As usual, ESAW was a lotta' fun. Meeting up with mentors, colleagues, friends, teammates, classmates and students of ours makes it even more of a joy. The next day we had AIARE Continuing Ed which was a good show and even had some bemusement. Liz from Seattle ran the course and it was amusing seeing a bit of a culture clash between the Pacific Northwest and the Atlantic Northeast. A bunch of us went to lunch with Liz and when crossing Route 16, I taught Liz how to jaywalk explaining that I did not know what jaywalking really was until about age 30 and Liz explained to me that is an $89 fine in Seattle. In the end, we all became friends even with some tense moments!
I was considering skinning at Mount Snow on Saturday thinking that the rain would turn to snow and some goodies would be had. But Mount Snow seemed to be adamant about no uphill skiing outside of operating hours, so I canned that idea - Mount Snow is doing a good job promoting the sport and I don't wanna' spoil that.
So for today I considered lift served at Wildcat which apparently had nice conditions yesterday. But, I needed some more aerobic and endurance work being that I'm still in recovery - latest test results revealed to me a new word and when looking that up, I found out it means that one of my lungs partially collapsed last winter among other minor things like lung scarring (oh $hit) - I headed for a Tuckerman day to keep up the therapy. This was for practice, we talkin' practice. Pitcraft that is - my own solo avalanche refresher which is needed as some professional work is showing up on the horizon. No avalanche bulletin this time of year and with 27cm+ new snow, I had to think on my own. In the pack room, I penciled in my field book (yes, I'm nerdy) a Considerable hazard rating for the Bowl per wx data plus a peek at the Wildcat webcam during the week - a wind loaded patch could rip loose slam one into the brush, krumholz and boulders and inflict serious damage. I had a pleasant hike to HoJos where I recorded 46cm at the snow plot/stake/ Also, I met up with some former Petra Cliffs AIARE 1 students of ours who reported a crown line and some debris climbers left of lower Chute. Yup, whaddya' know when I got to the Bowl, there it was - a Size 1 or so that ran into the brush and boulders, so I felt good about making the right call. I did some digging and chilled and there were indeed a dozen or so peeps' that were on skis. It was an enjoyable day with no coughing as the fresh air done me good.
Mountain Weather course weekend next weekend with Acadia Mountain Guides/Jim Woodmencey from the Tetons which looks challenging but as recent history is showing, the tougher the courses, the more fun I have!
Pre-season continues .......
We had Glade Brigade at Waterville a few weeks ago and it is continuing on weekends. The snow sports school had been doing this the last few years and we actually have some glades on the map now. Snow sports decided to open up the program to other departments for team bonding/community building so off we went a few weeks ago in compliance with USFS agreements - former Snow Ranger Justin ensures we're in line. GM Tim was with us - how many ski areas have GMs like that? ....... I wonder what Bunny Bob is up to nowadays but maybe we shouldn't go there. With Glade Brigade, it's just like being at Mad River except with plenty of snowmaking, grooming and patrol chicks on snowboards. :)
OEC Refresher was last Saturday with wet snow and cold rain to remind of us the impending Holy Season. It was conducted at Crotched with the Crotch' Patrol and we were reminded that we were guests which meant be on time, period. GM Tim and his wife Katie were with us training in a display of Team Waterville and in the front row of 6, 5 of us were from Team Waterville, the bright chipper diligent patrollers we are. Roughly 19 years of patrol experience, Senior training and never being shy about getting extra practice/training paid off for me and I felt good about many things but still wary of the unexpected.
The day after OEC Refresher was a day to hook up with Team Thunderbolt on the real Moby Dick. Once more, I was treated like a king and they gave me a nice bight orange Thunderbolt Trail Crew shirt. We did our tasks and it pays off as I found out 2 years ago on Thanksgiving as just a mere few inches on the lower mountain skied well with no hitting bottom for me and outstanding untracked tree skiing was had higher up. Jonathan was lauded for his work the last few weeks - we know where he had been.
ESAW and then AIARE training this weekend and then Mountain Wx Fx training weekend in Gorham almost 2 weeks from now which should be fun.
More on those tunnels, please. Is this being done to mitigate the notorious Killington crossovers and associated collisions?
