January 2, 2021 – First day of the new year on patrol

January 2nd was the first Patrol 2 day of 2021, and while it was hard to believe 2020 was over, I wasn’t necessarily sad to see it leave and usher in a new year. I arrived at the Pass early, well ahead of the rest of the patrol, and set about gearing up for the day. Heading over to the patrol room, I snapped a few pics of the hill in the early morning light with my fisheye lens…

Early morning at the Pass

Once in the patrol room, I filled out the whiteboard with the daily assignments, and then headed out to EPA to talk with Tim about the day. Bennet was at the bottom of EPA with the groomer, and with my fisheye lens still on the camera, I was able to get some pretty cool shots, including the one below…

The groomer parked at the base of EPA

After talking with Tim, and confirming it had been windy the night before, I headed back to the patrol room to get ready for the morning. Soon after, the rest of patrol arrived, and we had a quick morning meeting and loaded EPA by 8:20. Given the windy conditions the night before, I sent Jon, Dan and Anna out to check the avy route, and the rest of us worked to get the frontside open.

Ready to head out for avy work

A half hour later or so, with avy work complete, we opened Peak 2, and I met Dan up top to take a few laps, before we headed back down to the base.

Dan & Anna on top of Peak 2 after Avy

Down at base, we got a quick bite to eat, and then met Tim outside the patrol room to talk business. After some discussion, we agreed a little saw work was in order on a few downed trees on Down Under and RTS that had fallen during a previous wind event. Dan and I headed out with a saw and shovel in tow, and worked our way over to Peak 2.

Saw skiing down Destiny

Working on a downed tree

Skiing with the saw was pretty fun, since usually we’re having to pack them around on foot earlier in the year, but the cutting work was a bit more tedious than in the fall. Clearing the branches required quite a bit of digging, as well as wallowing in the snow, but soon we had our work complete on Down Under and worked our way over to RTS…

Heading down RTS

More tree work

On RTS, we got half of the tree cleaned up before getting the call from 20 about an incident at the top of Twilight. With Patrol 2 being pretty thin this year, and some of my other resources already on other calls, I dispatched myself to the scene, with Dan as my backup. The incident turned out to be a routine wrist injury, and after a quick sled ride to the base, it was time to head back up to Peak 2 for sweep. On this afternoon, I stayed up top to put the equipment away, as well as to snap a few pictures of the patrol coming back up on the last chairs.

Patrol after Peak 2 sweep

With Peak 2 sweep complete, we headed over as a group for upper mountain sweep off of EPA, and Dan and I stayed up top since we had enough coverage for the runs with mountain hosts and SPY. Sitting at the top after everyone had pushed off, it reminded me of evening dusk patrols from years past. The only thing missing was a cold beer, and perhaps a little cold pow!

Our gear up top

Matt atop EPA after sweep

After snapping a few pics and when the runs were swept clean, we headed down to Twilight via RTS. By the time we got to the bottom, lower mountain sweep was already on, so we picked up the saw, which was stashed in the Twilight lift shack, and headed down.

Skiing RTS after closing

A final bit of saw work on Duck

We headed down Swoosh, enjoying good turns, and then worked our way down to the base. Once everyone was in, we had a brief evening meeting, and then Dan and I took care of a few things that needed tending to in the patrol room, including laundry. Given a flurry of late in the day incidents, there was quite a bit of laundry to do, and we ended up working until 7:00 pm. The one good thing was we had a few beers to keep us company, and it was actually kind of fun to just chill in the aid room, looking at pictures of old patrollers as well as the different awards from season’s gone by.

Closing Swoosh

Bulldog Stout

My beer of choice for the evening was an excellent tasting Bulldog Stout from McKenzie Brewing, which Dan went with his standard Prisimatic from Ninkasi. Eventually, after what seemed like forever, our beers were gone, and it was time to pull the last load of blankets from the washer and put them in the dryer. With that chore accomplished, it was time to head out. All in all, it wasn’t a bad way to start 2021, and I’m definitely looking forward to more powder turns this winter. Hopefully 2021 can deliver!

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