07 January 2008

Ski Day 7: Fresh And New At Timberline

Just a glimpse of the upper bowl from the new terrain at T-line.

Sunday found me at Timberline, patrolling there for the first time since the new terrain in the "Still Creek Basin" opened up. The drive up was interesting, as it was snowing pretty good by the time I got a little ways east of Sandy. The road was packed snow somewhere around Rhody, but I didn't decide to chain up until I got up to Government Camp. The Sorento was holding the road pretty well, but I knew the Timberline road gets considerably more turny than does 26, so on went the chains.

Though with a 30mph restriction, I doubt I'd have put myself in a spot where I really needed them. But rules are rules, and better safe than sorry.

I got up to the patrol room waaaaay too early. One of the pros was racked out in there, having spent the night. I made a quick apology and turned the lights back off in the part he was sleeping in.

He napped only 5-10 more minutes, and then folks started showing up. A handful of hill apprentices showed up, since today was a training day for them. I got to watch some of them hauling empty sleds around.

I drew the opening assignment for Molly's Express, and I think I was fine with that - I didn't want to have to deal with fumbling through opening procedures on the new (1.2 miles long!) 'Floodo' chair the first time I laid eyes on it. Molly's is pretty long itself, and there's plenty to do there anyway, with the rather long rope line on the east edge. I got a little help from some associate patrollers with dusting and adjusting tower pads, so it went much quicker than if I'd had to do it all solo.

I also got to break out my avy shovel to dig out the pads on one of the trail signs. Hopefully, that's all the digging I have to do with it this year.

Mile was shut down, due to low visibility, so we bumped out of Stormin' Norman. Once I was done with my bump shift, it was time to explore. Off I went down Kruzer, making cruiser-type turns on the groomed stuff. I quickly noticed how open the trees looked to my left. I saw some tracks in there, and decided I needed to check that out.


The base of the Jeff Flood Express.

I was glad I did. I spent most of my exploring time in the trees. Glorious knee-deep pow was my reward for such adventurousness. The trees got a little tight in spots, so I came out of them here and there, and did actually ski nearly all of the new trails as well as finding the sweet tree-skiing in between. I did also find some places I couldn't go.

Toxic tree-skiing? Best not to find out...

Another bump shift around mid-day, then back to exploring and showing a presence on some other parts of the area. My favorite bit of the day was finding a father and son enjoying the tree-skiing. The kid couldn't have been more than 6 or 7, but he was holding his own in there.

It wasn't initially a pleasant scene, however. I skied into the trees and shortly thereafter heard the kid yelling for help. When I figured out where he was, it turned out he was above me. I started hiking up toward his voice, but I could tell he was still moving, still skiing. When I caught sight of him, he was still yelling for help, but clearly upright and apparently okay. I finally see his dad, and he's skiing ahead of the boy.

Not good, I thought. First, the kid's a little young to be dragged into stuff that he can hardly see over, much less doing so in the trees. Second, ol' dad there ought to be keeping his eye on the boy...

Finally, the kid verbalizes what he needed help with. "Daddy! I need help getting out of the trees!" He's still making progress, and he can see me, so I figure he can just follow me out.

"Follow me, young fella!" I shout to the kid. "You're almost out!" He drops into my tracks about 20 feet behind me and we get out of the woods. He definitely saw the red coat and the white crosses on my backpack and parka, because he says, "Daddy! I followed the hospital and got out on my own!"

"Hospital". I chuckled at that one. Never been called that before.

His dad, already out of the woods, sees me, waves, and says to the kid, "What do you say, son?"

"THANK YOU!"

You're welcome, kiddo. I thought about suggesting to the dad that maybe they stay out of the woods, but the kid ended up taking care of that for me - I overheard him tell his old man that he had fun in there, but wanted to just stay on the trails the rest of the day.

I, on the other hand, would do no such thing, until just before sweep. But even on sweep I got into the trees - I got to sweep the "Bone Zone".

Great day. Snowed all day, tons of freshies on new-to-me terrain, hung out and skied with great people. The only thing that sucked was the drive down to Rhody. We were just creeping down 26. I kid you not, we were doing barely 5mph until we got to that one curve where it opens into 2 lanes. I started seeing bare pavement above the third-to-last chain removal area, so I ditched the chains there. Once we got down to Zigzag, things opened up and we were doing the speed limit.

Yes, I snapped the speedometer with my cell phone cam. I know, bad, bad, bad.

The drive home was just shy of 2 hours.

5 comments:

BJDorr said...

Are the drivers getting out of their vehicles and WALKING their cars???

I think the next season, assuming that I get back into shape, I'm going to get the Fusion Pass... Unless the gas prices goes up from $ARM to $LEG per gallon.

Barkernews said...

Nice!
That's gonna be MY kid too!
Ever seen a three year old tele?
You will!

BJDorr said...

Acid snow.

Ghost Dog said...

Do they even make tele gear that small? That would be flippin' awesome to see...

LandS said...

Way to go there hospital.