It was a challenging season for me in many ways.  Certainly nothing against Mad River, but joining a new patrol was a very good experience for me personally and professionally not to mention a huge challenge and at the end I learned how much more I must learn as a ski patroller. Oh, and I loved it!
I instructed/guided professionally 7 days which was very rewarding.  I learned much while shadowing in the Selkirks which was challenging and you’ll see why and it was wonderful celebrating Christmas in the wilderness with new friends from Canada, the PNW, Scotland and India in true Christmas spirit…… this meant Christmas was spent without the putrid Macy’ consumerism crap as well as being devoid of the anti-Christmas whining which includes how one was insulted and got PTSD when Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer showed up on the teevee (oh puhleeeeeeze).  
AIARE Course Leader training was a big fun challenge in Crested Butte in January where the snow was unusually lean though the first day of lift serve had some treats to the tune of 11” new which made the skiing feel like an opening day at Mad River – nice fluff but plenty of rocks and brush too.  The class did indeed have a cast of characters as advertised and I’m not saying what I heard that someone apparently said about us. In the end, everyone was supportive and we became friends.
Patrolling in Tucks was pretty much uneventful.  Up through just about all of April, it was either porcelain or dicey avalanche conditions, hence not a whole lot of skiing was had and then the thaws happened in a hurry in May – late Winter to Summer in about 10 days it seemed. Turns for breakfast events were much fun!
States/Provinces: Vermont, New Hampshire, Colorado, Alberta, British Columbia.
# of days:  I dunno’ ….. 50, I guess
# of months: 6 going from late November through late May
Lift served ski areas: Waterville Valley NH, Killington VT, Lake Louise AB, Crested Butte CO
Uphill Ticket: Mount Snow, VT
Yeah, brutal season for me.  Let's see:
1.     Hernia ...... fortunately, no operation needed.
2.     Assisting with a fatal incident at Killington …..though I was inspired by the super incredible response by the Killingtron patrol.
3.     Rejected for AIARE Course Leader status ..... this alone caused classmate [name withheld] to describe what I am going through as a Shakespearean tragedy. At least I am getting support and well as getting compliments from multiple sources about keeping a stiff upper lip. This was after getting a letter of recommendation from a crack IFMGA guide who in it wrote “I feel confident in recommending him as a course leader.” On the bright side, someone from AIARE World HQ contacted me earlier this week and we developed a plan of action to nail this next season…..update: AIARE World HQ contacted me and we had a very intensive productive discussion and I’m confident I’ll nail this when I reapply next season per their direction.
4.     Dealing with having to give [name withheld] 4 online psychotherapy sessions and an hour+ phone session while [name withheld] was on I-15 in Idaho to help [name withheld] deal with not passing the AMGA Ski Exam…… though this person just landed a sweet guiding gig in the Alaska Range.
5.     BRASS Foundation Mammoth Mountain instructor training getting cancelled ..... after I bought plane tix…… but we have plans for next season that looks promising.
6.     We’re not going there
7.     We’re definitely not going here
8.     Pneumonia that I suspect I caught Thanksgiving with 2 setbacks (I think I might have skied too hard at Killington and Mount Washington) even after I got a pneumonia vaccine in late January and I am getting set up for a lung CAT scan as the doctor told me in mid-December "there might be more to this than we realize".  This was after the clinic in town here assured me that I did not have pneumonia and that I was not contagious and would be alright in 2-3 days. I was not properly diagnosed until after almost 3 weeks. I knew something was very wrong when I had no urge to drink beer and I was worried that I had Lyme Disease. This was a brutal struggle the entire season and I could not accomplish as much as I wanted to. I think I’ve finally snuffed out 98% of it – only a daily cough or 2 the last week. UGH!
9.     Other miserable things that I forgot.
Bring on some ski dreams!

Mark P. Renson

On Sunday, May 27, 2018 8:02 PM, Mark P. Renson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Well, it's over for me now ...... though I hope not. I brought down the toys from Hermit Lake this morning.

It's dying very fast.  The webcam from Wildcat mid week showed top to bottom in Left Gully ...... but that was not to be on Saturday as that upper bowl-like formation melted out.  I did hike up in the rain showers to the base of it and found firm sun cups that would make for difficult skiing. I ascended half way before throwing in the towel.  Skiing was less than desirable down into the floor of the Ravine.  

