26 March 2007

Ski Day 19: My First "Start"

"Hi Dad and Mom! 2 weeks ago, I couldn't even spell ski patroller. Now I are one!"

Sunday was spent patrolling at Ski Bowl again, this time it was my first full day as a full patroller. Dave, one of the other recently-qualified guys, was there as well. We only had a handful of hill patrollers, and one of them was JG, who was up to sled-test some of the remaining apprentices after they finished FRT.

I checked the assignment card and found I'd be opening Cascade, but the hill captain decided we'd forego the usual assignment rotations due to low turnout. Basically, everyone would get an opening assignment and then bump from rescue center at the top of the upper bowl. My opening assignment was the lower bowl area, which was a pretty decent amount of work with all the rope lines that needed clearing and tightening due to the loss of snow and the recent snowfall. There was probably 3" or so of fresh stuff over the spring mush from the warmth of the previous week. After inspecting and scraping 3 toboggans, radioing in the equipment at the top of the chair and the Warming Hut, clearing and adjusting hundreds of feet of rope line, and clearing snow from "slow zone" signs, it was time to head up to RC.

Basically, the rest of the day was just a quest for fresh tracks. I decided to be on the tree patrol for the day, since most of the snow in the trees was undisturbed. I made a bunch of runs off the upper bowl chair, sitting in RC periodically to give folks some time to ski as well. It was a very uneventful day, until the afternoon when I was on the chairlift and it stopped.

I heard a commotion, and turned back to see that someone had fallen from the lift, due to a 'mis-load'. I was about 10-12 chairs up from the bottom, and stuck there unable to help out. Turned out to be a knee injury, from what I heard. The patrollers who responded didn't need any additional assistance.

So, it was back to making runs. I got asked by the liftie at the top to hold down the fort briefly, so I did. I'd never been in the top shack before. It's...interesting. I took some pictures.

How do you even caption this? Cool...and a little scary...

Neat that they painted the lift's stats, I guess. Couldn't just have it on a card tacked to the wall.

In the afternoon, a few of the remaining hill apprentices from my class showed up for sled testing. One of the girls that I'd heard was injured and done for the year apparently wasn't done for the year, as she was up there with the group running sleds. With the way the injury bug had bitten our apprentice group, it was good to see someone come back. I watched them for a little bit, and took some photos and video.

Trainer JG briefs the troops on the afternoon's plan.

Raphe driving, Anna taking a ride.

Anna briefs her tail-roper. Communication is key.

Alex prepares for descent from the tail rope.

Raphe makes a successful upload.

went back to making turns and seeking fresh tracks, saw JG a little later, and he said all 4 passed their sled tests. I figured they had, since what I saw of them on the hill looked pretty good. They all had passed FRT earlier in the day, so they're done, except for the area map tests. Great work, guys and gals! Congrats!

I skied a run with the newly checked-off sled-drivers, and then back to bump at RC. We were relieved by the night crew a little earlier than expected, which was kinda nice. I was beat from skiing hard and from only having just shy of 4 hours' sleep the previous night. Zipped home for steaks and the BSG season finale, and an extended review of the photos and vids I shot at the wedding Saturday.

Then sleep. Wonderful sleep.


brando said...

Very cool. I like the pics of the top shack.