February 13, 2021 – Avy work and pow turns at the Pass

Saturday looked to be a pretty good day on Patrol, with a load of new snow coming in overnight along with strong winds. I left my house early, and arrived in the patrol lot around 7:30. There were several campers there from the night before, and people were already pulling into the main lot, so I knew it was going to be a busy day.

Early morning at the parking lot
The hill before opening

It snowed pretty hard all morning, and by 8:15 am the rest of the patrol was gathered at the base and we started our morning meeting. I grabbed the avy gear and rope, knowing we’d need to head out on the avy route before we could get Peak 2 open. After the morning announcements, we headed out to open the hill.

P2 morning meeting

We had to hang at the base of EPA for a little while, since the lift had some icing issues from the night before, but once it spun a full revolution, we headed up. Dan, Jon, Brian and I headed over to Peak 2 for the avy work, and Buz went up to get equipment taken care of.

Waiting to load EPA
Buz on the way to Peak 2

At the top, we did a quick beacon check and then headed out. Dan and I noticed right away that we were able to get shooting cracks while doing ski cuts along the top of the ridge between Northern and June’s, and figured we’d find some interesting results in the meadow.

Dan arriving at Peak 2
Kicking cornices

We worked our way out towards the Nose, then Brian and Dan headed back to setup for the lower route. Jon and I continued on, and roped up once we got to the nose. I donned the harness, and cut some cornices on the Nose that produced some pretty large snow releases. Next, it was time to ski cut the ridge to the west of the Nose. I was glad to be doing so while on belay, since this was one of those days where the whole slope propagated on my first ski cut. It’s always impressive to see the snow run several hundred feet below, and the approximately 18 inch crown and resulting slab that went would have definitely ruined someone’s day.

John after running the ridge

We skied down through the meadow after controlling the rest of the ridge, and then regrouped with Brian and Dan after making a few nice turns. At the bottom of the meadow, I called the route clear, and the patroller at the top of the hill lifted the saddle closure. We made it down to the bottom and were just able to load the chair when the public started showing up at the base.

Jon riding the Peak 2 chair in a whiteout

Dan and I hung around for a few runs on the back, enjoying the fruits of our labor from the morning avy work, and got a couple of good runs in on June’s and Northern before heading back to drop off our gear. On the way back, we needed to give a courtesy ride to a guest that was having difficulty on Twilight.

Dan skiing Northern

Once back at the base, we took the sled back to the top of Twilight, and finally made our way to the car for a quick bite to eat. It continued to snow, so lunch was short due to the weather, and the fact that we were having a pretty busy day with incidents on the hill.

Enjoying a break at the car

I headed back out on the hill after about a 15 minute break, and made my way back to Peak 2. Upon riding the chair back to the top, I need to backup Patrick for a knee laceration injury at the base of Boundary. It ended up being a pretty deep laceration, so I headed down with the sled, ultimately getting pulled around the haul road by Rick and the snowmobile. I was pretty stoked to be riding my Amplid Dada for the haul. Later in the day, we had several more incidents, ultimately ending with 11 incidents and 3 courtesy rides, making for a 14 sled day. Needless to say, all of us were happy when the hill closed, and after a quick evening meeting, it was definitely time for a cold one.

Evening meeting

My beer of choice for the evening was a tasty Hazy Trail, from 10 Barrel Brewing. It definitely hit the spot as I relaxed by the fire and enjoyed it with some of the motor home crowd. Eventually, it was time to head home, but given it was a long weekend, I was looking forward to coming back with my son on Monday.

Enjoying a cold one after patrol

Shaun and I arrived around 8:30 on Monday, and helped open Twilight. After opening, we headed up to spin a few laps on EPA, and then went to Peak 2 after lunch. Shaun was having fun, and wanted to try some harder runs, so we hit Escalator, Destiny and then Northern.

Shaun skiing Escalator

It was his first time ever down Northern, and it was great to see him excel. After spending some time on Peak 2, we headed back over to Twilight to finish off our day with a few runs on the front, before heading out around 2:45. All in all, it was an excellent weekend on patrol at the Pass, with good snow as well.

Matt & Shaun on Peak 2