03 June 2007

Ski Days 29 & 30: Nuts & Bolts @ Timberline

Another beautiful sunny day on the Palmer snowfield.

Consecutive back-to-back ski patrol weekends? In May/June? No frickin' way, right? Wrong. This weekend was the annual Pacific NW Division Nuts & Bolts clinic up at Timberline. As a recently-minted rookie patroller and wannabe sled coach, this is the first step towards adding some depth to my toboggan-handling skill and knowledge, as well as putting me on the path towards coaching, possibly as soon as next season. It's a full weekend of skill enhancement seminars with patrollers from all around the division.

One of our trainers, Tom, doing the "Funky Toboggan" in the toboggan enhancement session.

It was loads of fun, and very informative. Not a ton of new material, mostly different ways to look at it, as well as some tips and tricks to make toboggan-handling smoother and more efficient. After that marathon haul from the top of Palmer all the way down solo last weekend, I would be thrilled to learn how to make that trip less work. Saturday's toboggan enhancement seminar was all about that part of it - making the sled work for you, and using body position, angles, and momentum to finesse the sled down the hill instead of muscling it around. They also had some skier/snowboarder enhancement clinics, as well as some stuff for new/soon-to-be instructors.

After the clinic, I got home to a rather busy other half. She'd done a bunch of yard work, and had a project in store for me. I knew I should have stayed up in Govy for the patrol get-together. :) B had picked up 7 rolls of sod to place in the strip between the front yard and the curb. We dug up all the bark dust and weed barrier that we'd put in a couple summers back, and then I started hauling sod rolls from the Jeep to the yard and rolling them out. Turned out 7 wasn't enough, so we were off to Lowe's for 7 more. It looks kind of thrown-together now, but it should integrate nicely over time, making the existing moss-ridden lawn jealous.

The new 'carpet' on the left. I've half a mind to replace the whole rest of the front lawn. Probably do it in chunks.

Exhausted and sweaty, we hit the showers and headed off to the Main Street Ale House for dinner. I had a killer blackened flat iron steak, and B had some yummy salmon with a dill sauce. We sampled most of their new seasonals, but they were largely not what we had a taste for that evening. I had their Maibock, which seemed different from last year's, and tasted an imperial stout (pretty good), their "Busted Nut Brown" (so-so), a Marzen (not bad), and their Poor Richard's Ale (just as good as last year's).

Just had to pull off the road and shoot.

Sunday found me back on the hill for more sled-running and learning. I was in the 'new instructor toolkit' class, with some patrollers from White Pass, Alpental, and 49 Degrees North. This session was all about reinforcing the building blocks for putting together good fundamental toboggan-handling training. Stance, sideslipping, step-turns, tail roping, and teamwork. Another great day on the hill, lots of sun, and good training.

I got to be passenger for a little bit today, so I hauled out the camera and snapped a couple shots of my driver and tail-roper, as well as our instructor. Here you go:

TJ, of White Pass, doing a fine job driving on his snowboard.

Erika, from Alpental, takin' care of business on the tail-rope.

Despite instructor Jeff's t-shirt, this was not a Mickey Mouse operation.

We knocked off a tad early so we could get all the toboggans down before closing. I got to run a 4-handled sled, but empty - just to transport it down to take it back to Govy. My only regret of the weekend is that I didn't get to run one of those loaded.

Never seen this before - a 'spot rainbow' (dunno what you'd actually call it). Was worried the shot wouldn't come out well since the AF couldn't lock, but it looks okay, I guess.

I helped out afterwards, hauling one of the sleds back to Govy on top of the Sorento. Other than a Christmas tree, I'd never put anything on the roof rack to transport. I kinda wish I had a sunroof so I could peek up there and see how it's sitting, but the straps held fine and it didn't slide around or damage the roof. After putting it away, I had a beer with JG and we talked some shop. I think the incoming apprentice class will end up being excellent sled drivers if we can apply what we learned this weekend and be consistent about it. I got home and helped B with some laundry, then we just sat around the house. I was (still am) pretty beat after everything this weekend, which started with softball practice Friday after work.

I'm definitely skipping my workout tomorrow. This week might just be all cardio and no lifting. We'll see.


Barkernews said...

Right on, dude!
Looks like fun!

lands said...

It's a sun dog. We used to see them in Vermont.

Ghost Dog said...

Oh, right! I completely forgot. Sun dog. Cool.