27 January 2009

Racing the Clock

The Yankee Boy is the finest classic cross country ski loop in Montana and perhaps anywhere: it begins with a climb that let's you know if you've got the right wax, eases down a hill that gradually gets steeper with an abrubt turn at the bottom, pulls out onto flats where you can skate, and then repeats this pattern in several insidious variations. On the Forest Service trail map, The Yankee Boy looks like an enfolded strand of DNA--lots of information in a deceptively small package!

Like other trails at The Moulton, its name stems from mining history in nearby Butte, Montana. The Yankee Boy was a mine in the East Butte camp with an extremely rich albeit narrow vein of copper ore. Its name also pays tribute to Paul Sawyer, the native Vermonter and Montana Tech professor who was instrumental in laying out and developing the trails. Anyone that knows Vermont and its people will appreciate the quirky nature of The Yankee Boy as a tribute to the independent soul of
Vermont culture.

Today began with a temperature of -25 deg F so I passed on a dawn ski. By early afternoon it warmed to about +25 deg F so I got out as the sun was sinking (about 15 deg F). The trails were perfect and on the fast side of Swix green wax. It felt like a good day to make a run at the "Gold Standard" time (according to Moulton veteran Rick Appleman) for The Yankee Boy: 11 minutes. But I fell on the narrow turn when I tried to skate through it and a ski tip caught in the deep, ungroomed snow at the edge. I can hear Cam now: "THE narrow turn on The Yankee Boy? They're ALL narrow!"


The Moulton: Montana's finest cross country ski trails.

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