Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Epic ski day

This picture looks kind of dark. We were on a super-steep out-of-bounds tree run, and the trees were so full of snow that they were obscuring a lot of the light. I took the picture primarily to e-mail it to a few friends who opted not to ski yesterday. This is my buddy Jeff, resting for a few seconds before heading down the hill again. He's on a snowboard, but there's so much snow you can't even see the board.

I don't even know how to describe yesterday, especially to non-skiers. It might very well rank as one of the best 10 days of my life to date. I've probably had ski days that were as good, but none better.

I met a friend and co-worker early in the morning. I was afraid that the winds on Monday might have created a wind-slab surface,which can make skiing very difficult. On our first chair ride, another skier said that conditions were tough. Luckily, she was either skiing in the wrong place or she simply wasn't a good skier.

I started on a trail, to try to get a feel for the snow. We warmed up on a single-black diamond bump run called Domino. It was beautiful. Our next run, we started to go into the trees. The first tree run was completely untracked. At one point, I rounded a corner and made a turn to the right. I was stopped dead by a pile of snow that was chest deep. From there, we headed to the summit. We dropped into a tight, steep tree run and found it untracked. We could go as fast as we wanted because the snow was waist-deep at places and you could simply turn into a drift somewhere and it would lower your speed.

Encouraged by the conditions, I suggested a remote run that's not on any trail map. We had to leave the ski area via the Long Trail to get to this run. We weren't the first people there, but not many people had been there before us. That line starts with a few very tight turns and then starts to widen out. I fell once but my fall simply caused a mini-avalanche and the sliding snow essentially stood me up again and I simply started turning again.

After that run, we headed to a part of the mountain that receives no snowmaking and no grooming. From there, we skied two very difficult tree lines and they were amazing. A quick lunch break, and we took two chair rides to access an out-of-bounds bowl where we'd meander through trees for a long way. The snow was a bit wind-packed, but it was still fun. From there, we had to catch a bus back to the resort.

Then, one chair ride, one short tree run, and another chair ride to the summit. We dropped into a tree line at 3:30 and found it mostly untracked. By this point in time, I was really beat. My skiing was getting a bit sloppy, and I was afraid of getting hurt. At one point, I was simply too tired to make a turn that I needed to make so I wouldn't hit a tree. I simply flopped over into the snow to stop the impending collision.

We did one more easy and short tree run, repeating the line I'd hit untracked hours before. I was ready to call it a day, but my friends were heading back up. They agreed to ski on a trail, so I went along. We skied a double-black bump run that was just in amazing shape. I've never seen that trail ski so easily.

From there, a quick change of clothes and we met in the pub to swap stories about an epic day. All told, I only took 12 chair rides all day and I skied about 20,000 vertical feet. Only two of the runs were on actual trails though and the easiest thing we skied was a warm-up on a single black diamond and our cooldown on a double-black.

I almost used all caps to write this post, so I could try to convey how amazing the day was. Imagine your favorite athletic activity, no matter what it is. Now, imagine the most perfect example of that activity that you can. Imagine having good friends there to share your day.

That was my day yesterday.


Fat Charlie the Archangel said...

Winter of (I think) 2004-2005, I took off the two weeks of Xmas/New Years, since the wife always took that time off.

It snowed.

Every day was a powder day, the kind that I've only learned to associate with Utah, and I was skiing at the Canyons, where I could find fresh powder All. Day. Long.

Ride the chair up, ski down bouncing through bottomless cold smoke, smiling like an idiot -- and the tingles last all the way back up the mountain during the next chair ride.

And do it again.


Yeah, I know what you mean : )

Speed Racer said...

Wow. That. Sounds. Amazing.

I'm glad that you got that day in. I bet that's the day you'll be thinking about all summer and wishing it was winter again just so you can relive that day.

I didn't understand all the ski terminology, but the message came through loud and clear.