January 2, 2022 – First Patrol Day of 2022

After a pretty fun day of turns the day before, I headed up to the Pass with Shaun in tow for my first patrol day of 2022. The forecast was calling for mostly sunny skies, and the snow looked to be in decent shape after several feet had fallen over the prior several days. We pulled into the parking lot and I geared up, and then headed over to the patrol room to get ready for the day…

The lodge and patrol room in the early morning
Patrollers gathering ready for the morning meeting

Around 8 am, we started the morning meeting and discussed plans for the day, which included sled check-offs for existing alpine patrollers. We also had a quick conversation about assessments and upper extremity injuries, and then it was time to head out and open the mountain. After making a run, I headed back to the car and got Shaun, and we headed back out on the hill.

Patrol 2 morning meeting
Shaun and Joe

We made some good runs on the front, and enjoyed the snow on Good Time and High Lead. After a couple of runs, we headed down at 10:00 am so I could spend some time with the Spy to get them lined out for the day. While Anna and I were working with the Spy, Shaun headed back out on the hill to make some more turns.

Gathering at the top of Peak 2
Jon teaching knots to the SPY

After working with the Spy on various activities around the base, I headed back up top to EPA to get ready for sled-checks. Both Joe and Ian were up and set to lead the sled running, and we determined High Lead would be a good run for the check-offs.

John, Dan, Laurie & Ian
Bringing an unloaded sled down the top of High Lead

I ended up running the sled with Tyler, and brought it down to the top of High Lead unloaded. Laurie then hopped in, and with me in the handles and Tyler on the tail rope we headed out.

Laurie ready to hop in the sled
Cruising down High Lead

The run was a bit on the icy side, and it took me a minute to remember that instead of trying to muscle the sled it was better to push down on the handles and engage the break to make the sled do the work, and then feather the handles as needed for navigation. Once Laurie reminded me of that, it was smooth sailing down the run. Halfway down, Tyler and I switched, and he took over the handles while I grabbed the tail rope. The check went smoothly, and soon we were back out on the hill ready for another run.

Loaded sled checks on High Lead

I linked back up with Shaun at the top of EPA, and we made a couple more runs together, and then I wanted to check out RTS with Dan while Shaun skied one of the front side runs and would meet us at the base.

Shaun and Matt up top
Dan on RTS

RTS was in pretty good shape — it was definitely skier cut, but the packed powder skied well and we enjoyed turns down to the bottom.

Heading down RTS

As the afternoon wore on, we made a few more runs on the front side, finishing up with a couple on Timburr, after receiving clearance from the area to do a little chain saw work and cut up a couple of trees that had fallen on the run —- one that had fallen a few days prior and one that had just fallen the night before.

Dave on clean up crew
Working on a downed tree

We made our way down to the base after checking on John and Dave who were working with the saw, and then headed up for another lap. There was an empty Cascade 100 that needed to go up, so I grabbed it and headed up. At the top, Laurie was waiting to greet me, and I snapped a pic of here getting ready to take one of the OEC training sleds back down to the base….

Bringing a sled up EPA
Laurie up top

It looked like we had plenty of time for another run down Timburr, and I wanted to stop and give John and Dave a hand with the tree work. By the time we got there, they had cut the log from the new tree up into large chunks, and Calvin and I helped them with rolling/pushing them off the run and out of the ski path.

Shaun heading down Timburr

After our work, we made it to the base just in time to catch the last chair for sweep. Shaun rode up with me and was happy to be able to help with sweep.

Riding up EPA
Closing crew

While we were waiting for sweep to begin, I pulled out the camera and snapped a few pictures of the sun setting over Diamond Peak, with Shaun in the first one and Anna and Tyler in the second.

Shaun at closing
Anna and Tyler

Closing began a few minutes later, and we swept the hill clean without incident. At the base, we held a quick evening meeting, and then it was time to enjoy some tasty Red Chair beers from Deschutes Brewery that I had brought up for everyone. The cold beer hit the spot after a long day, and it was a great day to end my first patrol day of 2022.

Red Chair at Willamette Pass