Sunday, March 13, 2011

Solo Ski

The first week of March a bunch of big storms rolled through the Cascades, dumping snow as they passed.  The Mt. Hood ski resorts were reporting snowfall by the foot.  And I was stuck at work all week!  I tortured myself  by checking the Meadows website several times each day.  I decided I would for sure go to the mountain on Sunday, and recruited my friend Kim to join me.

Finally free to ski!

Saturday night Kim had to cancel.  She'd hurt her knee a couple of weeks ago, and it still wasn't ready for skiing yet.  That meant if I wanted to ski on Sunday I'd have to drive up alone and ski solo.  I've done this before, and I'm OK with it (but it is more fun to have a companion).  So I got my gear ready Saturday night, in preparation for a Sunday ski.

Mt. Jefferson peeks through the cloud layer

When my alarm rang at o'dark-hundred Sunday morning, I was sorely tempted to sleep in and skip skiing.  I'd done a really long marathon training run the day before and was tired.  Besides, without a partner to go with, I wouldn't be standing up anybody.  But then a little voice said to me:  "There's a ton of new snow on the mountain.  You've been complaining all week about not being able to ski it.  Get your butt out of bed and GO!" 

Fresh corduroy ready for the tracking

So I got out of bed, into my car, and headed up to Hood.  Although the weather was cloudy and damp in Portland, by the time I'd reached Government Camp, the skies were a clear sunny blue.  Wow!  I was not expecting such good weather.  Now I was really happy I didn't stay in bed!

Hood shows its beautiful self

Meadows was its usual weekend state of busy.  But I hit the Daisy lift (no line!) and skied over to the Cascade Lift and got on right away.  I did many laps down the runs of Cascade, enjoying the sunshine and views.  I discovered one of the fun things about skiing solo - using the singles line.  I got through the lift line quicker, and was paired up with lots of fun, interesting people.  I love chairlift conversations.  Most people are really happy and wax enthusiastically about being out skiing (or riding).  I sometimes get good tips on snow conditions, and where to ski.  And I'm surprised by who will talk to you.  It's not always who you'd expect.  I've had some of the best conversations with young, early-20-something, male snowboarders.

The cat track to Outer Limits

I had an excellent day, took a few good photos, talked to some nice people, and got in many wonderful powder-snow turns.  I ended up skiing way longer than I'd anticipated, finally making it back to my car at 3:30.  After loading up, and having a quick snack, it was time to hit the road.  Another great thing about solo skiing - picking your own music for the ride home!  I plugged in my ipod and rocked out all the way down the mountain.

So glad I decided not to sleep in!  I would've missed a great day.  The moral of the story:  Never pass up an opportunity to ski, even if it means getting up early. 


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