But has the weather cooperated? Nooo.......!
|Mt. Bachelor in the fog|
Oregon has had one of the driest Decembers on record. Although many folks don't miss the rain, it spells bad news for those of us who love to ski. At Thanksgiving, Mt Hood Meadows, my local ski resort had a 24" base. Almost a month later, nothing much has changed. People are still sliding on that same 24 inches of snow.
|Sunny skies and frosty trees|
However, that doesn't mean I didn't go check things out for myself. The first Friday in December had me battling frigid temperatures (it was a whopping 4 degrees!) at Meadows. Although the grooming crew did a great job with what little snow they had, many slopes were looking sadly barren.
|Fog bank hanging over the mountains|
The following weekend, I packed my car and headed for Central Oregon's Mt. Bachelor, hoping to find better conditions. I left foggy, cold Portland at 5 am, and four hours later, arrived to partially blue skies and frosty slopes. The fog was hanging low and thick at the base. But a short chairlift ride brought me out of the fog bank and into a beautiful sunny day.
|Chair with a view|
Although Bachelor had about a foot more base than Mt. Hood, it still wasn't enough to open the entire mountain. The first day of my trip, only two of the seven main lifts were in operation. As with Meadows, the grooming crew here had also done a great job, taking snow from the parking lot and spreading it on the slopes. Coverage was good on all the runs I skied.
|My new "fat girl" skis|
Of course, I was itching to use my new boards. But with minimal snowpack, I didn't want to risk hitting a rock or tree stump and scratching the bases on their maiden voyage. I started out with my old beat up skis, but upon discovering the runs were well covered, switched to my fancy new, wide, (115 cm under foot) Solomon Rockette skis. (aka "the fat girls")
|By afternoon, the fog was lifting|
Although it was fun to use my new toys, I found these wide girls are best used for powder days, and not groomed runs. Trying to turn these babies on hardpack snow quickly wore my quads out (time to hit the gym harder!)
|And the mountains played "peek-a-boo"|
One of the great things about skiing at Mt. Bachelor is the wonderful mountain views from its slopes. On the first day, the Three Sisters and Broken Top Mountain were shy, and stayed hidden behind the fog. But by mid-afternoon, their tops could be seen peeping out from the clouds. A nice way to end day one.
|Day two began with this interesting cloud|
Day two I teamed up with my friend Kim (who'd driven out separately with her sister) and my brother Dale, who lives in nearby Bend. That morning as we headed towards the mountain, I noticed two things. One - the sky was clear and blue, and two - temperatures were way above freezing.
|Kim and Dale take in the views|
Kim, who suffers from terminally cold feet when she skis, was hoping to try out her new boot heaters. Well, she didn't need them today! We were all sweating after the first couple of runs.
|Dale has a snow blob on his helmet|
Dale had a minor wipeout, and a small chunk of snow stuck to his helmet. I told him he looked like a dinosaur. So when I took this photo, he had to play the part!
|Lift line under the cone|
I ran into Kathy and Dean, two of my skiing friends, who happened to also be at Bachelor that same weekend. All five of us decided to take a run together. We'd barely traveled a quarter of the way down the slope, when Dean hit a hidden snow ridge, caught air and came down hard. When he didn't get up, Kim went to fetch the ski patrol, while Dale and I hiked up to give him aid.
|This scenery can't be beat!|
After a sled ride down to the medical center, the prognosis was a possible ACL tear in Dean's knee. Not what anyone wants to hear! Dean was majorly bummed, of course, and so was I. He's one of my favorite ski buddies. I'll miss ripping up the slopes with him this year.
|The Three Sisters|
After helping Kathy get things settled, I met back up with Kim and Dale to continue our skiing. But it was hard at first. I kept thinking about how how quickly an innocent crash had led to a season-ending injury. It made me dial back my skiing a bit.
|Blue skies and mountains|
Despite the bad news of my friend's injury, I still had a fun weekend. Although the mountains here need much more snow, it still felt good to be back on skis again. And a trip to Central Oregon is always wonderful, especially in the winter.
|Kim and I strike a pose|
But a bad cold the week of Christmas, and the lack of snow have kept me away from the mountains ever since. I'm double-crossing my fingers and toes, praying for snow, and making sacrifices to Ullr, the snow god (alcoholic sacrifices, hee-hee!) And if that doesn't work, I'll resort to doing snow dances.
This girl wants to ski powder. Please bring us some snow! Please, please, pllleeeaaaseeeee!!!!!!