January 31, 2021 – A better day than forecast

The final day of January turned out to be a pretty good one at the Pass. Patrol 2 was on the schedule, and I was hill chiefing for the day, so I arrived at the hill early to take care of business prior to opening. The forecast was calling for 1-2 inches during the day, and I wasn’t expecting much. It looked like about an inch had fallen overnight, and it was still coming down as we conducted our morning meeting and headed out to open the hill.

Early morning before opening

It didn’t take long to get the frontside open, and Peak 2 was open a few minutes after that. It continued snowing, and conditions were pretty good on the back, even though the day before had seen the biggest crowd of the season at the hill. I snapped a few pictures of patrol gearing up to open the mountain, and then headed over to Peak 2.

Matthew & Anna up top

After a lap on the backside, I hung out up top for a few minutes, hoping to run into Andy who was coming up for the day. After about a 5 minute wait, I spotted him on the chair and we were able to get a few runs together. We headed down through Obvious Choice, which rode really nicely, and then decided to check out Lighthouse. Surprisingly, nobody had skied the headwall the day before, so we dropped in for some really nice turns…

Andy skiing lighthouse
Andy on the Peak 2 chair

A couple of calls came in over the radio that I had to dispatch, and then it was time for a second lap, this time heading over towards Dragon’s to check out the terrain in the glades. It turned out to be a good call, and we were able to enjoy some good turns there as well. All the while it continued to dump really hard…

Turns below Dragon’s Back
A quick break below Dragon’s

Back up top, I convinced one of my fellow patrollers to snap a picture of Andy and I, and even though I had my patrol coat on, it reminded me of the days gone by of some good lift-accessed ski turns we used to make all over the state over 10-15 years ago at places like Mt Hood Meadows, Timberline, Mt Bachelor, Hoodoo, and the Pass.

At the top of Peak 2

We made three or four more runs back on Peak 2, and around 1:00 headed down for lunch. I bid Andy farewell, knowing he was leaving in an hour or so and that there was additional work to do on the frontside. It was snowing hard at base when I got down, and after a hasty lunch, I headed back out on the hill.

Snowing hard at the base

It continued to snow for the rest of the day, and we had a couple more incidents and courtesy rides, but overall it was a really good day. Peak 2 sweep commenced at 3:40 per usual, and even though it was the end of January, it was only the second time during the season that I was able participate as an actual sweeper and make it to the bottom.

Peak 2 closing

After Peak 2 sweep, we headed over to EPA to close the upper mountain, and pushed off a few minutes after 4 in the thick clouds and snow. I stayed up top while the sweepers headed down, which is always a nice treat to be the last person up there, then vacated via RTS to help Anna on Twilight. Since we were pretty short staffed, we had to get help from the area to sweep all but one run on Twilight, and then it was off to do some fencing work before ending the day.

Getting ready for Upper Mtn sweep
Anna after some fencing work

The day ended with our evening meeting, and a picture of Patrol 2 and the flexers that I took while everyone did their best to maintain social distancing. Overall, it was a really nice day that exceeded expectations, and by the day’s end there was 8 inches of new snow up top.

The crew after a long day
Heading for home

After putting the radios away, checking the incident report forms, and wiping down the aid room, it was time to head out. The drive down highway 58 went smoothly, and soon I was home by the fire enjoying a “free” beer courtesy of Oakshire Brewing that had been donated to the patrol. This offering was an old favorite — a smooth tasting Watershed IPA that definitely hit the spot.

Watershed IPA

With a snowier than forecast day over and another patrol day in the books, the final day of January was definitely one to remember, and hopefully a precursor for things to come later this season.