15 July 2007

Ski Day 32: Bastille Day At 8500 Feet, Return Of The Butterflies, And A Wii Bit Of Fun

A look down the hill from top of Palmer. Getting pretty thin down low...

This weekend, B is at her mom's place in Elgin with her sisters, so I decided I should put in another day on the hill. I like summer patrolling, save for the rather early wake-up required, because it beats doing yard work in the heat. Well, that and I love to ski. And Mt. Hood is a fantastic place to spend a sunny day when you have a camera, even if you don't ski.

Saturday was another gorgeous day on the hill. I let B take the 'good' camera out with her, so I didn't get much in the way of great shots. I wanted to get over to the terrain park and shoot some more guys doing jumps, but the older camera just doesn't do so well with snapping moving people.

Anyway, the day on the hill was rather quiet. The usual routine, with considerably less snow than on the 4th. I made sure I packed my shoes so I could walk back from the lower staging area after finishing up. The morning saw only one or two cases, and I didn't get to help with either of them. Just a matter of timing and position, I guess.

We started noticing the butterflies at around 9, I think, and their number just seemed to steadily increase all day. The migration appears to be in full swing, and it got to the point in the afternoon that you didn't want to ski too fast with your mouth open or unshielded eyes, lest you get pelted by the butterflies. It was pretty much looking like last year all over again.

No, the lens isn't dirty. All those specks in the sky are butterflies.

One landed on a fellow patroller's arm. I forgot to use macro mode, so it came out kinda crappy.

Towards 10:30 or so, a guy came up to tell us about an apparently injured skier a little ways down Palmer just on the west side of the lift. Given all the exposed rock out there, I feared the worst, but when I got to him, he was just kind of sitting there. He'd tweaked his lower leg - one he'd broken previously, I found out - and was in too much pain to keep skiing.

But he didn't want a toboggan ride.

I took a look at his leg, and could see the scar from his previous injury - an open tib-fib fracture. Other than the scar, it didn't look bad, and he didn't complain of any pain touching it or anything. But he refused a toboggan ride, saying the last one he had was bumpy and painful.

Obviously, he'd never ridden a toboggan driven by ME.

But I couldn't convince him. Maybe I should get some 'customer testimonials' or something ("Best toboggan ride ever!" "I almost fell asleep!" "Smooth, like floating on clouds!") I can hand out. Anyway, he decided he wanted to try sideslipping down to the Mile lift and downloading on the chairlift from there. I strongly advised a trip to the first aid room, but I found out later he didn't stop by. I didn't see him again, but he did say he was seeing his doctor in the coming week anyway, so hopefully he'll be taken care of.

I ended up having him sign a refusal form, but I just felt bad about the whole thing. When I told the Hill Captain about it, he said I'd done the right thing. One of the veteran pro patrollers that was there when I talked about it agreed with him. *shrug*

The rest of the day was relatively uneventful. I pulled some 'Slow' signs and did a cat escort from mid-way Palmer down to the upper staging area. Cat escort is kind of boring duty - you just ski (rather slowly) behind and to the inside of the cat to make sure nobody skis in such a manner as they'd be hit by the thing. But, as an end-of-the-patrol-day task, it's not so bad. Sort of a leisurely stroll, if you will. I only had to wave off a handful of folks, and held a few people up so the cat could negotiate one of the narrower spots unimpeded.

I got waved off by the cat driver when we arrived at the staging area, and skied down the rest of the way. While on my escort mission, I heard radio chatter about a case in the terrain park, and so I waited with the head pro patroller at the lower staging area to help out with getting the toboggan into the truck for the journey from snow's end down to the first aid room. I had enough time to change out of my boots, so I did. The guys running the case arrived with the sled and patient, we loaded up, and I walked down behind the truck.

That was pretty much the end of the day. That last case was a tweaked knee, so he got splinted up, and his buddies took him on down to go get X-rays. Apparently, they'd been making their own little 'action sports film', and caught the crash on camera. I didn't get the chance to see it.

Anyway, we de-briefed and then headed down to Charlie's for further de-briefing. Pint and a grilled chicken caesar for me, and good conversation with some great patrollers capped the day. I headed off to the Ice Axe to re-fill a growler for the evening's festivities - a Wii Little Party at Travis & Nicki's place.

The party was tons of fun, just hanging out, drinking and talking and playing Wii Sports. No stories about damaged remotes or televisions here, just a good time getting more people hooked on playing the thing. I brought one of my remotes, loaded with some of our Miis, but what I didn't know was their scores and settings don't follow them. So it was kind of disappointing in that regard, but I added a couple of our characters to the battalion of them that T & N had on their Wii.

Tennis, Boxing, and Bowling seemed to dominate the gameplay, but we did get some home-run hitting going. No organized contests or anything, but we did have a load of fun. I only wish I could have had my character's scores and stuff, since playing tennis against Travis saw my guy well out of position a lot of the time. Still, I almost beat him in a best-of-5 match, with the last game taking quite a lot of back-and-forth on the last point of the last game.

Time seemed to rocket by having all that fun, and before I realized it, it was 2am. I went home and just crashed. I'd been up - and rather busy - for 22 hours. Yoi.


LandS said...

The Wii Sounds cool.

It must be something else being on snow in Mid July. In years past we would have been sailing or at least drifting about pouring buckets of water over each other to keep cool.

Yeah a day on the hill sure beats yard work, heat or no heat.

Broken Camera Guy said...

Sounds pretty cool. I won't indulge on my day: stayed home, sick.

Ghost Dog said...

I'm giddy just about every day I ski past April 1st. The weather is almost always awesome, the view is spectacular, and being able to make turns and watch ski racers train is just super cool. I'd love to get in the gates myself, but I don't think it would be kosher, wearing a cross...

...and I'd probably embarrass myself. It's been a mighty long time.