Phew, that was a grueling season ...... sigh ........
Mark P. Renson

On Sunday, May 20, 2018 10:20 PM, Mark P. Renson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

I shall repeat: May is a ski month. PERIOD.  It ain't over.  

I headed up to the White Mountain Hostel in Conway after work and as usual the hippie chick there provided outstanding hospitality.  I walked over to the finest Mexican place in northern NH (probably because it's the only one) there and had a few tasty Tuckerman Headwall ales and some food - they have a "lighter fare" which is in between an appetizer and real meal so it's just right for me.  Then I hit the sack in my bunk at 9:30pm.  This is becoming a bit of a routine now. Wild Friday night, huh?  Yeah, I got 8 hours of some nice sleep which is welcome during this day 'n age.

Well, I had been watching the weather reports and dang I had a hunch that rain would hold off long enough to squeeze in a nice day of patrolling and turns.  I had a nice hike up under bluebird skies - I think I've hiked up the Tucks Trail roughly 200 times in my life and as I told someone over the weekend, yes I do recognize many of the numerous rocks that I step on. 

Things are melting fast nowadays.  We've rapidly transitioned from a very late Winter into Summer.

Yeah, it all paid off as Left Gully was outstanding.  Great coverage!  Lotsa' nice sloppy wet overripened corn. Every turn and smashing every bump was like a nice sloppy wet DFK!  I was on my super light Dynafit Denalis which given my bigger size makes it easy to turn em which was fun on the steeps.  Dang, that run is still one of my all time favorites, ANYWHERE.  Home of the 1938 Eastern Downhill Slalom Championships per a pic in Winston Pote's coffee table book "Mount Washington in Winter 1928-1940" ....... are Denis and I the only ones on this list with a copy of that gem? It's a prized possession of mine.

That night we had great conviviality and BBQ.  Yeah, we did it up - high end Boars Head knockwurst, venison steaks, bison burgers, ribs and even tofu hot dogs. Yeah, that's what I like about ski patrolling - we're all a buncha' dirt bags and at the same time we enjoy the finer things in life - what could be better? I hit the sack at 9:15 and got meself' 10 hours of sleep - this 603 lifestyle is good for me in many ways.

Today was rough weather with rain showers.  Chilled. Came down. Enjoyed a tasty Night Shift Whirlpool 16 ounce can at a mellow 4.5% ABV at my tailgate at Pinkham Notch.

Mark P. Renson

On Tuesday, May 15, 2018 11:12 PM, Mark P. Renson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

It ain't over.  May is a ski month. PERIOD.

Last weekend, I had to go to purgatory - I mean North Carolina - for family stuff.  The weekend prior, Left Gully reminded me of why it's one of my all time favorite ski runs anywhere and Right Gully was surprisingly good.

I've had 2 recent ski dreams about returning to patrolling at Waterville.  I'm also starting to plan for next season.  I guess it never really ends.
Mark P. Renson

On Tuesday, May 15, 2018 12:31 PM, Miguel Naughton <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

I'll go first with the season tally.  I hope that first is not also last.

A most excellent season, although not very focused on Vermont:

Eldora 2
Copper 2
Winter Park 2
Steamboat 1
Arapahoe Basin 1

New York
Holiday Valley 3

Killington 1
Sugarbush 1

Boyne Highlands 2
Boyne Mtn 1
Nubs Nob 1

Searchmont 1

TOTAL DAYS = 18 (roughly 3 above typical)

Days with tree skiing: 18 (100%)
Powder days: 0 (a few days with leftovers here and there)
Maxpass days: 11 ($57/day, paid it off easily)
Ski areas bagged: 1 (A-Basin), new total of 121 areas

Top individual days:
1. A-Basin 4/15
2. Killington 3/24
3. Searchmont 2/19

Other highlights
- new skis, love my Volkl Kanjos!
- two flights to CO on Southwest, $256 for the first, $116 in April

Other lowlights
- shoulder injury slowed me down in the middle of the season, but was back to 100% by the end

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