Saturday, March 29, 2008

Going Big at SkiBowl

For the past few months the Northwest has gotten pounded by snow and I've tried to step up my skiing because of it.  With more snow I've been trying out bigger drops and steeper lines in the backcountry of SkiBowl.  I've also ordered some backcountry ski gear so that I can skin into areas unreachable from the ski resorts to further push my love of the sport.  Here are a few shots and lines I've been hitting at SkiBowl this winter.  The top photo shows the drop I'm hitting in the photo below it ~25-30ft.   Middle photo shows another view of the same drop on the left as well as a steep chute that Hartz and I skied on the right with Emily filming from below.  The bottom photos are other drops around the Ski Bowl resort.  It is by far my favorite mountain and has the best technical terrain I've skied in the Northwest thus far.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Emily visiting! Hooray!

This weekend my beautiful girlfriend Emily came to visit me.  Unfortunately, her flight was late taking off and she missed her connecting flight to Portland so she was forced to stay overnight in Washington D.C. with strangers and didn't get to Portland the next day until 4 in the afternoon thus losing a whole night together.  Stupid airlines.  So, she ended up calling her work and asking for all of Monday off instead so she could regain the lost day with me.  That night we had a great seafood dinner in Portland caught a movie and stayed overnight in a hotel so we could head directly to Hood the next day for some skiing.  
We thought the 
bad luck was over,
 but after a great day of skiing Ski Bowl with Aaron we
 ran into a major snag... All afternoon I had been jumping small ledges with Hartz and on one 20+ drop I took a tumble and rolled down the slope... with my pocket open in my jacket.  My pocket with my car keys in it!  At the end of the day when I went to reach in to m
y pocket all I got was a clump of snow!  Fortunately for Emily and I Hartz wanted to ski again on Sunday and was able to drive us home for my spare keys so it all worked out.  We did
 have a pretty funny incident of picking up Chinese food in Corvallis with our ski boots on though!
Skiing was great and it happened to be the same day as Suds on the Slopes were people were pond skimming.  Emily was here the same exact day the year before when I backflipped into the pond (see previous post last year).  This year we decided to just chill in the sun at the beer garden instead.  It actually worked out that we had to wait until Saturday to ski because the weather was great and about 60 degrees. 
On Sunday when we came back the weather wasn't nearly as nice and after just a few hours skiing with Hartz and Amy at Timberline they took off to head to REI for some shop
ping.  As soon as they left bad luck hit again... I lost Emily on the slopes.  30 minutes later of bombing runs in rainy/snowy/blizzard conditions I finally caught up to her waiting for me at the top of a lift.  I felt terrible 
losing her for that long so we decided to take off back to 
Corvallis.  Thankfully my truck had been left untouched overnight and everything was fine.  
On monday I finally was able to show Emily Silver Falls.  The middle portion of the trail was closed due to a mudslide or something but we were able to hike the first part of the canyon trail, then drive to the other half and see that as well.  Emily was amazed at the waterfalls and how cool it was to walk be
hind them.  Due to the rainy season and recent rainy weather the waterfalls were exceptionally powerful too.  We had a great day of hiking the trails and got a bunch of great photos.  
It was very sad to see her leave early Tuesday morning (she missed that flight too but eventually got home on different flights even faster than her original flight plans.. stupid airlines).  I can't wait until she gets more time to visit me again soon!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Fusion 8 Skiercross Race at Timberline

