I’d been planning on skiing this weekend for over a month, pending conditions. I had the proverbial “4-hour window” on Friday afternoon to meet with the local phone company, so the plan was to ski the morning and then head back to the cabin.
Earlier in the week, I’d been hit with the most heinous “flu” or something and was completely knocked out. I missed 2 days of work – only my 4th and 5th sick days in 22 years with my current company. So I went back to work Thursday, booked out early for the drive to the mountains. Arrived at about 8pm, started the stove and got to bed around 11 pm exhausted, not sure how I could possibly ski.
It snowed over night maybe 5″ and was still snowing pretty good when I got up at 6:30. I had to go for it. First tracks were excellent. While no glades were open almost everything was groomed with the new snow on top. Gondi was OPEN at 7:45 when I arrived (that’s pretty early) so I blew off the traditional Egg McGore breakfast and hopped in, solo. At the top of Bear mountain access to the summit was closed.
My new thing is to do a lower mountain lap and come back up. I used to wait at the rope for the summit to open, not sure why I changed that…maybe to warm up – what a concept. The snow on the lower half was dense and almost consistent, with just a hint of mank. It was fun to ski, but a lot of work. Had to really pressure the rear ski, to keep from going over the handle bars. Spank it, or get spanked.
Back up top…Pine Knot was even better. It must have been colder enough up top to keep any mankiness out. My first 5 or 10 runs up top were some of the best all year. Even with my post-flu condition and my looming appointment with the phone guy, Jan 18 could have been the 2nd best day of the year, for on-piste conditions, after New Years Day. Hawkeye, Chatiemac, Open Pit – everything that was open was great – 6″ of carvable fun. And the corduroy underneath was carvable too. At one point I skied through some corduroy laid bare by a snowboarder and that carved out nicely. My only gripe…why open the Darkside if Lower Steilhang, Hullaballoo and Darby are closed?
I headed back to the cabin, and of course the phone buy blew me off. 500 miles round trip for an appointment that I set up 2 months ago and confirmed TWICE including the day before. No show. Grrrrrr.
On Saturday, first tracks were also excellent. Not much fresh on top but the corduroy was carvable down to about three inches. They opened Lies and it was like skiing in a pillow fight on the first run. Nice sized soft bumps perfect for bump-tele. It didn’t last too long. My second run, and I got my butt kicked. In places you’d go from natural to man-made without warning. I end upside down more than once.
After sampling the top, I checked out the bottom which was classic crud. Certainly skiable, but lots of work. I went down to the demo to see if the demo day had any tele gear. Not only was the answer no, but the K2 rep knew less about his skis than I did.
It was now officially MLK weekend and it was busy. A line at the Gondi. I was still pretty tired, and Sunday was looking like bigtime windchills. Normally I like to battle the cold, but having just gotten over the flu, I packed it up and headed south. Whining aside, it was definitely worth the trip.