Friday, December 21, 2007

Changing Gears

I guess it’s time I finally step and resume my title as the Snow Curmudgeon. The bikes are all cleaned up and hung on the wall for awhile. The only riding I’ve been doing is to that padded cell I get paid to sit in five days a week (sometimes four, or if I am “feeling sick” three).

But before we get to the forecast, an outdated trip report.

It doesn’t take a genius to know it has been snowing like all get out in the mountains the past week or so. Heck even Matt Zafino could figure that one out. So this past weekend I decided it was time to head uphill and see all the snow for myself. Other than the occasional flurries I hadn’t seen snow yet this year. I wasn’t expecting too much, as the telemetry showed about a four foot base, not quite enough to fill in the clear cuts and glades just yet.

Why not go ride the lifts you ask? This year I have forsaken the ski pass. Didn’t go for the Meadows 4x4 or a ten punch anywhere. I had originally started riding the lifts to learn to Telemark. I’ve never alpine skied before, with the exception of one day in Junior High at Vernon Valley Great Gorge, but I think it is safe to say that was more of an experiment in how easy alpine skis release when repeatedly crashed on rock solid man made snow. And in case you were wondering it was really easy, unfortunately the brakes didn’t stop the skis as easy. Moving on from that nasty memory, I took up cross country skiing, and when I moved to Oregon I did quite a bit of touring. Then I started looking at all the steep open slopes and thinking how fun they would be to ski down. After two years of trying to teach myself on x-c skis in the back country I decided to try it on the lifts. My first time riding the lifts was much like Junior High, only it was New Year’s eve and the bindings didn’t release. Any how, four or five years, two pairs each of leather and plastic boots and three pairs of skis later and I can pull off a decent tele turn and I feel like I have topped out the steep part of the learning curve. So I have decided to return to where I started, touring around and finding out what it would be like skiing all those open slopes out there.

Saturday marked the inaugural trip of the year. And I was feeling like a lucky man. We pulled into the sno-park and were the only one’s there. Meanwhile it was a constant line of cars up to Meadows. In addition I was joined by two beautiful ladies. Don’t get much better. Well, ok, a few more feet of snow would have made it a little better. Never the less we persevered and had a fun tour. We headed out to some slopes I hadn’t been to in years, since I started riding the lifts actually. It was like returning to your childhood home after being away for a long time, or putting on a well worn glove for the first time. It just fit.

We found a decent slope with sufficient coverage to get in some turns, and had a little adventure navigating through the trees at the bottom. Good times. And best of all, we saw some terrain with great potential.

Since the tour last weekend it has snowed like the bejeebus up there. There’s close to another three feet of snow, so all those little gremlin trees and stumps should be nicely tucked in their winter bed. Unfortunately I am stuck in my padded cell for the day, missing some awesome skiing. I keep thinking “it’s ok, there’ll be other days” but that’s like a band aid for a heart attack, useless. This weekend looks good too, but you know what, I’m leaving tomorrow morning for Atlanta to see my sister for x-mas. So I ain’t bothering with a forecast, figure it out for yourselves!

The Snow Curmudgeon

p.s. A future weather hint: I may go night skiing on Thursday, shhh don’t tell no one, sno with 1000’ freezing level!