21 December 2008

Ski Day 3: Bowl Full Of Blizz

Saturday marked my return to Ski Bowl, and what a day it was! There was snow the entire way up this time, courtesy of the recent dumpage that hit town. We usually don't see much snow all the way down in Portland, so it was a unique experience driving the full length of the trip from home to the mountain on snow-packed roads. The Sorento did beautifully in 4WD.

I hopped the shuttle from the patrol building to Ski Bowl east with one of the other patrollers, so as to save some parking spots for the public. This kinda screwed with my usual routine of how I determine what comes with me and what stays in the Palace, but it worked out just fine. I'll probably keep doing that, and the patrol is encouraging us to take the shuttle for Timberline as well, which should mean some trips down the Glade trail down into Govy - something I still have yet to experience.

Anyway, it was shaping up to be 'one of those days', as the regular radios at the Palace hadn't been charging. We sent someone over to the patrol building in Govy to get the training radios, so things worked out all right.

We had a TON of work to do for mountain setup. None of the usual stuff was already on the hill, so we were hauling around bamboo and rope and fence to get things marked off and made safe for the public. Usually, we get done with setup by 9-ish. I didn't get done and up to RC until about 11:30. We kept running out of rope, and there were a heap of tower pads buried under about 3' of snow that a couple patrollers and I dug out. I didn't get any pictures, mostly because I was too busy. I don't like getting the camera wet/snowy, either.

After lunch, it was my turn to man the radio/log at RC, so I did. I managed to get a run in, thanks to a fellow patroller, and I proved to myself just how out of shape I am. After my stint at RC, I skied all the way down to the bottom to go get my season pass, then rounded back up top. It was getting cold, but I was too happy to be back at the Bowl to care. I managed to get in a few more runs on the upper bowl before dropping back in on RC to see if we had any closing assignments or needed to wrap anything up before handing things over to the paid patrollers for the evening.

That's when things got a little interesting. I was taking a brief shift at the radio in RC, when a call came in that the lower bowl chairlift had 'de-roped'. Uh oh. Smells like an evac. We immediately started checking all the evacuation gear, and dispatched some patrollers to start talking to folks on the chair and hopefully discourage any jumpers. Even with all the snow, it's dangerous - not to mention illegal - to jump off. We had a good group of patrollers all set to go for the evac when we got the call to stand down - the repair had been successful. I got to man the radio for all this fun, but learned quite a bit about how we would coordinate things from the dispatch end - not something you really get from the evac practice, which tends to focus more on the act itself of removing people from a stuck lift.

At any rate, we got out of there a little later than we'd hoped. There was an injury over on the east side of the hill, just as we were all speeding towards the Palace for de-briefing. The patroller on-scene handled it well, and I think the delay actually helped with the drive home - the roads weren't very clogged at all. The drive home itself wasn't bad until I got closer to the Brightwood area, where things got a little dicey.

The snow on the road was pretty deep in spots, close to about 6", but the visibility was the worst part. There were a couple times I couldn't really see the road for all the blowing snow. It was pretty brutal, but I didn't panic, and got home safely. A happy missus and a kick-ass pork loin dinner were waiting at home for me, as were some mighty big snow drifts...

Sunday was interesting. We had some Christmas shopping to do and errands to run, so out into the snow we went. But not before shoveling a path to the Sorento, and not before chipping off the 1/4" of ice on the windward side of the vehicle. The rear was pretty rimed-up as well from the drive home from Ski Bowl Saturday night. We got everything done and once we got back home, I shoveled the driveway. B took a shot of me digging out a path to the Jeep, and I took some of the snow and the dogs. We had some drifts that were knee-deep or more, and all of it was crusty on top from the freezing precipitation the previous night. Fun!

Digging out...gotta be able to get to the recycling bin, right?

Pretty big drift to completely hide the front steps...

Couple taps of the fist and this came off in big chunks.

The dogs enjoying playing in the crust-on-dust

"Go 'way, Dad...I'm peein'!" I wondered why he stopped and looked at me like that. B told me afterward that Kingston had stopped to relieve himself whilst I was trying to get a shot of him.