March 6, 2021 – A March Patrol day at the Pass

After a pretty sweet February at the Pass, March was rolling in more like a lamb than a lion. Even so, we had a few inches of snow overnight, and Saturday was looking to be a pretty good day for Patrol 2. The official report was a couple of inches of new at the base, but it looked like there was a bit of wind, and I was pretty sure there was more than that up top. I arrived early, and geared up before taking a few pictures prior to our morning meeting.

An early March morning at the Pass

Anna & Dan outside the patrol room

Before we headed out, I was taking a few photos of P2 getting ready to open the hill. Dave Schweitzer grabbed my camera and told me to get in the picture, and took the below photo of most of P2 ready for the day…

P2 before opening

After taking a few pics, I headed out with avy gear in tow. The plan was for Hutch and I to a quick look at the avy route, given the potential for wind loading the night before. Upon arriving at the top of EPA, we headed out, and made the short hike to the top of Peak 2 after skiing down to the saddle. The snow stake at the top was at 108 inches, with about 6 inches of new.

Topping out on Peak 2

After a quick beacon check, we headed out. Kicking cornices along the ridge didn’t produce any results, so we worked our way out towards the nose. Upon reaching the nose, we decided to rope up, with Hutch on the sharp end and me belaying. Not surprisingly, we got a couple of slabs to cut loose by ski cutting, and although they weren’t huge, they definitely would have ruined your day.

Kicking cornices

Hutch on the sharp end of the rope

We finished the avy route about the same time as the area had Peak 2 ready to go, and then it was time to ski down, hit the lift back to the top, and head down to the base to put the gear away. After hanging up the rope, I headed back out to spin a few laps on EPA, then helped Dan with some sled work at the base, changing out the sled pack and hauling it over to Twilight for loading…

At the base

Ready to head to Twilight

The remainder of the day was spent doing a bit of sled work, and getting some good turns off the top of the mountain. RTS was skiing really nicely, and I made a few runs there, enjoying the steep slope and some of the trees on skier’s right:) I also spent a bit of time up top, hanging out with Dan while he was on bump…

Dan in the bump shack

While killing a bit of time up top on EPA, I snapped a few pics of some of the patrollers as we gathered in anticipation of Peak 2 sweep. Dan, Anna and Matthew proved to be willing subjects.

Anna & Dan atop EPA

Dan & Matthew outside the shack

Once the photo-op was over, we headed over to close Peak 2 without incident. Upper mountain sweep went off without a hitch, as did lower mountain sweep and before we knew it, the day was over and it was time for the evening meeting outside the patrol room.

Evening meeting to end the day

Once the meeting was over, it felt good to head to the car and change out of snowboard boots and into some comfortable clothes. Several of us hung out with the parking lot crowd, enjoying a beer and good company after patrol around the campfire. My beer of choice for the evening was a really tasty Midnight Malt Cocoa Porter from Pelican Brewing.

Midnight Porter by Pelican Brewing

Sitting around the campfire, drinking a cold beer with a bunch of other fully vaccinated patrollers, it almost felt like things were close to normal roughly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began. One thing was for sure — with all the uncertainty over the past year, and this winter in particular, it’s been nice to have the resort open and to be able to leave the worries of work and the pandemic in the valley while enjoying good snow and the camaraderie that patrol affords. Here’s to hoping this excellent season continues!

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