Saturday, December 25, 2010

Two Great Ski Days

Storms hit Mt. Hood Monday through Wednesday and dumped a ton of snow.  Then the forecast called for Thursday and Friday to be clear, sunny days.  Denise was home from school, and Cody was due back on Friday.  New snow, good weather and people to ski with .... it was a sign.   I took both days off and headed for the mountain!

Mt. Hood view from Timberline parking lot
And what a good decision I made!  Thursday, Denise and I headed for Timberline Lodge.  We arrived to beautiful blue skies and a killer view of Mt. Hood from the parking lot.  It looked to be a very nice day.

Mt. Jefferson view from Timberline day lodge
I usually don't ski much at Timberline. It's a smaller ski area than Mt. Hood Meadows and not very challenging for me. When I do go to Timberline, I bring my tele skis.  But Denise likes to snowboard there, and I had a two-for-one lift ticket coupon.  Timberline does have a very nice day lodge (much nicer than Meadows) that serves great burgers.

Timberline Lodge and Mt. Hood
Denise brought one of her friends, so I left them to snowboard together and headed for the slopes.  I planned to meet my friends John and Randy (retired former co-workers) later in the morning.  But for now there were lots of nicely groomed corduroy runs ready for exploration. 

Wonderful white scene from the lift
I headed for the Jeff Flood lift, which is the newest high speed quad at Timberline.  I really hadn't skied much in this area, so decided today would be a good day to check it out.  Riding up the lift, I was treated to a beautiful view of the mountain, snow-flocked trees, and a bright blue sky.  Wow!

Nature's Christmas decoration
Up at the top of the lift, it was cold and a little windy.  But the views were wonderful!  The snow-covered trees looked as good as any flocked tree you could buy from a Christmas tree lot.  The sun lit the snow up and it sparkled.  Mother Nature does a pretty good job of decorating for Christmas.

John makin' a tele-turn
About mid-morning, I met up with John and Randy.  John showed me his new bright-red tele skis.  Randy had a new bright red helmet.  Both guys also had red jackets.  It wasn't going to be hard to find my companions on the slopes!

Randy flies down the hill
It was good to catch up with the guys.  I don't think I've skied with either John or Randy for at least two years.  We made lots of laps down the runs under the Jeff Flood lift.

Chairlift photo op
John likes to take photos as much as I do.  He had his camera out a lot.  And of course, when his camera came out, so did mine. It was such a beautiful day, we couldn't help it!

The men in red
I was having so much fun, lunchtime came before I knew it.  I told Denise I'd meet her in the lodge for lunch at 11:30.  At 11:15, I decided to do "just one more run."  That run took longer than anticipated, and I was a little late meeting up for lunch.  Ooops.  It is not good to keep a hungry daughter waiting!

Bottom of the Palmer Lift
After lunch, I tried to meet up again with John and Randy.  I couldn't reach either of them on their cell phones and skied a couple of the runs we'd done this morning, but no luck.  The Magic Mile lift was open, so I finally gave up and decided to check out the Mile.  Oh, it was a windy, cold ride to the top!  The views were great as always, but it was too frigid to linger.  I snapped a couple of photos and headed back down.

An ice-coated Palmer lift stretches up the mountain
I spent the rest of the afternoon revisiting my favorite runs.  My legs were getting tired, so the stops became more frequent.  I finally met up with Denise and her friend.  After checking out the gift shop, and finding Denise a new helmet, it was time to head home.  What an incredible day!  Good timing to play hooky from work.  I was already looking forward to tomorrow.

Cody at Mt. Hood Meadows
The next day it was Cody's turn to join me.  We headed for Mt. Hood Meadows.  Again, it was another clear, sunny day.  Mt. Hood looked like a giant mound of whipped cream with all the new snow.  We got more good views of the mountain from Meadows' parking lot.

Another beautiful day at Mt. Hood Meadows
Our companion on the first lift ride was more than happy to give us a snow conditions report.  He said that the Cascade lift and Heather Canyon had just opened today.  Apparently they'd been closed since the last storm.  There was lots of untracked fresh powder ready for the taking.  He recommended Silver Bowl into Heather Canyon as the best place for pow.

Good day sunshine
After a couple of warm-up runs, Cody and I decided to try Silver Bowl.  We rode the Cascade lift to the top of the ski area, and soaked in the views.  Then we traversed towards Heather Canyon.

Looking into Heather Canyon
By the time we arrived at the top of Silver Bowl, it was getting really tracked out.  Fresh pow doesn't last long!  Cody and I saw another slope a little ways away that was not quite as cut up.  We side hilled over to check it out.

Silver Bowl
There was enough untracked places on this slope to make a good run, so Cody and I headed down.  What wonderful snow!  It was knee-deep and fluffy.  The snow flew up above my shoulders as I made my turns.  However, this was my first deep powder skiing of the season, and I found out I'm a little rusty.  I wiped out a couple of times.  Luckily, the soft snow broke my falls, and no damage was done (except to my pride!).

Makin' turns down Apollo Run
After our awesome run down Silver Bowl, Cody and I decided to check out the snow under Shooting Star lift.  It was great!  Apollo Run was our favorite, and we made lots of laps.

Thumbs up for the day!
The weather was even better than the day before.  It was not as cold and windy, but cold enough to keep the snow powdery.  Almost perfect!  (We just needed a foot of fresh powder and then I'd give it a "10").

Still goin' strong on day two!

After tele skiing the day before, I gave my legs a break and used my new alpine skis.  After a day of tele, alpine skiing seemed so easy!  I was having lots of fun flying down the hill, bumping over moguls and carving through hidden powder stashes.

Hunched-over icy trees
Just like at Timberline, there were white snow and ice crusted trees.  Very cool to see.  I tried to capture their beauty as best I could.

Cody takes a breather
Cody and I spent most of the afternoon on Shooting Star's trails.  We liked the snow, and the terrain was the best.  After skiing all day yesterday, I held out better than expected.  My legs lasted until 3:00.  Then I took Cody over to the Stadium race course for one last run to the lodge.

King of the world!
I can't believe I lucked out with two sunny ski days in a row.  I had an absolute blast both days.  A good use of vacation and a great way to spend time with my kids.

When the sun is out, and the snow is fresh, there's no better place to be than Mt. Hood.

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