Friday, January 02, 2009

Stevens Pass Days 3, 4, 5a, 5b

On day three at Stevens, this past Monday, Dtran joined me for the first day of the backside being open. He borrowed my board and stayed on the front side while I ripped up the backside on my skis. As I was riding the lift back up one of the women on the lift said today was a "Once a Year" day. It was, because I've never seen the backside of Stevens without moguls. It was an entire mountain with untouched powder. For every other day of the year the turns we made today will form into moguls.

Easily a top 5 ski day of my life, my legs were burning after the first run on the backside. DTran and I met up at noon for lunch, and decided to leave early from Stevens due to us both being exhausted and the winds picking up. I later heard Stevens closed a few hours later due to those high winds.

I took Tuesday off, because I was still nice and sore from Monday's powder skiing.

Wednesday, Day 4, I drove back up to the mountain solo, but a friend was up skiing and staying at a cabin up near the mountain for New Year's Eve. I made it up to the mountain about 15 minutes after it opened, and to my dismay only two lifts were operating due to the still incredibly strong winds. I made one run on Hogsback, then did not want to wait in line for an hour, so I hopped into the lodge and eventually chilled in the car waiting for the wind to die down. Oh yeah, Wednesday also marked the first day I drove the Saab instead of the all-wheel drive Pilot. I picked up chains at Les Schwab on the way up to Stevens and they got me in and out, with a demonstration of the quick-fit chains, in under 10 minutes--I like Les Schwab.

I didn't have to put on the chains, as the Saab handled the snow great. After waiting a half-hour and the wind still gusting over 30mph, I decided to drive back down to Seattle. I hesitate to count the one run as a day of skiing, but at least I got one run in...

Thursday, New Years Day, was day 5a. I went to bed early on New Years Eve--I was asleep by 10:30pm. I woke up early and was out of the house by 7:15am in preparation for an amazing day of skiing. The pass got over a foot of snow, and I just knew the backside would be amazing--because nobody got to touch the snow yesterday due to the high winds. From my house to a highway about 2 miles away I saw exactly 3 moving cars, one a garbage truck. 7am on New Years Day apparently isn't the most congested hour for traffic.

I get about 15 miles from Stevens and the traffic starts to slow down, and I see a few cars coming towards Seattle with skis on their racks. I rationalized that people had stayed up at the mountain for New Years Eve and were coming home. Then more traffic and more cars coming the other direction. The traffic halts to a crawl, still 10 miles from the resort, so I call my folks and see if they can find out what is up. The AM radio does not work in the Pilot for some reason, but luckily my parents were able to check the Stevens website and find the pass closed until noon for avalanche control on Highway 2. Bummer.

But! This time I was prepared to wait out the wind/avalanche control! I brought a book and my laptop with me, and I eventually got to a point in the line of traffic where people were turning off their cars to wait out the avalanche control. I turned off the Pilot and started reading a book my sister got me for Xmas: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. What an amazing book and lecture. I just found the entire lecture on YouTube. The entire lecture is over an hour, and here it is:

If you were a college professor, with months left to live, what would you do? (Waffles, you can keep your answer to yourself)

So I'm sitting in the car deep into Randy Pausch's book when I see the lights of a service truck approach slowly and a guy yell "Not until 9am tomorrow!" as he drives by. Son of a bitch! I drive back home. That's two days, 10 hours of driving, $50 in gas, and one lousy ski run. I was pissed.

Day 5b turned out to be much better. G-Funk, who was planning on coming with me Thursday, goaded me into going up today, Friday. G-Funk is aptly named because of the band G-Funk and the Special Sauce. He got a co-worker pregnant with twins in his early twenties. It turns out the co-worker thought she was unable to have kids, after trying with her ex-husband and having tests done. Up steps G-Funk and BAM! Twins! Anyway, G-Funk sent me an email with his address and phone number to call on Thursday morning when I left my house. I called him and got no answer, so I drove up alone (and with my results, I'd bet he is glad he didn't tag along). We chat Thursday night online and it turns out he mistyped his phone number by one digit. We do make it up to Stevens on Friday, after waiting to see that the Pass is actually open, and we arrive just before noon.

G-Funk and I board together for a couple runs, then I decide to take off for the backside again. G was still trying to get the hang of carving, and I had an urge to test the powder out. I am not very good in the powder. I had a picture-perfect face-plant on a little tree stash I found, and thought I had to myself. I start going down this relatively steep and narrow chute when I see a boarder sprawled out across the chute at the bottom, not making any effort to move. The brief moment of assessing the boarder is enough for me to catch an edge and face plant all the way down the chute. When I stop sliding, face-first down the chute, my entire being is filled with snow, and my ski goggles are around my mouth.

I'm going to take a day of rest tomorrow, then hopefully get back up to the mountain for Day 6 on Sunday w/friends!

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