Friday, March 4, 2011


Last Thursday the local weather-guessers forecasted a couple inches of snow would hit the Portland area.  Since snow in the Willamette River Valley doesn't happen that often, the metro area was all a-twitter over the impending "snowstorm".  You would have thought the world was coming to an end.  For two days the local news stations devoted most of their airtime to the upcoming "snowpocalypse."  Being from South Dakota, where they get real blizzards, I was amused by all the hysteria over an inch or two of snow.

Mt. Hood gets a fresh coating of snow

My concern - Thursday is ski bus day!  If the roads are bad in Portland due to snow, the bus doesn't go up. (Ironic isn't it? A ski bus cancelled by snow!)  And in Portland, it only takes a half inch of snow to cause major gridlock.  Because snow falls so seldom, the metro area is not prepared with enough snow-removal equipment to clear the roads quickly.  And most people in Portland do not know how to drive in snow and ice. 

Time to ski the bowls!

I woke up Thursday morning to a heavy dusting of snow on the ground.  The morning news announced school cancellations for most of the local districts.  This wasn't looking good for my bus.  However, checking the web showed no indications the ski bus was cancelled.  So I grabbed my gear, and headed over to the bus stop.

Our driver Howard and the bus were there.  When I asked Howard if they'd cancel for snow, he laughed and said "no way!"  Yahoo!  I was going skiing!  I called the Meadows snow phone and was told the conditions were "epic."  They were reporting 15 inches of fresh fluffy powder.  The snowpocalypse had hit Mt. Hood.

Blue sky and white trees

By the time we arrived at the mountain, the parking lot was nearly full.  There was a huge lift line at Mt. Hood Express.  With the large crowds, it looked more like a weekend day than mid-week.  There were a lot of young kids up skiing.  Hmmmm.........  Too snowy to go to school, but not so bad they couldn't go skiing!

Still lots of fresh pow on Five Bowl

I met up with Glen again.  We were both giddy at the sight of all that new snow.  After buddying up with two gals from my ski bus, we headed over to the Hood River Meadows Lift (aka "HRM") to find some pow.  Riding the chair back up after our first run down HRM, I gazed longingly at the untracked snow under the chair.  I told Glen we needed to ski it.  Glen teasingly called me a show-off for wanting to ski under the chair, but he was game.

Up at the top, I eagerly took off ahead of the group.  I was havin' a great time, bombing through the snow, when suddenly one of my skis got mired down in the deep stuff.  I crashed hard, the back of my head making contact with the ground and pushing my goggles up.  I groggily got up, and brushed myself off just as my companions came sliding by.  I joked about hitting another snow snake, but put myself back together and continued my run.

Glen is almost knee-deep in powder

I quickly forgot about my crash, and didn't think another thing about it until we went in for lunch.  Inside the lodge, I took off my goggles.  My glasses underneath didn't feel like they were sitting quite right.  As I pulled my glasses off of my face, they came apart in my hands.  They'd broken in two right in the middle of the bridge!  My fall must've stressed them enough to break. what?  There is no way I can ski without my glasses!  (I'm as blind as a bat)  Luckily, I have two pairs of glasses and wear my old pair when I'm skiing.   My new pair was with me that day.  However it was on the ski bus, which Howard keeps locked up until 3:00.  Unless I could find Howard and convince him to open the bus, I didn't have access to them.  I ate lunch, and pondered my options.

White flocked trees lining Three Bowl

Then I got an idea.  My glasses normally fit snugly under my goggles.  Maybe the goggles would be tight enough to hold them in place.  I placed each half of my broken specs on my nose, put on my helmet, and pulled my goggles over top.  They stayed in place just fine, and I could still see through the lenses.  All right!  Time to head back to the slopes.

Glen and I had a most excellent afternoon.  The sun came out and the scenery was spectacular.  We hit each of the five bowls off of MH Express, and then went back and took second runs on our favorites.  There were still small powder pillows here and there, and the snow, although tracked out by now, was still soft and fluffy.  I was having so much fun I forgot all about my broken glasses.

Hood peeps out from the clouds

But 3:30 comes way too soon on a powder day, and Glen and I had buses to catch.  Howard had the bus parked up front, and I gratefully got my bag and switched glasses.  After a quick beer at the bar, I was ready for the ride home.

The roads cleared quickly as our bus traveled down the mountain.  By the time we got into Portland, there was no sign of this morning's snowfall.  Roger later told me all of the white stuff had melted by 11 am.  The crisis was over.  So much for the snowpocalypse!


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