Trip leader and instructor Kevin Roback '17 skis across a frozen lake at the top of Avalanche Pass.

A group of Hamilton students took advantage of beautiful weather and stellar snow conditions to tackle the 12-mile long Avalanche Pass Backcountry Ski Trail in the Adirondack High Peaks with the Hamilton Outing Club on Feb. 28. Complete with stunning backcountry views and exhilarating descents, the trail is an East Coast gem that holds a place on many skiers’ to-do lists.

The participants were mainly students in the Outing Club’s annual Telemark Skiing seminar. Every winter a group of students take to the slopes of nearby ski mountains to learn how to telemark ski. Telemark skiing uses similar equipment to downhill skiing with one important exception–the skier’s heels aren’t locked down to the ski. Instead telemark skiers lunge forwards bending one knee, then the other in order to turn.

The Avalanche Pass Ski Trail climbs into the heart of the High Peaks before reaching a gorgeous frozen lake complete with views of the snowcapped Mount Colden and the many daunting landslides that scar the flanks of the peak. After reaching the lake, the trail turns around and winds its way down into the valley with many tight turns and long thrilling hills.

For many of the students this was their first time skiing in the backcountry and they couldn’t have asked for a better day. Kevin Roback ’17, an accomplished telemark skier taught this year’s seminar and led the trip to Avalanche Pass. He described the trip as “lovely, a really great time” and the conditions as “beautiful – nice packed powder snow to ski on and not a cloud in the sky.”

The trip served as a capstone to the seminar and even though many finished the day running low on energy, spirits were high. “I think everyone had a lot of fun, you could even call it a graduation trip of sorts,” Roback concluded.

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