Saturday, April 3, 2010

Best Skiing of the Year

Today was amazing! I’m so glad that I decided to go and made sure I got Emily up to come with us. The forecast had called for 3-5 inches overnight and I thought as usual for this season that it meant high winds and rain as well.. but for once this year I was wrong and it was perfect. The whole week prior it had been dumping snow on Hood but with high winds as well so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. When we got to Ski Bowl I was so happy to have decided to bring my 120mm underfoot powder
boards. When we got up to the top of Upper Bowl we found out the ski patrol was actually going to open the back country for the first time in months (actually I think it may have been the first time of the season). We skirted around the line of waiting skiers for the backcountry and ducked into the woods to traverse into the backcountry ourselves just below the trail to Tom Dick peak. The conditions blew my mind. Even better than our trip to Utah this year. It was about 2-3 feet of perfect powder in the backcountry and completely untouched. After the first run we quickly made our way back up the lifts and headed back over to Tom Dick peak so I could huck the big drop out there. I went off and it felt like I had landed in a bed of down feathers! The return trail to the bottom chair lift was pretty rough and the first few runs there was literally a stampede of skiers and annoying snowboarders who couldn’t make it trying to traverse back to the resort. Emily fell once then got stuck in a hole quickly after. One snowboarder even blurted out that it wasn’t
worth it.. should have tried skiing the poor bastard! On our third hike out to Tom Dick peak I realized that what I had hucked the previous run ( about 25 feet tall) was usually the rock outcrop that is almosttotally buried in a good snow year like 2008. The massive rock ledge next to it (~45 feet) I had skipped because it looked too scary but I realized it was what I had front flipped off of two years ago, only then it wasn’t nearly as big due to the great snowpack that year. Now it looked enormous and I was pretty nervous skiing up to the to of it. I noticed some tracks had come down before me and had jumped off to the right of it where it was less of a drop. I didn’t want to land in that hole nor did I want to land on a rock just below the outcrop (that’s what destroyed my
Salomon Pocket Rockets last year) so I decided my only course of action was to simply turn up my music and point it straight off the tip of it and hope for the best. Emily was down below with the camera trying to take sequence shots. She messed up and only got the first two of me coming off the lip, missing the shots of me submarining into the snow 45 feet below. When I hit I absorbed the impact a little with my knees then my back which popped a little but not too bad. I found myself buried so deep my head was below the surface. The first thing I heard when I pulled myself up and out was a kid about 20 feet away who had jumped off to the side of where I went off say, “holy shit dude, that was huge!”. Being 30, a little over weight and a lot out of shape, that comment made me feel pretty good ;). I’m a horrible judge of height but it felt like the biggest drop I’ve done yet (probably pretty close to the one I did last year under the lift). So, I took a side photo of the backcountry below Tom Dick Peak and used one of the dudes climbing up through the powder below as a height reference. I guessed his upper body and thighs at about 5’ and stacked him up next to where I went off and got 9-10 of him.. Doing the math that equals one scary huck for a 30 year old who only gets to ski 10-15 times a year.

The rest of day we explored other areas of Ski Bowl within the boundaries and found a couple places we could hike to and huck into powder. One of those areas is where I through the front flip in the video above. It was great and felt like marshmallows when i landed. I wish I had a trampoline to practice on because I seem to be losing
my bearing when I go inverted in the air more and more each year. Chris stepped up his game and hucked several big drops as well as Emily who I encouraged to take a couple 5-8 foot drops into great powder. She always gets super nervous but after she does it she always thinks it was too easy. Soon she’ll realize to trust me and take advantage of her effort climbing up through deep powder to try some bigger stuff. We were getting hungry so we headed back to Chris’ car and Kya only to find out that it was already 4:30 and time to head home. I’m not sure if I’ll make it back to the resort again this year but if not I sure did try to condense a whole season of typical fun into the only good ski day in the Northwest this year!

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