Search and Rescue. Mostly.

In the middle of the week, there aren’t as many people skiing.

As a result, there aren’t as many people getting hurt. Not to say that there isn’t as much to do – there’s plenty to do. There are tower pads to raise and/or dig out from the new snowfall, and/or to replace because a groomer has nicked one with his tiller. There are bamboo poles marking hazards to retrieve or place and/or replace because a groomer has nicked one with his tiller. There is training to do, sleds to pack, brush to cut back out of the trails. There are ropes to coil because snowfall opens a trail or to string because snowmelt dictates we close it, and/or ropes to replace because a groomer has nicked them with his tiller.*

And, of course, there is always the deck of the summit restaurant to shovel, because…well, I’m still not sure why that’s our job.

Every once in a while, however, something serious happens. Someone hits a feature in the terrain park, under-rotates and lands on their head. A skier goes off-trail and hits a tree, spitting blood from a lung. Skiers collide. A guy has a heart attack. A dude has one (or four) too many at the summit bar and tries to ski down. Every once in a while, someone gets lost. Continue reading

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All the snows. We skied all the snows.

And it has been fan-fucking-tastic.

The hill has been 100% open for about eight weeks. And if you count all the available tree-skiing, it’s been even more open than that, which isn’t even technically possible. It has been that kind of a winter, but then no one here really knows what that means because it hasn’t been that kind of a winter here for so long.

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And it just kept coming. Click any image for a larger view.

 

Out in Tahoe, they’re dealing with a New England winter. In New England, we’re finally getting what the old paw-paws remember from their childhoods.

Three weeks ago I sat down to write an update, but it’s just kept coming. Between the other stuff, class, work, schelping back and forth to CT every week…I’m kinda behind.   Catch you up: Continue reading

That’s why we get the big bucks

Carl heads off to the most important work a patroller on our hill can do...

Carl heads off to the most important work a patroller on our hill can do…

I don’t have pictures of a lot of the truly exciting or fascinating things about Patrol. Sometimes, that’s because I was caught up in doing it and there was no time for a camera. Sometimes, it’s because I didn’t have the cameraphone on me, or it was too cold for the cameraphone to work, or it was too damn cold to even think about taking off a glove and unzipping to get the cameraphone out in the first place. Continue reading

Images of the Early Season

Mid-week, my usual shifts, are quiet. There’s always something to do — dig tower pads, raise ropes, drop ropes, shovel the roof of the summit pub (for some reason). Occasionally we have an injured skier, sometimes we train.

Certified on the snowmachine. One more skill to offer -- unfortunately it's been one more skill employed. I love the day-end sweep on skis; I love it less on the 'doo.

Certified on the snowmachine. One more skill to offer — unfortunately it’s been one more skill employed. I love the day-end sweep on skis; I love it less on the ‘doo.

Early, icy morning at the top.

Early, icy morning at the top.

At work in the gloaming of a December rain.

At work in the gloaming of a December rain.

More to come.

This is not that place,

but it will do for now.

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Snow-fan clouds and contrails; early morning and out the door.

In the dream, I am lost.

It is dark and the wind is blowing. It is hard to tell if the snow on the wind is falling from the sky or being pushed up into it from the ground. As the sun set beyond the canyon’s mouth, as the lights of the city in the distance picked up the inversion layer below, the wind had begun to blow. In the dark now, I can’t see anything but snow and, dimly, trees. Continue reading