I skied at Blackjack last weekend. This was the first time I had been back to Blackjack in sometime, I would guess the last time I was there was in the 2007/2008 season. Last season Blackjack lay idle, looking for a new owner.
This boarder is exiting the pond! He went across the pond and spun a 180° turn on exit, you see him completing his turn and landing it on solid snow. Very very cool!
Well, my brother bought tickets for my father, himself, and myself and last weekend we collected on that purchase.
The weather was horrible and in fact, Blackjack was closed a couple of days prior the weekend and they were working on getting the hill skiable. We drove in a fog/drizzle and this after days of super-freezing weather all around the clock.
How was the snow? Not at all good, but not the worst either. It was soft, of that there was no doubt, but the snow was not grabby. It was bumpy in patches, but as I always say as long as I kept on my edges it was no problem, or was there? Any problems that day were more related to user error than anything.
I was skiing very defensively not attacking the hill and holding back. Usually, under such conditions that is the way I start out skiing and as the day progresses I loosen up and let it go, but that did not happen.
Part of the reason, is due to the weather there were bare spots on the hill and of course who wants to run their skis over a patch of mud, grass, and who knows? Talk about the substrate grabbing your skis! Often times, when I am holding back I need something to uncork the ski demon in myself and that often times is music, but my MP3 player was about 1-½ hours drive away.
Ala Nordic Mountain (the owners of Nordic Mountain now own Blackjack) half of the Shanty Girl headwall under the chair is bumped up. That provided some fun, at the end of the day I was running down Shanty Girl (in addition, on the other side of the run was a fair amount of exposed ground) and I was headed for the bump field with the idea I would turn away and around it, but I caught the outside edge of my left ski pulling my left leg out, essentially keeping me on a straight line. I had to really yank on my leg to break that edge catch, and of course I had to spend a bit of time regaining my balance. Only then was I able to get myself turned away from the bump field. It seemed like it took me a minute to get corrected, though I am sure it was a second or two at the most.
Overall, Blackjack has some fun terrain and you can get some good speed up and lay down some solid carves. Over on the far end of the hill (right side as you are looking up from the lodge) you need to be able to stop quickly as there is little room between the last drop and the Black River, there is fencing but the loaders over there confirmed to us they have had to fish people out of the river.
As you may be able to tell, Blackjack held their Slush Cup competition this weekend. That was fun to watch, and I got some great photographs. Just like my time photographing the races at Ski Brule, I could usually tell very quickly if the competitor was going to skim over the top of the water or go swimming. So, eventually I stopped taking pictures of skimmers and instead opted for the swimmers. It was great fun!
Yeah, the photography was challenging. The key problem was the light which was oppressively grey due to the weather conditions, for most of the day the top of the hill was in fog. Any ideas on phography in such environments?