Take In The Differences Between A Summer Summit & A Winter Summit - Ski Rex Says...

This past Saturday, August 22nd, I was able to get outside and take a hike with some friends. We picked an LT/AT trailhead just north of Bromley Mountain, a ski resort in southern Vermont, and headed south along the trail until we came to the summit. While at the top we did what just about anyone would do while at the top of any mountain. We took in the view from every direction and explored the summit a little bit. That's when I realized that I had never noticed how much different a summit in the summer, both the summit itself and the view, were different than a summit in the winter.

Now, I'll start out by saying that I have never skied at Bromely. I have only been there in the summer and never to the top. The times I have visited that mountain was to use the alpine slide. Though I may have never been to the summit prior to this time, these thoughts still apply, as I have been to other ski hill summits both in the summer and winter.

The differences that I noticed aren't necessarily the most obvious, at least, they weren't to me. There are obvious differences, of course. First and foremost, the snow. Obviously, in the winter there is going to be snow at the summit and in each direction. There's also the fact that a view in the winter might be a little clearer on the right day because of the atmospheric conditions being different from one season to the other. 

But what I'm talking about are the little differences. For instance, have you ever noticed the topography of a ski hill summit and how different it looks from one season to another? I never thought about it before. I just thought that the snow would follow the contours of the ground and it should look about the same in the summer, just without snow. But then I took into account grooming, skiers and riders tracking all over it, wind, and all of these other factors that I know would affect the look of the snow on the ground.

The topography is so much different. Little hills at the top or rock formations that are hidden from the snow, some of which would still be noticeable with snow on them, if the snow just followed the contours of the ground. But, with the factors I mentioned above and others, those features are totally gone until the snow melts. Things we wouldn't notice until the snow melts. At least, I hadn't noticed or thought about before. 

That could just be me, however. It's likely most folks who have hiked up ski hills have noticed something like that. Though, I'm not sure how many skiers and snowboarders stick to mountain activities after the snow melts. How many folks actually do both and get to look at the mountains during winter and summer?

As I said, I have never been to Bromley in the winter, nor I have been to the summit. But, during my days working at Mount Snow's summit lodge, I was up there all the time during both seasons. I've seen the summit covered in snow and I've seen it without. Back then I never considered how different it looked. Though I loved seeing that view at all times of the year, it was still just a view. I think back on it now, though, and I can remember how much different it seemed to be during different times of the year.

It's a hard feeling to explain because it could be just that, a feeling. This could all be me and almost no one else thinks or feels the same way when they have visited mountain summits during the different seasons.

I guess the real point to all of this is to say that you should take it all in when you have the chance. It's likely for a lot of people, myself included, that even though one may take a look around while skiing or snowboarding, or hiking or mountain biking, etc. in the summer, that same person might be more caught up in their activity of choice. One might not really notice how much different the mountain looks.

But it does. It's an example of how nature is forever changing, the effects humankind has on the mountain, both positively and negatively, and how our perceptions can be thrown off by a few foot base of snow. Again, it could just be me, but really take that hard look around next time you have the chance. There's something to behold there.

Photo: A view from Bromley Mountain, VT looking past the Blue Ribbon Quad to Magic Mountain. - Credit: Tim Meyer for Ski Rex Media


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