Strange days indeed … And as they say any one you walk away from is OK.
First off the overnight storm was a fizzer – only 10 cm since close of lifts yesterday. Blowing a gale and raining in Driggs, everything other than the beginner lift is on wind hold and the road to Jackson is closed. Spent the morning in the motel room listening to the walls shake and checking updates on the web. About 11am the wind dropped to nothing, the sun came out and a bit later the dodgy internet connection gave up all together. So decided to head up anyway.
Sacajawea had just started running before I got there and they were cranking Dreamcatcher up but it would be a while so headed to Sac. Biggest queues of the trip but still no worse than a 5 minute wait. Snow was quite strange – many areas that were soft bumps yesterday were windpacked and relatively flat. Medicine Bowl still enjoyable though not as good as previous days, and at least with the new denser snow things were filling in a bit. Did 3 runs then headed back to base for a late lunch in the hope that Dreamcatcher would be up and running by then. Had gotten to watch patrollers throwing charges to check the snowpack as they did their normal 7 am duties at 2 in the afternoon.
Almost on queue as I finished the post lunch coffee Dreamcatcher finally started carrying paying customers – just 6 hours late – which would have been a great relief to those who had been queueing for this lift for an hour or more – even when there was another lift running. Headed way out to Steamvent or thereabouts so I could get an untracked run. Quite firm and windpacked – almost like it had been groomed with a VERY light machine – and you had to ski it carefully but it was fun nevertheless.
Thought I’d do a pretty straightforward second run so I could get down in time to do a third run before lift closure but ended up doing a relatively challenging run in and out of the trees near South Street. All good until almost to the bottom when I took a tumble. Wasn’t all that close to the tree when I stated to tun but was almost too close to it for comfort where I fell and any attempts to get up out of the hole would move me downhill toward the tree which looked like it could be holding a pretty sizable well. Got a little panicked – although I was right way up I had one ski and one pole under me and did NOT want to get any closer to that tree. Slowly worked the skis around until I could get myself upright. Had left the pole buried as I got myself out and do you think I could find it? The official depth may be about a metre but there was WAY more than that here. I knew EXACTLY where I had been lying and the pole had been underneath me but it was not to be found.
So feeling very shaky and suddenly realizing how much I like skiing with 2 poles managed the minimum number of shonky turns required to get myself down to groomed territory and a run back to base. Fair to say that I was actually happy that the chair had shut by the time I got there. Retired to the Trap Bar and had a calming Hefe before the drive back down the hill – complete with a stop at a gear shop for new poles. At least next time I lose one I’ll still have a pair