February 5, 2022 – Patrolling at the Pass

With the unrelenting ridge of high pressure hanging tough off the Oregon coast and showing no signs of abating, I headed up to the Pass for another day of patrolling and to escape the valley fog. The forecast was calling for blue skies and sunshine, and it turns out that’s exactly what we got. As usual, I pulled into the patrol lot around 7:20 am with Shaun in tow, and donned my gear before heading over to the base area. After checking in with management about the day’s activities, I was able to capture a few photos before we settled in for the morning meeting…

Early morning look at the Pass
Getting the last of the grooming done before opening

After the general announcements and discussion about the day’s activities, Hannah led a conversation for the medical minute about mid-shaft femur fractures and the sager splint, which gave me time to step away from leading the discussion as hill chief and shoot a few photos, including the one below.

Hannah leading the medical minute

Once the medical minute was over, it was time to head out and open the hill. I headed up EPA, and opened one of the frontside runs, and then went down to grab Shaun and get him out on the hill for the day. We had time to make a couple of runs before meeting up with the SPY at 10:00 am…

Shaun up top after opening
Matt and Shaun on Peak 2

A few minutes before 10:00 am, I had to head down to the base, while Shaun wanted to spin a few laps on Peak 2. My conversation with the SPY focused on aid-room activities, and then I headed out to check-in on the OEC candidate training that was occurring at the base area. I found several scenarios going on at once, and decided to take the opportunity to snap a few pics with my camera to document the action…

Richard and Jen doing OEC drills
Alex leading a scenario

It was looking pretty serious with several folks evaluating, and it was good to see both Jen and Matthew on the hill, as both were recovering from health/injury issues….

Jen and Matthew evaluating
Dan, Laurie and Gretchen

About the time I headed back to the patrol room to grab my gear, the area completely lost power. We later learned that most of central Oregon from La Pine to Klamath Falls was out of power, but nobody knew it at the time. To keep in communication, as a patrol we had to switch to channel 6 (line of sight), and I was able to establish connection with John Fischer at the top of the hill to relay to our folks on Peak 2. After about 20-25 minutes, the area had everything up and running on backup power, and we were back in business.

Richard working on Jen with Brian and Shannon evaluating
Diamond Peak from atop EPA

I quickly hopped on the EPA lift and made my way to the top. With all things considered, I was pretty amazed at how well the area management was able to get everything switched over (including running the Twilight lift on diesel power) to get everyone back in business. I waited up top for a few minutes for Shaun, who I knew would be coming up soon, and snapped a few pictures of Lakeview Peak through the barstool at the top of EPA, as well as a self-portrait reflecting in the glass of the EPA summit shack….

Lakeview Peak
Self portrait at the top of EPA

A short time later, after another lift stoppage of about 20 minutes, Shaun arrived at the top of EPA and we headed over to Peak 2 to check in on the sled training Ian was leading with Anna, Ben and Patrick.

Shaun arriving at the top of EPA
Heading down Escalator

The sled candidates were working with the 350, and although conditions weren’t ideal, they were rocking the unloaded sled on Waldo.

Anna and Ben headed to Waldo

I took a few pictures of Anna in the handles and Ben in the rear handles as they came down, and then skied down the run with Shaun.

Anna working the 350 handles
Anna and Ben on Waldo

We ended up spinning one more lap with the sled group, and then it was time to head back over to the front side for some more turns…

Ian providing feedback to Anna and Ben
The sled crew and Maiden Peak

A bit later I found myself back at the top of EPA, and I wanted to take a few photos with my Canon f/1.8 50 mm lens. Anna and Austin showed up a few minutes later and made for a suitable subject.

Anna and Austin at the top of EPA

Ian and Dan were next, and obliged while I fired off a few shots. Finally, I turned my attention to Brian, as we supervised some of the OEC training that was happening up top.

Ian and Dan
Brian up top

Given the power failure and that we were running on backup power, I was happy to have the extra patrollers and candidates at the top of EPA for training as opposed to the base, in the event that we needed extra hands if something went awry.

Laurie surveying the OEC candidates

As it usually does, 3:30 pm rolled around before I knew it, and it was time to sweep Peak 2. I headed over and met up with Shaun, who was game to help with sweep as well. At the top of the lift, I snapped the below picture of Anna, Tyler and Patrick before we closed the runs off for the afternoon….

Anna, Tyler and Patrick

Shaun and I were assigned to sweep Waldo, and it was awesome watching him sweep the run after everyone was off the hill. He clearly enjoyed being the last person on the run, and as Fischer said, he’s clearly got a little patroller in him….

Shaun sweeping Waldo
The sweep crew ready to load Peak 2

Down at the bottom, we loaded up and headed back to the front to sweep the upper mountain. The sun was low enough in the sky that I was able to get a few decent shots with my wide angle lens, including the one below of a group of patrollers unloading Peak 2.

Patrollers unloading Peak 2

After unloading Peak 2, we made the short walk to the top of EPA, and the light was still really nice, so I grabbed a picture of Kyle at the top terminal, as well as the P2 crew just before we shoved off for sweep.

Kyle at Closing on EPA
EPA sweepers

Shaun wanted to sweep Success, so we headed down and found some really nice corn. I was pretty happy with how Shaun was skiing, and he made really nice turns down the good snow.

Shaun sweeping Success
Last run down Success

We headed down the bottom, not needing to sweep George since it was covered from the Twilight closing crew, and found the OEC candidates getting their jackets. OEC candidates no more, they had successfully passed their training and were now full fledged patrollers!

New Patrollers Chris, Sarah, Richard, James and Jen!

A few moments later, the rest of the patrol trickled in, and we had a quick evening meeting and then celebrated with post-patrol beers. The social committee had a cooler full of Oakshire, and I was happy to drink a tasty beer that had been in my fridge for a few weeks — a Tangerine Express Hazy IPA fro Stone Brewing.

A well deserved hazy IPA from Stone Brewing

The beers hit the spot, and it felt really nice to hang out with fellow patrollers after a long day on the hill. I did manage to escape for a few minutes to head in and review the incident reports in the patrol room, and then it was time to make my way to the car to load gear and hit the road. All in all, it was another great day on patrol, even if it hasn’t snowed in several weeks!