Not skiing, yet ...... but always in patrol mode, for sure. After Certified Boot Camp in Maine, we Tux Patrollers did one of our annual social events which is the Saunders at Rye Beach NH 10k which is always a good time since it's the time of year when the end of summer is in sight and there's free keg beer for participants at the end. If it's not that, we Tux patrollers often catch a minor league game (the Fisher Cats) in Manchester or have a weekend retreat at the bunkhouse to hike and hang out.
I did lead a scenario at Ironman Maine 70.3 (I got a dnf at Mile 37 due to bike failure ...... everything I touch since Thanksgiving implodes, including my lungs) as someone on a bike went down in a heap as we rode by in the support van and we crushed the scenario until the Buxton Maine Police Depahtment took over and the ambulance showed up.
Mid September was the Eastern Division Avalanche/Mtn Travel & Rescue/Nordic instructors refresher just outside of Syracuse. The drive Friday night outta' Boston on the Mass Pike onto The Thruway was brutal and I didn't think it was worth it when I arrived but after I stepped outta' my truck at the campsite, Howard from Philadelphia was there among others and he's always good entertainment and after that first gulp of beer under the stars with my Eastern Division peers, I totally forgot about the difficult drive and was glad to be there. The event was especially good as we did wilderness rescue scenarios, had a good avalanche seminar and the navigation exercises were outstanding where they tried to shoot down my use of GAIA on my wicked-smaht phone but I proved to the instructors that it is a GPS and it is also a compass and it documented my performance as legit' ..... used my DeLorme InReach too - practice ya' know.
At Waterville, we conducted our first Patroller School (voluntary - formal Refresher comes up next Saturday) the last weekend of September. But before that, we were to fill out 9 pages of documents including a Personal Appearance & Uniform Policy - can't even smoke or chew gum ya' know and ya' gotta' straighten up and fly right! Yes, it's a different dynamic and highly disciplined atmosphere for sure, lol ..... oh, and I like it. Anyway, we were to report to the BBTS room (home of the historic BBTS) at 8am that Saturday which of course means 7:30am given the way we roll. I had not been to that room and I was impressed going up the stairs and down the hall seeing all of the old pics ranging from the old Tecumseh CCC trail to the early freestyle events (remember, we ARE the birthplace of freestyle: https://activerain.com/blogsview/1332346/waterville-valley-resort--birthplace-of-freestyle-skiing) and great racing events held there over the years and of course pics of Wayne Wong. History and tradition is big at Waterville. We went at it very hard doing lift evac scenarios, advanced OEC (my Senior training was key, thanks to Betsey Reeves from Nashoba and she patrols with us and was there) and technical rescues. CPR scenarios were done per progressive HIGH PERFORMANCE CPR practices developed in Seattle that Fire Chief Jeff learned and instructed to us. Good conviviality was had Saturday night which included Cornhole (yeah!) as many of us camped outside of the Sunnyside Lodge at the bottom of Bobby's and True Grit. The Eastern Division director was with us as he is very interested in how we do things at Waterville as we are really making a good name for ourselves in several ways which has been very exciting - it's great being part of something special. I continue to learn about patrolling and how much I still need to learn as I get more addicted the older I get. The exciting news from Waterville is that we landed 5 marquee events per GM Tim and I'm pretty sure he said Mikaela and Lindsay are coming to town. This is all part of the strategy to develop/strengthen a skiing culture at Waterville. Oh, and GM Tim and his wife Katie were training with us as we are highly integrated amongst the departments and the community especially with Waterville Fire & Safety - Team Waterville ya' know. Oh, and the Buckets Bar is being replaced by the Freestyle Lounge which apparently is almost 10 times the size of my condo unit and also we're on schedule for replacing the 50+ year old summit double with a surface lift which was a bit emotional for the regulars but understood as the surface lift means less wind holds per the gales raging through Franconia Notch/Thornton Gap. The regulars seem to be much less forgiving about the elimination of the ancient J-Bar surface lift though - yes there's such a thing called a J-Bar.
Kmart opening day was excellent. Ski back onto the lift after 12 with bluebird skies and spring snow.
Just came from a meeting.
There are a lot of moving parts right now. Tunnels, excavation, helicopters, backhoes, RFID, blasting, splicing, and Snow Making.
It's a good time to be alive.
Back on the mountain tomorrow.
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