21 January 2008

Ski Days 10, 11, 12: In Which I Stretch The Definition

Our chalet for the weekend. Thanks to B's folks for having us out there.

Well, it's MY blog, so it's MY criteria for what is or is not a "ski day". For the record, if I put my skis on, and make turns down a hill, regardless of slope angle, at least 3 times from the highest place I can on said hill to wherever it's too flat to call 'down hill', it counts. 'Kay?

This weekend, we spent at my in-laws' place in Elgin, OR. I skipped a weekend of ski patrolling to spend some time with the missus and (most of) her immediate family. The drive is a long one, but largely unremarkable except for the wind turbine farms, the Army depot, and the scenery on approaching the La Grande area.

Anyway, we arrived somewhere around 1pm Friday and I immediately geared up to go see if the "hill" on B's folk's property was worth the bother of bringing my skis and boots. I started snapping photos pretty much right away as well, since there were 5 dogs running around playing in the snow and wagging their tails. We put little booties on Phoebe's feet to try and keep them warm. She was having a grand time.

Phoebe running around in the snow, sans booties.

Protect them paws! Troy's sled at left. I don't think Pheebs liked her booties.

Left to right: Duke chills while Sissy and Cassie get acquainted.

After a while, I headed over to the hill. I found myself kinda wishing I'd brought my poles, but skating on alpine skis without them is good exercise, so what the hell. The hill was pretty flat, but with a skating start you can make a handful of medium-radius turns before you run out of momentum at the bottom. I herringboned back up and did it again, and a third time.

We had 3 snowmobiles out there, so everybody had plenty of chances to drive, ride, or be towed around. My bro-in-law Matt and his family were out there also, so my 3 nephews were getting in plenty of sledding/tubing, as well as getting towed around on tubes behind the snowmobiles. I took the middle nephew, Nick, around for a lap on a snowmobile sometime during the day.

Mischief comes in threes. Chris makes a face, Nick smiles, Zack ignores.

After that, it was time to put a tow rope on one of the snowmobiles and make turns that way. I got a lot of turns in on the flats and uphill (sweet!) behind (sis-in-law Jenn's hubby) Troy's snowmobile. We even went out and did it again in the dark. My legs were almost getting tired when we decided to pack it in for the evening and drink.

Purple sky at the edge while the sun sets.

This moon would provide pretty good illumination for some assisted night skiing.

The next day, it was time to make some laps around the property to check out tracks from the evening before, and try to "groom" a lane for sledding/tubing. I thought driving my in-laws' quad around their grassy fields was fun, but snowmobiling (and being towed on my skis) around the property was by far the most fun I've had out there. Hot-tubbing while it snowed Saturday night was a close second.

Checking out my tracks Saturday morning.

Hiking back up after a mid-morning set of slow medium-radius turns.

Troy, who hadn't stepped into his snowboard for several years, got the dust off while I towed him around. He was a little rusty, but did fine. He also spent some time teaching Jenn to snowboard. I think she was starting to get the hang of it.
I made a few more "runs" unaided down the hill and got towed around some more myself.

It had started snowing again in the early afternoon, and by night-time many of the tracks we'd made were starting to get covered up. Good excuse to make new ones, I'd say.

Jenn, surrounded by pooches, gets ready for a pull back up the hill.

Sunday was more of the same, with some brief breaks to check out the NFL conference championship games. Beck and I were having a grand old time zooming around the property, sometimes on separate snowmobiles, and sometimes on one together. I was just loving being outside in the snow.

More evidence of my extreme shreddage. *snicker*

Beck and I pause for a little self-portrait as we cruise the fences together.

I had Troy pull me on parallel runs so I could make some powder-eights on the flats. Hey, turns is turns.

I think I disturbed a conversation or something...

Looking around out there, I got to thinking how cool it would be to find a hill that has a decent pitch to it, build a little lodge and a surface lift and have my own little ski area. As it is, we might have to go check out some of the skiing around that area anyway.

Just some snowy hills between Imbler and La Grande.

I can't wait to go back. Maybe we'll go hit Spout Springs or Anthony Lakes next time we're out there.


LandS said...

Cool. Good pictures and is sure looks like you had a good time.

LandS said...

Oh, LaGrande is where they make the Arctic Fox camper like we have. Ours was made in VA when that plant was building. Northwood Mfg is the company.

BJDorr said...

Pheebs looks happy. You did great capturing the three dogs and the horse "conversation" photos. Love it.

Barkernews said...

Great pics!

Now I wanna hear all about your epic wipeout on Upper Bowl today!!!

I hear your ski went flying as high as the top of the lift towers!

Ghost Dog said...

Thanks, y'all. I had fun photographing the pooches.

B-news: see new post. Wipeout wasn't that epic. At least, *I* didn't think so.

nightwatcher said...

So did Pheebs keep the boots on?
My golden loses them in the snow but gets terrible snowballs! Then my lab tore her back pads while on the snow XCountry skiing at Detroit Lake.....any good boots that stay on, let me know!!
Love the horses shot!

Ghost Dog said...

Nah, she didn't keep them on the whole time. They were fine in the packed snow, but when she started post-holing in the deeper crusty stuff, they started coming off.