And the only way to do that is to strap on skis, and slog up a slope.
|Poor, bare Mt. Hood|
Although the snowpack thus far has been less than stellar, there comes a time when you can't continue to wait for perfect conditions. You have to get your hiney out there and make the best of it.
|Ready for some uphill travel!|
So despite the crappy, icy snow, last weekend found me at Timberline Ski Area, sticking climbing skins on my skis, and shuffling up the cat track paralleling Magic Mile's groomed ski runs.
|Follow the cat track|
The good news - it was a lovely, sunny, blue sky day. The bad news - the wind was absolutely howling, already blowing strong gusts in the parking lot. That didn't bode well for Mt. Hood's higher elevations, where I was headed.
But it felt good to be on my skis, huffing and puffing up the side of Hood. The exertion of skiing uphill quickly warmed my body. Although extremely barren of her white coat, the mountain still looked fabulous. I enjoyed watching snow-riders zip down the adjacent ski run. And when I tired of this, experimenting with my camera's self timer offered a nice distraction.
|My lovely tele skis|
Clear skies meant great scenic views - of Mt. Hood in all her craggy glory, of historic Timberline Lodge getting farther and farther below, and vistas of foothills and mountains to the south. If you can't have fresh powder, sunny weather is the next best thing.
|Hood is getting closer|
Although starting out gasping for air, I quickly settled into a rhythm and began to enjoy my uphill trip. I was happy to discover my fitness level was better than expected. Guess my three-times-a-week running routine is doing something.
|Timberline Lodge and Mt. Jefferson|
Of course, when there's views like this from behind, how can you not feel great? Despite the wind (which wasn't dying down in the least) I was glad to be outside on my favorite mountain.
|Front view selfie|
To break some of the monotony, I set my camera in the snow, activated the self-timer, slid back downhill, and then shuffled back towards it. The timer was programmed to fire five shots in succession.
After two tries, I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple shots I liked. Such as the one above.
|I cut off my face but captured the mountains|
Or this one. Yeah, my face got cropped out, but the camera did capture a bit of the mountain scenery behind (and my right ski tip).
|Hard working legs|
And this one's fun too. A sunburst shining just above the right knee. And an up-close and personal image of my hard-working legs.
|Snowcat and Silcox Hut|
After fooling around with silly selfies, the wind picked up, and prompted me to get serious about reaching the top of the Magic Mile lift. From Timberline Lodge, it's a climb of 1000 feet. I put the pedal to the metal, and before I knew it, the lift house came into view. But first, I passed by the Silcox Hut, a mid-mountain shelter turned into rustic overnight lodge. Guests are escorted here via one of Timberline's lovely red snowcats.
Although I'd intended to climb all the way to the top of the Palmer Lift, another 1500 feet higher, the screaming wind, and icy slopes convinced me it was time to turn around. Stripping off my climbing skins in the strong gales wasn't fun, but I managed to get everything switched without losing any gear to the wind.
It was a slow, shaky trip to the bottom. The icy snow and rocky slopes kept me constantly on guard. The only decent snow was found on two narrow groomed runs, which were crowded with skiers and boarders. Forget trying to do tele-turns - I switched into survival skiing mode. I just wanted to get myself down unscathed!
|Skiing down on ice|
Although I entertained the thought of one more trip up the Mile, by the time I reached Timberline Lodge, I was done. I had no desire to fight the crowds and icy snow a second time. Despite many photo breaks, I'd climbed 1000 feet in an hour. Not the speediest, but a good start for little ole me.
The winter is still young, and I know there will be more chances for uphill skiing practice. This day's trip was a good start. And, as always, I was glad to be outside on a sunny, winter's day!
Sharing with: Our World Tuesday and the 52 Photos Project.