04 February 2007

Ski Day 12: Super Sunday At Meadows

Mt. Jefferson. I like shooting this one almost as much as shooting Hood, apparently.

I was so happy yesterday that I was feeling better - I knew I'd be going to the mountain to train today, and I knew that I'd dodged a weather bullet. I managed to take some more pics today, and even handed off my camera to one of our coaches to shoot me running a loaded sled.

The sunrise at Meadows was gorgeous. I managed to get a couple shots. The first one is kinda fuzzy, but the color of the clouds is the important part. The second one of the mountain looked kinda neat with the clouds.

Fuzzy shot here, but you get the idea. Pretty clouds, American flag. There wasn't much wind, which made it a little disappointing.

Stupid auto-focus caught the ticket booth. Stupider photographer allowed it to be in the frame at all.

We started as we did last week - pair up with a patroller and take a run doing opening procedures. I
saw fellow OEC classmate and local blogger NoPoGirl at the 'Q', said 'hey', and paired up with co-worker Jeff, who got me into this patrol thing in the first place. We headed off down the Cascade Skiway, setting signage and rope lines to keep folks safe and aware of trail merge points. We ended up over at the top of the Daisy lift, where we checked the sled up there and tightened some rope lines, then down at the bottom to put up some control fence. After that, it was back up the Mt. Hood Express (they call it "Mex") to the 'Q' to link back up with our coaches.

The sleds were already over at Shooting Star, so we skied over there and jumped right in, running loaded sleds. We did a couple runs on 3-D, getting kinda warmed up. I took some pictures of my fellow apprentices running sleds, since we had enough people that I didn't have to be cargo when I wasn't in the handles or on the tail rope.

Trainer Roger directs sled-drivin' Vince from his seat in the sled. Ryan is on tail-rope.

More Vince. Trainer Peter stands uphill, observing.

Tail roping is tough work. Here, I'm in the handles as Ryan recovers from a tumble. I fell once, too, from the tail rope position - got back on the tails a little and went over.

After the runs on 3-D, we headed over to Rock Garden, where I handed my camera off to trainer Peter to take some shots of me and the others as we dropped in on some pretty steep and choppy terrain - a nice challenge. Barkernews and NoPoGirl showed up just as we were about to get underway, and watched us for a little bit.

My glamor shot for the day, courtesy of trainer Peter. Should really have my feet farther apart there. Could just be the angle. My inside hand is back a little, too, so my shoulders aren't as square to the fall line as they should be.

Overall, I had a pretty good day running the sleds. I botched two transitions early in the day on the tail rope and was beating myself up about it (as usual - I expect perfection when I'm on skis, or at least no big mistakes), when trainer Roger told me not to worry about it. On the lift afterward, I told him it was a similar mistake as my 3rd (or so) day of sled training, so I wasn't going to accept it. So he switched to taking some playful jabs at my performance instead. Better, I smiled to myself, now - how do I fix it?

I figured it out on the lift after the second mistake. I hadn't been careful enough with the rope and how I was paying it out or pulling it in during the transitions. Once I realized how I could fix it, I was making transitions from the tail rope just as smooth as you please.

Trainer Roger with the mountain in the background.

Memorial Bowl, where we spent our afternoon. I would have shot down the bowl, but I didn't have time and I doubt you'd get the idea of how consistently steep it is anyway.

After lunch, we headed over to Memorial Bowl and ran sleds over there. A tad steeper than 3-D and longer as well, this presented the best challenges of the day. Our trainers also had us work on traverses, which we hadn't really touched on much. Traverses aren't really tough, but it can get a little tricky moving from a fall-line descent to a traverse and back, especially on the steeps and in the snow we had. All day, it was warm (40s) and the snow was heavy, wet, spring-like stuff, which can get built up underfoot in a hurry. It also slides very well, so if you let it build up, it's hard to sluff it off the skis because you can't outrun it driving a sled (well, you could, but then you'd be going way too fast to be in control of it).

Wait a minute...what?! Okay, I'll spill it - they tag the training sleds so they don't accidentally get put to 'real' use running patients.

I got a lot of time in on the tail rope over on Memorial Bowl, and got a run and a half in the handles, so it was a good workout and a confidence-builder as well. After running us ragged over there, the trainers decided we could call it a day. We had to take the sleds off the hill, since we're moving training back to Timberline next weekend. Naturally, as a sled hog, I grabbed one of the empty sleds to take down the hill. We took it easy, working our way down North Canyon, to Middle Fork, and then dropped into a nice bumpy pitch called Showoff.

So I did. After asking "who's riding in my sled while I take this?" and not getting an answer, I dropped in. Snaking smoothly through the troughs of the moguls for the first half of the pitch, I decided I could cut loose a little and get away with it, so I sort of skied the bumps, keeping the sled directly behind me in the fall line, kinda hotdogging it.

That was pretty much the end of our day. We had a quick de-brief with our coaches, chatting about what we'd accomplished, what we'd learned, and packed it in for the day. I hit the Ratskeller in Govy afterward, but no other patrollers had appeared by around 5:30, so I finished my salad and beer and headed home. If nothing else, the delay served to allow me to drive home without the setting sun blazing right in my eyes.

Oh, and the Colts won. Bleh.


Kel said...

You are a super skien Meadows Maniac!!! WOW!