January 23, 2022 – Never ending sunshine

Sunday was coming up fast, and with no change in the forecast, it looked like it would be another sunny day at the Pass. As usual, I headed out early, with Shaun in tow, and we pulled into the parking lot around 7:30 am. I headed to the patrol room while Shaun hung out in the car, and pretty soon more patrollers were gathering around the base. After a quick morning meeting, with a debrief on ambulance and helicopter protocols, we headed out to open the hill. As usual the light was pretty nice, and I snapped a few photos up top…

Craig and Sarah on first chair
Patrol ready to open runs off EPA

After opening the frontside, I headed down and got Shaun ready to go so he could head out and meet one of his friends who was coming up for the day. Then I headed back out to join Joe, Ian and the sled candidates to do a little sled work with the Cascadde 100’s.

Anna and Odell Lake
The sled training crew ready to head out

I caught up with the crew at the top of EPA in time to catch their second lap down Eagle’s, and snapped a few photos of Anna as she headed down with the unloaded 100 towards the run.

Anna running an unloaded 100
Running a loaded 100 down Eagle’s

At the top of Eagle’s, Ben got in the sled as ballast, while Anna worked the handles and Patrick took up the tail rope. Both Anna and Patrick killed it, and looked good working their way down Eagle’s.

Anna in the handles
Patrick on the tail rope

We worked our way down the run, with Ian and Joe providing feedback, and I have to say I’m pretty impressed with this year’s sled candidates. I snapped a few more pics as we headed down, and then put the camera bag in the bag to enjoy the turns down Eagle’s….

Austin surveying the sled training
Patrick managing the tail rope

After the sled run, I headed back up top to work with the SPY on what happens during an incident with respect to how to safely mark the scene, ask important questions if they happen to ski upon an incident, and how we load patients into a sled. Once we went through a scenario and loaded up a patient, I headed back up to chat with Devin about a couple of issues.

Devin attending to the RTS Belay sled

A few minutes later, with our business out of the way, I rejoined the sled candidates and busted out the camera for several more shots on another run down Eagle’s. This time Patrick was in the handles, with Anna riding as ballast and Ben on the tail rope.

Patrick running a loaded 100
Looking out over Odell Lake

We finished our run down just in time to grab a quick lunch at the base before heading back out on the hill for the afternoon. Down in the parking lot, I enjoyed a well-earned break and applied another layer of sunscreen.

Discussing things over mid-run
Willy Pass at mid-day

Once lunch was over, I headed back up on the hill, and the snow was definitely starting to corn. It was hot up top, and I found Tyler hanging out on bump. It ended up getting so warm that I stripped down to a base layer and nothing more, and was still plenty warm. After hanging out up top a bit, I met up with Shaun to take a few runs since his friend Tanner was heading home for the day.

Tyler sitting bump at EPA
Shaun on Timburr Glades

We spent the last hour or so taking laps down High Lead, Timburr and Success, and I snapped a few photos of Shaun along the way. It’s fun watching his skiing start to progress over this season so far…

Cruising down Success
Heading down By George

A few minutes before 4:00 pm, we headed up EPA one last time, and joined up with the other patrollers up top to get ready for sweep. Shaun ended up sweeping High Lead with John, while I headed down early to review the run reports and get the patrol room tidied up so we could get make a quick get-away after the evening meeting, in order to get a super early start the next morning for plans to make turns on Mt St Helens.

Closing crew up top on EPA
Matt & Shaun before sweep

A short time later, the patrol started rolling in, and Shaun was the last one to the patrol room — I’m learning he really likes being the last one on the hill, something he shares with his dad! We held a brief evening meeting to recap the day, and then it was time to cap the day off with a well earned cold beverage. I had got a half case of Jubeale from Deschutes earlier in the week for just this occasion, and busted it out for those who were thirsty. It definitely hit the spot, and capped off another really nice day of patrolling at the Pass.

A tasty Jubelale after a long day on the slope