So this post is a month old - it's from a bluebird day in mid-April, when my best ski buddy Kim and I headed to Mt. Hood Meadows for our last day of the 2014-15 ski season.
It's been a tough winter for those of us who love sliding on snow. Aside from some huge storms in late December, Mother Nature's been mighty stingy with the white stuff. Many ski areas around the PNW were forced to close early, while some didn't open at all.
|Mt Hood encircled with clouds|
Lucky for me, Mt. Hood Meadows, the resort where I always buy my season pass, stayed open until mid-April. Although the lower runs were nearly bare by then, it's upper reaches still had adequate cover.
|Kim strikes a skiers pose|
Sunny skies greeted Kim and I as we pulled into the parking lot that morning. Jazzed by the nice weather, we clicked into our skis and headed up the lift.
|Ridin' up the Cascade Lift|
Looking for the best conditions, we headed straight for the Cascade chair, which quickly zipped us to Meadows' highest runs.
Warm temps had already softened the snow. It was a dream to ski through. We did a lap downhill and eagerly rode back up for more.
|Ski buddy photo op|
My foot finally healed from bunion surgery, it was wonderful to race down the slopes again. From those first tentative turns on MLK Day, I smiled thinking how far I'd come.
|Above the cloud layer|
The ski area's very top, gave us a bird's-eye view of the world below. A world that was shrouded by heavy clouds. Made for some awesomely dramatic photo ops.
And of course I had my GoPro. One last chance to capture those magical skiing moments!
Heading down the Cascade main run, I was filming away, when I noticed a huge puff of snow off to my left. For a split second I wondered what it was, and then shrugged and kept going. When I reached the bottom, Kim caught up to me and said "Did you see the snowboarder that almost took you out? Hope you got it on tape!" She'd been skiing behind me and witnessed the entire thing. Reviewing the footage later that night, sure enough, you can see a snowboarder heading straight for me, and wiping out at the last moment to avoid a collision. Whew!
You can check out my near-miss in the above clip. (It's about 56 seconds into the video)
|Kim admires her tracks|
Saved from an accident, Kim and I continued to make laps off the Cascade. With only a couple lifts running, and the best snow up high, everyone was crammed into the half dozen open runs. Which quickly became crowded.
|Top of the Cascade|
So we took a run down Outer Limits, a trail providing lovely views of the nearby mountains.
Mt. Jefferson obliged by poking it's top above the thick cloud bank.
|Mt. Jefferson rises above the clouds|
We passed by some areas where the snow had melted all the way down to it's rocky soil. A sad sight.....in a normal year, this area would still be under several feet of snow.
|The snow was mighty skimpy in some places|
Around late morning, Kim and I took a quick bathroom and coffee break. Imagine our surprise when half an hour later, we emerged from the lodge into a totally different world. Thick flog cloaked the slopes, reducing visibility to nil.
|Find the skiers|
Not wanting to quit yet, Kim and I were determined to make a go of it anyway. Heading back up the Cascade Lift transported us into a world of white. We could barely see a foot in front of us, let alone any of the other skiers. "Skiing by Braille" was not our idea of fun. We both decided it was time to throw in the towel. Besides, burgers and beer in nearby Hood River were calling our names.
|A perfect last day!|
Thus ends another ski season.....Although short, with trying conditions, I'm glad I was at least able to log a few days on snow this year.
I posted this great chairlift shot of Kim and I on my Instagram account. It perfectly captures the joy we felt on this glorious final day of the 2015 season.
Happiness is ...... a sunny spring day on the slopes with your best ski buddy.