in my legs after having a lack in physical activity since the summer, but after a few runs I was back into the groove of things. I did, however, take one good fall on my back as I was anticipating a firm take-off to the bump I was going to jump.

As I went to lean forward to execute an Ollie, my snowboard sank and I flipped and slammed my back on to an icy landing. I got up and felt fine for the time being, but knew I would feel it in the next day.

One challenge we were faced with was ducking ropes. Derricks Hot Shot was the next trail over and it had plenty of untouched powder on it, but it was still closed. Lucky for us, ski patrol ended up pulling the rope around 11:00a.m. It was an incredible run, all of it filled with powder slashing and jumping. There was, however, the occasional bare spot or snow-covered rock, but it was good enough for us. It was as if we were in the middle of January with the amount of fresh snow on the trails.

Ski patrol also pulled the rope on the Lower U.N. This concluded the trail count for opening day at Jay Peak – four trails starting with the Jet and ending with the U.N.. The day was about ¾ over with, and we were feeling pretty tired after riding hard all morning. The trails were starting to get skied off and were becoming ice sheets or worn down to rocks and grass.

We left the mountain around 2:30 feeling satisfied with the day. After all, this was one opening day that will be tough to beat.