November 9 & 17, 2019 – Cleanup and cutting at the Pass

It’s always amazing how quickly November rolls around after the summer ends, and this year we were back at the Pass again for the annual patrol room cleanup on the 9th of November. In what has become somewhat of an annual tradition, we were prepared to either ski or cut after our morning work of cleaning up the patrol room and checking avalanche and evacuation gear. This year the weather was warm and nice, so it would be cutting and not skiing. Dan, John, Greg and I set out around 11:45 am and drove up the haul road to the top of Twilight, eventually working our way up to the top of Amber’s Way.

Looking out over RTS

Our goal for the afternoon was to make some more progress on the remaining trees on RTS. We’d spent several days last fall and made major progress on the run, clearing about 80% of it. The trees we left were a little over halfway up on skier’s right, and it took a bit of time to hike up there with the saws. We spent a couple of hours on the run, and cleared about half of what was left, leaving the rest for another day.

Dan working on RTS

For the remaining couple of hours, we worked up and down the sides of the run, picking off trees we didn’t get the year before. Around 3:30 pm or so we were growing weary, and decided to call it and head down to the truck for a well deserved beer.

Matt hiking down RTS
Looking back up RTS

At the bottom of the run, we paused to look back up at our work, and it was pretty awesome to see the brown from last season’s work contrasting with the green of this season’s work. Sitting back at the truck, enjoying the last of the season’s garden fresh salsa and a cold beer, we agreed it would be good if we could get one more day of cutting in prior to the start of the season. As luck would have it, John, Dan and I were back at the Pass the following weekend, and this time Joe joined us for the fun.

My equipment for the day

Our target was to do some brushing on the lower mountain, in hopes of making the slopes more conducive to skiing in low snow depths. We spent several hours roaming the mountain, trimming the small bushy trees that have sprung up in the past several years making the skiing more difficult. We took a break for lunch, but other than that worked hard until about 2:30 pm on what turned out to be a rather warm day.

Working on the side of the run
Joe working at the Pass

At the end of the day, we worked our way back to the car, changed out of our saw gear, and took a well deserved break to enjoy a cold one and some fresh pepperoni made from the Trout Creek buck I got a month and a half earlier in southeastern Oregon.

Relaxing post work
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

With the refresher, ski swap, and saw work all complete, all that remains now is for the snow to fly. Whatever the season the brings, we’ll definitely be ready!

The crew at the end of the day