Monday, December 10, 2007
I officially kicked off my first ski weekend of the winter this past weekend and am paying for it dearly this morning. The knees are tender, the body fatigued but my grin factor all weekend was HUGE!
Friday night was Ryan's office Christmas party and quite different than years past. He works for a home builder in Bothell and due to the real estate market fluctuation, they let go 40% of the office staff as a precaution. They also reduced their party budget significantly - in years past they've included a huge assortment of Costco party gifts people could bid on using fake money. (Items like personal computers, Ipods, a week vacation in Alaska, etc.) This year everyone was asked to bring something under $25 and people would still bid on them. Booze went for a whopping $1200 - pretty funny. We re-gifted some wine - shame on us! But some lucky $1200 bider had some nice red zin.
Saturday morning was an early start - up and at em by 4 am - on the road by 4:30. Orion and Sonya picked us up - and we headed north to Baker area to do some backcountry skiing. We arrived to the parking lot just as the sun came up - making for some awesome lighting.
Our route was to head up to Table Mountain area, assess everyone's ability and desires for the day and then make a call of where to go from there. The avalanche danger was pretty low - and the sky was cloudless - a perfect day for being outside and skinning around. We met up with Brent, Emily and Dave and headed out the ridge. Emily just got a new split board and had a difficult time with skinning - we traveled over a technical section and she took a fall into some trees and had a hard time getting out. Ultimately she and Brent decided to do some yo yo's on a guaranteed powder section while the 5 of us did a one day classic tour around Table Mountain.
The visibility was amazing - you could see Shuskan in full effect with its two hanging glaciers, Glacier Point, Mt Rainer and of course Mt Baker. It was absolutely stunning.
Luckily Dave was familiar with the area and guided us through the ridges and gullies. There was quite a bit of avalanche activity from the previous storm during the week - but when we dug a snow pit and did some analysis, we were confident we were safe. Talk about amazing powder turns and getting those first tele turns of the season! It was fantastic.
It was a long day though - at one point we boot packed to the top of a run and I remember wondering to myself, why am I here? But the next few powder turns quickly turned that frown upside down. :)
Our skin skirted around a lake - some brave soul had skinned across the lake before - but we were unwilling to risk a chilly dip in some ice cold waters. Instead we went around - and skinned for probably an hour and 15 minutes before finally arriving at the top of the saddle and shedding our skins for the last time. Talk about sloppy skiing down to the bottom - my legs were D-U-N.
The best part about skiing all day - is the sharing a good laugh over the days blunders while drinking beers at North Fork Beer Shrine on the way home. If you ever find yourself skiing at Baker and need some food - it's on the 522 just past the Sumas Y and has great pizza and beer.
The next morning came a little too early for the ski clinic I signed up for - so I decided to make the afternoon session and take my neighbor Jo. We had a great time learning some efficient V-1 techniques - thanks to an excellent instructor Eli. I was pretty tuckered out last night when I got home and the legs are definitely feeling it this morning!
The hiatus is over though - and this week it's back to the bike - I guess. :)