30 March 2008

Ski Day 23: Nope, Still Winter

I hope it never stops!

Heh, somebody forgot to turn off the snow, and I love it. Ski Bowl got dumped on all week, and my only regret was not skiing Saturday as well. Sunday was chock full of epic-y goodness, though, and I was chuckling almost all day long about the snow measurement.

156" at the stake at the top of upper bowl. Yes, you're reading that correctly. You could also interpret that as THIRTEEN FEET.

The "Ski Area Boundary" sign discs on the trees to the left of the trail out to Tom Dick Peak are still just barely above the level of the snow. You can't even see that weather station thingy out there. Many of the trail signs are at snow level or buried.

The "Palace", AKA the ski patrol room at Ski Bowl East, is almost totally buried. You might not even notice there was a building there, if it weren't for the tracks and the antenna sticking out.

I wish I had a shot of just the sign from last season, but check these two three shots out:

Last March 17th. That's Toby, who was Hill Captain today. See the sign in the background, to the left? Okay, now look below...

...January 13th, 2008. Still pretty high off the snow...

...March 30th, 2008. Yeah, not so high up.

I suppose you get the idea by now. There is a ton of snow up there.

Anyway, my day was a good one. Most patrol days are, at Ski Bowl. I got there hella early, drawing the Rescue Center opening assignment. After a snowmobile ride to the top of Multorpor, I skated over to Art's Corner to set the merge fence, then over to the bottom of the Upper Bowl lift to set the "slow" sign, waited for the lifties to fire up the lift, then went up and opened RC.

Bottom of the Upper Bowl chair, just before they fired it up. Nice and quiet when it's not turning and you're the only one up there.

After opening RC, I had to hang around there until 10, when I finally got to get some turns in. I dropped into the trees on the way over to Scotty's Way, seeing as the snow looked too good in there to pass up. The next run was a peak hike to check out the epicness that is the western edge of the area. It was well worth the walk - the view was nice, and the skiing was phenomenal.

There were a handful of chuckleheads out at the peak who decided they were heading out of bounds, off towards Mirror Lake. I advised them the avalanche danger was high, and after a chat with the Hill Captain over the radio, told them they'd lose their tickets and all that mess, but they insisted they'd done it loads of times and basically ignored my warnings. Whatever. We ended up not having to go search for their dumb asses, so all's well that ends well, I suppose.

Nifty little knife-edge cornice up on the west edge just above The Chutes.

I caused a nice little soft-slab avalanche in Chute #2, then skied into the sluff once it settled. It hadn't appeared to have been skied in quite some time, so it wasn't much of a surprise that my traverse across the top of the chute caused a slide. Skiing into the sluff zone was suh-weet, as it was really almost just a loose snow slide. I wish I'd thought to video it, so you could see it was kind of a hybrid. There was definitely a crack in the layer when it went, and it initially went as a unit, but the snow was soft and loose when I skied down into it.

The whole rest of the run down West Boundary and Black Label was a little more tracked-out, but still rather shredtastic. The Log Road was very fast and full of Super-G-turny fun. I carried enough speed that I didn't have to skate or pole to get past the uphill parts.

I heart my Apache Outlaws, by the way.

After a shift over on the Cascade chair (where I ate lunch), and a series of near-misses where I was almost in position to respond to cases, I found myself back up at RC to close things out for the day. I got in some more turns, then hauled the drill back over to the Palace. On the way there, we got to help sweep and close the Cascade chair, apparently for the season. Myself and one of the other patrollers were the last people to ride the chair.

It'll be awesome that the bowl will be open until probably the end of April, but at the rate things are going, it'll be a crying shame - there will be plenty of snow when they do close.

And now, here's this week's "Hi Dad and Mom" shot. From the top of Tom Dick Peak, at the west boundary.

Mom & Dad - this vs. a trip to FL...hmm...can you blame me?


BJDorr said...

Heh! They had to rope off the chair line. Getting close to having to replace the chairs with T-bars! Or a rope tow, except I don't think your hands will do well over the sheave train or on the greasy cable

BJDorr said...

Now here's an idea. "The Large Ski Area" wants to borrow an U.S. Army howitzer for avalanche control.

Ghost Dog said...

Yeah, been hearing about that one. That'd be interesting to hear booming across the mountain...