03 December 2006

Can't Keep A Good Apprentice Down

So I'm still fighting this head cold, but I wasn't going to let it keep me off the mountain. I didn't want to miss my first FRT session with the patrol, so I sacked up and went, despite the head cold that kept me home from work on Thursday and kept me away from the Holiday Ale Festival. Some of you might argue my priorities here, but skiing never had any adverse effect on my liver.

I got up there early, as I usually do - mostly to beat traffic, get a parking spot without having to hunt, and to give myself time to chain up. Timberline road was snow-packed, but a very makeable drive in 4-high even without chains. A beautiful day was in store, I could tell, even if I hadn't seen the forecast. I got out of the Sorento, stretched, and breathed in the crisp cold mountain air. I reached into my bag for my-

Oh crap. I forgot my camera AGAIN. Cursing my foolishness, I grabbed my gear and went into the lodge. Chalk it up to the cold meds, I told myself, but that was little consolation. I missed a great opportunity to snap some really gorgeous shots and compare the snow cover to some I'd taken during the summer.

I saw some of my OEC classmates who were 'inverts' that were already patrolling, so I chatted with them a little bit, then started getting geared up. More of my OEC classmates arrived, as well as members of the fall class, so I got to meet and chat with them as well. We all sat around waiting for our trainers to get things going. Everyone perked up when the FRT coordinator basically promised us we'd finish in time to get some runs in afterward.

We finally got up on the hill a bit later than I'd hoped, but the sun and wind and clear skies made me forget about worrying over the time. My turn as first responder came with the second scenario - a dislocated shoulder. I did okay, but the rust that I allowed to build up since the OEC refresher in October showed a little, and I did a couple things out of sequence. Not critical mistakes, so I was pleased about that, but I don't like making simple procedural errors like calling for a sled before I'd completed the full assessment. I ended up not missing anything, but I very well could have. Unfortunately, with the timing of everything and the fact that there were so many of us, I didn't get a second chance on the tougher afternoon scenarios.

We did get to do a backboard scenario in the afternoon, but I had to let others in my group respond first, as they hadn't had the chance in the morning scenarios. We did get a break for lunch and got to ski down from the top of the Mile lift. The snow was excellent, and the view just breathtaking. Mt. Jefferson jutted up through some clouds well to our south, looking very majestic. I stopped halfway down the run to look around, chatted with a fellow OEC classmate for a bit, then headed down to lunch.

After lunch and the afternoon scenarios, we were pretty much cut loose and given the option to ski, go home, or help with sweep. I opted to help with sweep, and with some time left, took a run down the lower part of the area. I almost missed my chance to help with sweep, since it took forever to get back up the Pucci chair because it stopped several times.

Anyway, I finally did make it up to the top of the Mile for sweep, and begged to take an empty sled down. Unfortunately, nobody on sweep was a sled trainer, so I didn't get my chance. I did get to pull a sled around a little bit for the FRT scenarios, and unpack/re-pack the sled pack, so that was at least something. Sweep was uneventful except for the snowboarder that was having trouble getting down the hill. Fortunately, the boarder wasn't injured, so we made sure the boarder got down the hill okay and wrapped it up for the day.

Gearing down, I realized that this was the first day this season where I wasn't soaked by the end of the day. Kinda nice, that.

In other news, both my teams won games this weekend. The Steelers have given themselves and their fans a glimmer of playoff hope with a 20-3 home win against the Buccaneers, and Arsenal blanked bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday 3-nil.