08 April 2007

Ski Day 23: Sunshine At Timberline

Probably a duplicate of several other shots of Hood from the parking lot, but whatever.

With the missus out of town living it up in Vegas with her mom and sisters, I decided I would patrol both days this weekend. Today was a much better weather day...mostly. With the Bowl closed, I went up to Timberline. Leaving the house this morning, I could tell we were in for a decent weather day. By the time I got up to the hill, it was sunny and clear and awesome.

The patrol president was the hill captain for the day, and she brought goodies up for us for the morning meeting. However, I'd already eaten breakfast, so I politely declined. Got geared up, chatted with another couple spring '06 OEC mates, and headed out for my opening assignment - Palmer. Sweet. Top of the world, as far as Timberline is concerned, and probably would have the best snow.

Don't recall where exactly I shot this from, but that's the Vista Express chair over at Meadows. I love the zoom on my new camera.

Mt. Jefferson, and you can see also the mountains beyond. I love the view from up there.

Crater Rock, near the summit of Hood. Shot from the top of Palmer.

It did. I took the task of clearing rime ice from the western boundary markers, and straightening any that needed it. The snow out there was nice, a kind of wind-packed powder, not very deep but very smooth to ski on. I will be making turns in this as soon as the opening stuff is done, I thought to myself, most definitely. We wrapped up our opening work, and I got my chance. It was effin' sweet. Medium-to-large radius turns in this velvety soft and buttery smooth snow. Totally rocked.

Sign at the west boundary. The tracks beyond it, for the most part, are from before the pro patrol moved the boundary a considerable distance east. There were a few people I saw skiing out of bounds, but they were too far away to shout at. For all I know, they had wilderness permits. But probably not.

Okay, this is just me having a little fun with the macro mode. This piece of ice actually survived the entire day on the marker rope. I thought for sure it would have melted and fallen off.

We rotated in and out of bump at the top of Palmer, and I recommended the west boundary to my fellow patrollers as THE place to make tracks. Nobody was disappointed. I got to crank 'n' bank out there a few more times in the morning before my bump shift ended. Just as it did, however, a call came in about a case waaaaay down below the top of Molly's Express. Not figuring we had any hill patrollers down that way, I got sent to check it out.

I took off, tearing down the mountain on the groomed stuff. I'm telling you, I was hauling ass in buckets. Nobody was on the hill and I had a case to get to. I got a little worried that my weenie K2 Escapes wouldn't be up to the task, but they did okay. Gonna need some badder-ass skis before long, though. Anyway, I was going so fast that I couldn't hear my radio over the wind in my helmet and the noise from the harder snow towards the bottom of the East Mile run. Apparently, we did have a patroller much closer (classmate Rick H, on his first official day as a MHSPer), and he had responded. I found this out, of course, as I pulled up to the case.

Shit, I thought, beaten again. Well, let's see if I can help. It wasn't a serious injury, but we did need a sled, and we weren't in a good position to get one. If I'd heard my damn radio, I would have stopped at the top of Molly's and asked Rick if he needed a sled. Since waiting around for someone to come from Palmer would take a while, and I was feeling spry, I hiked back up to Molly's to get one. I would say it was a good hundred yards back uphill.

That kinda sucked, but I figured I could use the exercise to counter the beer from Charlie's last night. Anyway, I got the sled down, we loaded our patient, and I drove the sled down to Pucci. Rick took the patient to the aid room, and I re-packed the sled and got it back into service. Time for lunch.

Since it was so nice out, I decided to eat up at the top of Palmer instead of going in. The view was incredible, and doing so also meant I'd have more time to make more turns on the snowfield to the west of the lift, which was still largely untracked and still awesome. I got a ton more turns in out there. Sweet. I got asked to pull some of the "area boundary" disks from the marker poles, so we could bring them up to mark the upper west boundary. More turns out there. Again, sweet.

Another shot of Jefferson, zoomed in a little more. You can see the clouds forming there. It was snowing on us probably an hour or so after I shot this.

Around 1:30, the weather started changing. Clouds started rolling in, and probably 45 minutes after that, it was snowing up top. Pretty dramatic shift, and rather quick. So we went from sunbathing mode to turning the sleds on their side to keep the snow out. Took a few more photos and made a few more runs on Palmer before heading down for Norman sweep.

Patroller Steve, enjoying the snow coming down. The visibility had also dropped tremendously.

Bet you all were wondering when I would do a panorama with the new camera. Well, here. You can see Ski Bowl at the far right.

Climbers, re-grouping after descending to the top of Palmer from wherever it was they climbed to. I don't think they summited. I talked to a different group who just went up to one of the saddles. Both groups of climbers I saw made it down to Palmer just as the weather started rolling in on us.

The climbers I'd seen earlier in the day were making their way down as the weather was getting worse. I was happy to see that - nobody got lost or hurt up there. One group had brought skis with them, and they were making tracks down the east boundary when it was time for me to head down to Norman.

Norman sweep was uneventful, except that one of the pros (Nick, who had little rubber duckies attached to his ski tops. Yes, I'm an idiot for not getting a shot of that) had done most of the 'sign run' work for me. We swept Pucci after that, and packed it in for the day.

We finished the day dodging a handful of raindrops, but for the most part, the weather had been quite kind compared to yesterday at Ski Bowl.

2 comments:

Barkernews said...

Snow!?!?!?!?!
No fair.
And it's a powder day today (Monday) and I have to work...
I was supposed to have the day off but they called me in anyway.
Oh well.
Great pics!

Ghost Dog said...

Thanks. Here I was thinking you'd be jealous of the sun, after Saturday @ Bowl...