Catamount Hardware

We spent the morning skating on Smith Pond. It’s in excellent shape: 100% skateable, all decent, some large areas of smooth-like-glass ice, some fruit peel ice, a very few snow drifts, some frozen pedestrian and animal tracks, some bumpy areas, a tiny amount of shell ice.

The pond is 63 acres. We spent 3 hours on it, covered about 14 miles total. One lap of the pond would be about 4 miles around.

We tested a few spots with a 7” ice screw, and didn’t hit water. We tested a lot of spots with our poles, and almost all were thick enough that I got bored and stopped before hitting water. There were a few obvious dark colored thin spots that were 2-3 pokes thick, maybe 6-10” in diameter; photo attached. They were very easy to spot and avoid, and probably wouldn’t be a problem even if you didn’t notice them, but might be a tripping hazard.

Almost the whole surface was a thin layer of newly formed secondary ice, smooth and clear, on top of older, thicker gray snow ice. The top layer looked like craquelure (French style, not Italian or Dutch); photo attached. For the most part the cracks were unnoticeable; some areas they had more vertical dimensionality. I tripped a few times on the cracks, but I’m kind of clumsy like that.

Smith Pond is really a special spot, and it was wonderful to skate there. We hiked in from the trailhead on Smith Pond Road, just up the road from exit 15 on I-89. It’s about a 1.25 mile hike, with a mild incline. The trail is well packed, but you might want spikes, there were some icy patches on the trail. The parking lot for the trailhead only holds about 6 cars.

— Christopher Boone