18 March 2008

Ski Day 21: Bowling For Sled-Drivers

Finally! Training in Progress signage. It's only March.

Sunday found me back over at Ski Bowl, and thankfully it was one of those days where the weather was pretty cooperative all day. Snow conditions were excellent, with a little bit of fresh stuff to shred. I met up with my fellow coaches at the patrol building, and also chatted with JG, who would be evaluating some of our candidates on their toboggan-handling skills.

The hill captain doled out opening assignments, but kind of left the coaches out of the mix. He'd paired our apprentices up with other patrollers, so we rounded up towards Rescue Center to see if there were things to be done up there.

Of course there were. We weren't going to get out of doing opening and just go skiing in the freshies in the Upper Bowl. Gordy and I started in on digging out tower pads, which clearly hadn't been done in the upper bowl in some time, as evidenced by the first one we worked on. It wasn't buried particularly deep, but it was frozen quite well into place. We dug it out and proceeded to the next one. Jim joined us, and we finished the tower pads and the rope lines that are set up under the chair to keep people from getting hit in the head by folks on the lift.

We didn't manage to get out and get some skiing in before we had to meet up with the apprentices, but I got to take a couple of them out for a run while waiting for JG to evaluate the first set of candidates. We headed over and skied the trees on skiers' right of Accelerator, after starting on the traverse towards Scotty's Way. The trees were nice and open and there was plenty of untracked snow for us over there. Probably the best run of the day, despite its brevity.

Jim, Gordy, and JG watch some candidates do their thing.

Throughout the morning, we were alternately coaching and watching the evaluation runs of our apprentices, and we broke for lunch around 12:10. I went to RC and ate there, chatting with the patrollers on duty.

A practice scenario, dealing with scene management. Note the well-stomped-out 'shelf' for the toboggan. Nice stable area for loading the patient.

I finished eating and decided to go out and get some turns in before we re-grouped with our trainees, but no sooner did I step out the door that a call came in. Just as I reached the top of the snow-steps outside RC, another patroller skied off the lift ramp and we listened to the report of an injured 'boarder in one of the parks on the other side of the area. Nobody was over there to respond, so he took off first and I went to back him up if he needed a sled.

During the trip over, there were some confusing radio calls about where the incidents had occurred, and if there were even two of them in the first place. I got over to the top of the Multorpor lift and waited in the handles of one of the sleds to see if we got a location on the second case. Turned out the first one was a pretty serious backboard case, and the other was something they decided to transport via snowmobile. I set the sled back up against the shack and went back to RC to meet up with the training group.

O RLY? This sign is on Bob Strand's Downhill - well inside the current Ski Bowl boundary.

The rest of the afternoon was more of the same - coaching and watching the evaluation runs. I think we signed off 5 new sled-drivers on Sunday, which is good. We need the help. We did manage to get in a run in the Outback with a group of apprentices. I found some nice fresh stuff to ski in the area of the chutes, and did some traversing to find more untracked snow on a few of the other pitches heading down the westernmost trail at the Bowl. The Log Road was the best I'd seen it and I took off first, hauling ass in buckets just making nice big Super-G type turns. Felt great.

One of the apprentices free-heeling it down Black Label Pitch on our last run.

The day ended with a transceiver search set up by the hill captain, a de-brief, and a trip to Charlie's for beer bought by the newly-signed-off hill apprentices. I got to thinking about how it's only been a calendar year since I completed my training. Seems like much longer ago.