The Bump

After mid­night, let it all hang down

Powder - - TA­BLE OF CON­TENTS - —Matt Hansen

There are only a cer­tain num­ber of things you can do after mid­night. Last call comes to mind; maybe find­ing a ride home. Or as JJ Cale so elo­quently put it, “we’re gonna let it all hang down.”

At Crotched Moun­tain, a ski area in the back­woods of New Hamp­shire, you can also go ski­ing. In fact, you can ski clear till 3 a.m. as part of Mid­night Mad­ness, a night-ski­ing spec­ta­cle that takes place ev­ery Fri­day and Satur­day night from Christ­mas break through Fe­bru­ary, when the av­er­age low tem­per­a­ture in south­ern New Hamp­shire is in the sin­gle dig­its.

“It’s this weird thing, where you’re ski­ing for a while, you’re hav­ing fun, and then you look at your phone and it’s like, damn dude, it’s 11:30,” says Dy­lan Jones Hall, shop owner at Manch­ester’s Ken Jones Ski Mart. “Then the herd thins out. At mid­night, that’s when you see your col­lege kids, the crazy lo­cal dude who’s out there ski­ing in his Carhartts. It’s a hard­core scene be­cause it’s freez­ing cold out. But peo­ple just keep go­ing.”

The event started in 2003 when Crotched re­opened after be­ing dor­mant for 13 years. But Mid­night Mad­ness got a sig­nif­i­cant boost when the ski area in­stalled a new high-speed quad in 2012. They named it the Crotched Rocket, be­cause that’s not weird at all. The lift cov­ers 1,000 ver­ti­cal feet to the sum­mit in just min­utes, so you can hot lap all night long. Last sea­son, lo­cal snow­boarder Dy­lan Pearse-th­er­oux, 30, and Ver­mont skier Scott Howard, 65, used Mid­night Mad­ness to break 100,000 ver­ti­cal feet in one day. Pearse-th­er­oux fin­ished with 123,500 feet, while Howard (who later in the spring broke the world record for ver­ti­cal feet skied in one sea­son with 6.5 mil­lion) tal­lied 130,000 feet.

But for most peo­ple, it’s about the scene. Ski­ing with friends and fam­ily after dark, maybe stop­ping in the base lodge for drink to warm you up, is what makes night ski­ing night ski­ing, no mat­ter where you are. The dif­fer­ence at Crotched is that it’s in the wee hours of the morn­ing. “That’s the ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Pearse-th­er­oux. “If you have it in you to get out there and go against the cold, it can be re­ally spe­cial.”

But there’s still one thing left to do. Ev­ery Mid­night Mad­ness, the ski area builds a bon­fire at the base. Says Hall, “If you ski past mid­night, you gotta jump the fire.”

Skier: Micah Evan­ge­lista Lo­ca­tion: Naeba, Ja­pan Photo: Grant Gun­der­son

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