02 December 2007

Ski Day 3: Deep Into It At Bowl

The outside of "The Palace". Lots of snow on the roof...

Today found me at the Ski Bowl, as planned, thanks to a whole heap o' snow over the last couple days. The Killers' Sam's Town faintly emanated from the Sorento's speakers as I crept into Government Camp in 4WD High this morning. Snow - lots of it - was falling, and there was plenty of the white stuff on the roads. I drove past the patrol building, wanting to get a look at the heart of Govy with all the snow. It was really beautiful, a picturesque mountain town in the pre-dawn.

I looped back down to the patrol building, and as I drove through town, I noticed many of the cars had about 5-6" of snow on them. Some had more. Big dump last night. This is both good and bad, I thought, gonna be some deep heavy stuff up there.

I met up with some fellow patrollers at the patrol building, some just waking up, others already milling around. A few were headed off to Timberline, where they opened up the new Jeff Flood Still Creek Express (seriously, I think the name could be longer...) chairlift today. Kinda bummed I missed that, but I expect I'll get plenty of chances to ride the new chair this season and beyond.

Off to the "Palace" over at the east side of the Ski Bowl for the morning meeting. I parked next to a truck that had to have been parked there for several days, since it was completely covered in snow. I just had to shoot it. So, here:

Glad I don't have to clear this off...

It would snow all day, and the wind varied from near-calm to pretty heavy - at one point it appeared to be snowing sideways. I drew the Upper/Lower Bowl opening assignment, so off I went. I remembered the "cheat" of skiing UP the run called Lower Left to get from the Multorpor chair over to the top of the Lower Bowl chair. I dusted off the two sleds over there, checked the sled and backboard packs, the traction splint in the lift shack and called it all in to RC. After that, I headed up to RC to see what needed doing up there, and ended up spending a chunk of the morning standing around outside telling folks about the "early season conditions" and all the "unmarked obstacles" (read: rocks) that may exist.

A little free advertising for my man Mark!

The hill captain thought he'd reward me with getting in some "primo turns" off the top if I'd go and re-set a rope line intended to keep people from skiing under the lift. His intentions were good, but I ended up not getting in any turns, because I had to clear snow from the rope, which required a lot of sidestepping down the hill. I couldn't sideslip because the snow was knee-deep. While great to ski in, it's a colossal pain in the ass to get work like that done in.

Sleds at the ready behind the Rescue Center, atop the Upper Bowl.

I did manage some turns under the lower part of the lift in the untracked pow, so it wasn't all bad. I did hassle the HC about it later, but just to mess with him. Through all the assignments today, I managed quite a few nice runs in the deep stuff, finding only a handful of rocks. The Outback was closed, so it was all about the east half of the upper bowl. Accelerator and Radical were nice, as was the right edge of Pizzaz. I made a couple runs over on Scotty's Way and the stuff over there was thigh-deep in spots.

I had to rotate through the east side First Aid Room, which today was a massive bore - thankfully. Usually a shift over there means a lot of cases from the tube hill, and they're usually messy. I don't mind getting busy, but it's no fun in heavy weather when you're understaffed.

The view out the east side First Aid Room window. Note the bungee tower at right. No, I didn't jump today. I'm pretty sure it was closed.

The view inside the east side FAR. Pretty cramped in there, and not terribly warm today.

The late afternoon was all about getting in as many runs as I could on the upper bowl before sweep. I think I managed to get in about 5 runs, exploring where the best snow was. There were still fresh tracks to be made in several places, despite it being late in the day.

Sweep rolled around, and we were gearing up for a lost snowboarder search that threatened to have us stuck up there for who knows how long. Fortunately, we were alerted the 'boarder had been found just minutes before we were to start sweep.

Unfortunately, I crashed at the bottom of the upper bowl on sweep. My ski tip submarined on me (again! time for fatter skis?), but this time I wasn't as lucky as last week. I tumbled, and managed to tweak my right shoulder pretty good. Felt like it popped out and back in - something I hadn't experienced in over a decade. I suppose, if I believed in such things, that's what I get for posting about it.


The best (read: not so good) part was that I had a snowmobile-tow and a trip up the handle tow lift to look forward to. I gritted my teeth and did it anyway. De-brief and de-boot at the Palace, then trudge to the car and get the hell home. Ice, a hot bath, more ice, dinner, watch the Steelers beat the Bungles, more ice, watch the goals from the Arsenal match yesterday, blog, more ice.

Ugh. And I'm back on the hill both days next weekend, since I'm helping out with sled coaching this year. Might have to find a creative way to wrap the shoulder up for next week.

Oh, and the weather guessers missed again, thankfully. The closest we came to rain today was either the heavy wet snow at the end of the day or the sort of mixed-feeling precipitation on the lower half of the lower bowl in the mid-afternoon. So much for all the gloom-and-doom that was supposed to melt all the snow away by mid-day. There was at least 2.5" on the Sorento when I packed up to leave the Bowl today. AccuWeather says it's still snowing up there at the moment...

...but should start raining tomorrow. Hopefully the snow settles and hardens before the next dumping of the white stuff that's supposed to come in about a week.


Broken Camera Guy said...

Gee, the weather guessers are becoming more wrong every day. Like that hyped-up "snow storm" in Portland, which amounted up to a few non-sticking flakes mixed with rain. I watched people kayaking and rowing on the Willamette River on Saturday on my bike ride. Some snow storm that was.