Last weekend, the weather guessers predicted clear skies and warm temps. Can you say bluebird day? Time to head for the mountain and partake in some spring skiing.
|We found this little snowman on a terrain park feature|
My friend Dean was game. As per usual, our drive to Hood was fraught with rain and low clouds, causing us to doubt the weatherman. But once we hit the east side of the mountain, it was all blue sky, all the time.
|Dean models his new (very bright!) jacket|
Dean employed his spring skiing strategy. Start at the lowest runs, where the snow will be soft first. When those slopes turn to mush, head for higher ground. Keep following the slopes higher, with the goal to catch optimum snow conditions in each elevation zone. We were going to hit the Stadium run first, but by the time we got to the top, Ski Patrol had already roped it off for races. This forced us down through the terrain park instead.
|Hmm.....Guess it's a snowWOMAN!|
I usually avoid the terrain parks (too many snowboarders and young males jumping out everywhere). But at that early hour, we had the place to ourselves. The newly-groomed snow was like velvet! We had such a great run, we came back and did it again.
Dean spotted this little snowman sitting on top of a jump. Upon closer inspection, it was realized we'd gotten its gender wrong.
|Dean doing the ski dance|
We moved up to the runs off the Shooting Star lift. And had some most excellent turns in the sun-softened snow.
|A moon for Moon Bowl|
Dean looked longingly into Heather Canyon. Although the snow was pretty chewed up, things appeared to be skiable. We decided to try Moon Bowl. I told Dean it would be a great photo to get someone mooning the Moon Bowl sign. But Dean wasn't game (can't imagine why!) so this was the closest to a moon I could get.
|Dean on the top of Heather Canyon|
Moon Bowl had the most wonderful snow! And no one was skiing here. Dean and I had such a great run, we headed back up the lift and did it again. By the second time around, the word was out, and this run we had plenty of company (we're such trendsetters!).
|Looking up Heather Canyon towards Hood|
Dean got himself a new jacket in a fluorescent yellow color. Now he stands out like a sore thumb on the slopes. Which is kind of nice - I'll never lose him again! (But I may need to wear my sunglasses skiing with him on these bluebird days!)
|There goes Dean down Moon Bowl|
After lunch, we headed up to the very top lift to check out the snow conditions. We timed it pretty good, as the snow up here was the perfect carving softness.
There's still so much snow up here that they actually dug a trench in one area under the lift to provide skiers enough clearance to get underneath.
|Gray, dust-coated snowbanks line the parking lot|
And the surplus of snow is very apparent in the main parking lot. The entire area is ringed by a dirty wall of snow. Yep - that large gray ridge you see in the above photo is all snow. That's gonna hang around for awhile.
|There's so much snow, they had to dig out the trail under this lift|
By early afternoon, the snow at the bottom of the lift was starting to get sticky. It was time to call it a day. But we'd already gotten a full days worth of runs in (no lift lines!) so I was okay with quitting. Besides, I had a half marathon race to run the next day and wanted to save a little energy for that.
Yeah, you heard me right. I was running a race the following day. I know, not smart! But I love skiing so much, I didn't want to give up a chance to ski on a perfect bluebird day. I knew I'd probably pay for my decision, but reasoned that I wasn't running the race to win it (not by a long shot!).
So......you're probably wondering - how did my race go? Did I totally bonk? Or did I have the run of my life with a huge PR? Well, you'll have to stay tuned for my race report on the next blog post - and find out how I did!