This weekend I was able to take Saturday night off of work. I had several choices for the weekend. 1. Go to Portland and partake in the Urban Iditorod... this is basically a drunken tour around the Portland bar scene in ridiculous outfits as a team of "dogs" tow a rider "musher" in a shopping cart around town. Brendan Reser organized a team and apparently they had a ridiculously good time! For a complete slide show of their shinanigans CLICK HERE. From what I hear, they even made the evening news! 2. Go to Bend for a birthday weekend for one of my buddies and ski at Bachelor while staying in a ski house with a hot tub and widescreen t.v. 3. Head to Hood with Tiff, Dirty, and Skeevo to ski both days at Timberline while staying overnight in my Bivy in the parking lot.
I chose 3. because I'm broke right now. I would have been plastered and broke if I went to the Urban Iditorod, and driving to Bend by myself and buying two $70 tickets to ski there would have broken my bank. So I chose to use my pass at Mt. Hood and stay overnight for free in my Bivy in the parking lot. Plus, it gave me the chance to test out my new zero degree Big Agnes Bag, which worked amazing and kept me warm all night despite the 30mph wind gusts and temp in the teens. I love my new gear!
Saturday was a blizzard and Timberline got about 10 inches of fresh powder which made the tree skiing amazing. Hartz was at Hood Meadows winning a Skiercross event there while Holm and the Tiffster were with me skiing the pow. We had a great day! After we left Timberline we met up with Hartz at Government Camp and checked out a Czech bar for some beer before heading to Charlies for some burgers for dinner. We then hit up the Timberline lodge to lounge around by the fire until about 10:30 when we decided we should make our way to the cold and windy parking lot.
I thought my bivy was going to blow away as I set it up and blew up my mattress for inside it. I had to dig a hold in the wind blown snow drift between Hartz's truck and Chris' car. The snow plows ran all night and I was constantly awoken by them and scared they were going to bury me in snow inside my bivy! I woke up and about 6 feet from my head was the line were the snowplow blade had plowed in front of Chris's car! No wonder I didn't get much sleep despite how warm and comfy I was in my new bag.
On Sunday Chris, Aaron, and I entered the free Fusion 8 Skiercross race. It was mostly snowboarders with about 10 other skiers. They convinced me to wear my ridiculous $10 blue one piece ski suit from the eighties I got from the ski swap last fall. Therefore... I looked like a total Gaper. We each got 2 runs down the course. With everyone looking at me funny I decided to take it back to the late 80's ski style and went down in ridiculous tuck with my ski poles straight in the air and every rolling hill and jump I came to on the course (which you usually absorb with your legs to go faster) I jumped off of pulling twisters and spread eagles just like the ski stars of the 80's Greg Stump movies! Everyone in the crowd of onlookers and competitors laughed their asses off. Apparently I was the only one NOT taking the event seriously! When I cam back up for my 2nd run I doubt anyone there thought I knew how to ski so I decided to switch it up a little. At the starting line the cute girls who ran the event told me I needed to come to the award ceremony because I was the funniest thing they'd ever seen. I didn't hear them because I had my headphones on getting pumped for what I was about to do to blow their minds.... YEP, SKI THE GATED SKIERCROSS COURSE.... BACKWARDS. Everyone raced in pairs so I let Holm get a half second jump on me before I jumped a 180 and screamed down the course backwards looking over my shoulder. I can safely say it was the most dangerous and scary switch skiing I've ever done. I was flying around tight corners trying to make the gates and going off table top jumps and steep rolling terrain completely backwards. The best part is this... I WAS FASTER THAN MY FIRST RUN AND ACTUALLY BEAT SEVERAL COMPETITORS... BACKWARDS! When I got down, Hartz told me everyone up top went nuts when I turned around and blasted through the course backwards. Hehe...
We skied the rest of the day under beautiful blue skies hitting the terrain park and half pipe several times. I began feeling like crap so I took it easy in the park. We then headed down to the awards ceremony at the lodge. Hartz got 4th place for his best time and a national champ in the event of skiercross took 1st. The awards ended and I walked past the girls with my funny suit still on and said, "So... no awards for taking the course in reverse, eh?" They seemed really excited to see me and dragged me into their office to give me a free backpack and show me the great photo that you see above of me doing a spread eagle off a rolling hill in my first run. They said they'd never seen anyone run the course backwards before and said it was awesome. So yes, I kinda felt like a rock star! haha. It was a great weekend on the cheap and I ended up providing some entertainment for a lot of people and won a backpack for it! Now, I'm going to rest up because I think I'm starting to get sick... :(