It was another sunny Saturday in January, which meant continued unrelenting high pressure. I was on duty with Patrol 3, subbing for Toby who was going to cover for me a little later in the season. Shaun was game to join me again, and this time he brought his friend Henry along as well, which was great since they could ski together while I was patrolling. We got to the hill early like usual, and after getting my gear together and securing a ticket for Henry, it was time for the morning meeting. Stoke was in the air, because even though the weather wasn’t the best, Peak 2 was going to be spinning for the first time all season!
The morning meeting went quickly, and we headed out to open the hill. I headed up EPA, and being assigned Peak 2 opening duties, the first order of business was to get the closure up at the saddle and then open a run on the front side before spinning back up to head over to Peak 2. While riding the chair, I caught a couple pictures of patrollers on both of my first two lift rides. Pictured below is Sarah and Richard in the first picture, and Dan and Hannah in the second.
By the time I was back on top of Peak 2, I recruited Dan and we headed over to the back side with sleds in tow. Dan grabbed one from the top of EPA, and I snagged the sled from the saddle tube and we headed back. Dropping under the closure and heading down to Peak 2 felt great. Dan skied down Escalator to open it, and I headed down Boundary. At the bottom, I loaded him with the sled and he headed up.
Hanging down at the bottom of Peak 2 felt great, and a few minutes later Ian made his way down and loaded me with my sled to take up to the top. Once up top, we stowed the sleds away, and then proceeded to make a few runs on the back. The snow was remarkably good, and we did laps on Northern, June’s and Waldo. Back up top, I caught up with several patrollers, and everyone was stoked on the back side being open!
I hung back on Peak 2 for a few more runs with Dan, and we skied Destiny and then ended up back on Northern. As we dropped in for our second run down Northern, I heard Shaun yell from the lift. Looking up, he and Henry were riding the chair, and appeared pretty stoked on Peak 2 being open as well.
With several runs on Peak 2 in the bag, I headed back to the front around 10:00 am. As Dan and I were riding back up the chair on EPA, we noticed a female skier stuck next to a tree near the top of Success. After calling out to her and confirming she was ok, we went back about our business. I snapped a few shots of the OEC candidates working near the bump shack on various scenarios, then did one lap back to Peak 2.
As I unloaded EPA, I heard a call come in over the radio for a female skier that needed assistance on Timburr. It sounded like it was the same person Dan and I had seen earlier on Success, and Dan responded with me as backup. As it turns out, it was the same skier, and fortunately everything was ok, but she did request a courtesy ride back down to the base. I ended up bringing the sled down Timburr (which was still quite icy), and then Dan and I hauled her down to the base. The below picture (taken with permission) shows Dan prepping the sled.
The sled ride down was really warm, and both Dan and I were sweating pretty good as the temperature started to rise. We ended up doing another run down Timburr because Dan left his helmet at the scene, and then it was time for a well deserved lunch break. While enjoying my lunch, I wandered around the parking lot for a few minutes with my fisheye lens on the camera, and snapped a few shots, including the one below…
After lunch, it was time to head back out on the hill. I put my 50mm portrait lens on the camera, and found Matt and Ian sitting up top. It was nice to see Matt, who’s been out on injury most of the season, up top and and enjoying the sun…
I skied a few more laps as the afternoon wore on, and then it was time to head over to Peak two for sweep. Just before we were getting ready, Shaun and Henry climbed up to the top and wanted to help as well. They headed down Waldo with Shannon, and the rest of us headed out as well. A few minutes later, we loaded up at the base of Peak 2 and headed out to complete the first Peak 2 sweep of the year.
After sweeping Peak 2, upper mountain sweep on EPA went off without a hitch, and I worked my way over to Twilight to start lower mountain sweep. They had plenty of people, so I snapped a few photos and then headed down to the base. The evening light on the mountain was really nice, and even though I wished it was snowing it was still a pretty scene.
Ian led the evening meeting, and then it was time for a well deserved beer. My beer of choice for the day was a tasty Amber Ale from Oakshire Brewing. The pic below was taken earlier in the day around lunch.
It was really nice to hang out with fellow patrollers at the base and enjoy a cold beer after a fun day of patrolling, and evenings like these are a main reason I get so much enjoyment out of patrolling. The parking lot crowd was also enjoying themselves, and I spent a few minutes visiting with them as well before it was time to hit the road.
And with that, as quickly as it had started, January at the Pass was over. I loaded up our gear, and Shaun, Henry and I hit the road, thankful for a great month of skiing, and hopeful for a return to winter weather soon!