December 3-4, Opening Weekend at the Pass

The snow was flying early this season, and the stoke factor was high, with the Pass making one of it’s earliest openings in recent memory. After opening on Friday, December 2nd, I was on duty for both Saturday and Sunday on the weekend. With all the new snow, I was hoping that maybe EPA would open, but it looked like it would be Twilight only for weekend. Even so, the area was looking good, with really nice coverage for early December.

The view from Patrol base on opening morning

I was on duty both days, and covering for Hutch with Patrol 1 on Saturday. After a good morning meeting, we headed out to open Twilight and catch our first lift rides of the season.

The crew at the base of Twilight
Jon, Brian and Kyron at the saddle tube

Even though the Pass was open the day before, we still found some really good snow on the runs and in the trees around Swoosh and Rough Cut. After a few runs, I headed down to the patrol room for a drink of water, and then headed out to meet up with Shannon and Greg to run some unloaded sleds to knock the rust off from a several month hiatus….

A calm moment at the patrol base
Shannon running an unloaded 100

It’s always fun running sleds, especially when they are unloaded. Shannon, Greg and I each took a turn in the handles, and had a friendly competition to see who could dig the downhill skag in the furthest and get the sled to turn up on edge the most…..I’m not sure who won but I almost tipped the sled over :).

Shannon pulling a 100 down Swoosh
Prepping the sled for the lift ride

The rest of the day went well, with only a couple of incidents, and soon it was time to sweep the hill and call it a day. Before we all set out, everyone got together and Laurie snapped a picture of our Saturday opening weekend crew.

Brian chatting with Brett
P1 Opening Saturday Crew

Sweep went without a hitch, and then it was time to enjoy a cold beverage after the evening meeting. My offering of choice for the day was a great tasting PCT Porter from Crux Fermentation Project.

A PCT porter by Crux

After enjoying some fun camaraderie with Patrol 1 after the evening meeting, Shaun and I headed down the hill to stay at Brian and Shannon’s for the night since the four of us were all back up and on-duty the following morning. Brian cooked up a great tasting piece of salmon and coupled it with a baked potato bar, and the meal hit the spot. We washed it down with a bottle of wine, and then it was time to hit the sack. The next morning dawned early, and after making the short drive to the Pass we were out making turns again. I finally got the chance to make a few runs with Shaun, and captured the below picture of him right after he went off a small roller on Swoosh.

Shaun on Swoosh

Up next, I made a few runs with Greg running sleds, and then I headed up to the top of Twilight to catch up with Brian, Shannon and Jen.

Jenn, Brian and Shannon at the top of Twilight
Brian and Shannon

As the day wore on, I made a few more runs and captured a few more photos in between incidents and while managing the hill. A couple of shots that piqued my interest was the afternoon light on the upper mountain, as well as new snow gun at the bottom of Twilight…

The upper mountain illuminated in the afternoon light
One of the Pass’s new snow guns

The afternoon wore on mostly without incident, and everyone made their way to the top of Twilight for the evening sweep. Since only Twilight was open, we were able to start sweep a few minutes after 4:00, as opposed to having to sweep the upper mountain first.

The Pass truck at base
Sunday closing crew

Sweep didn’t take long, and a with the mountain cleared it was time for our evening meeting. Being a Sunday, I brought beer up for patrol, and it was nice to sit back, relax and enjoy some socializing with the crew again. My beer of choice for the second patrol day of the season was a good tasting Lager from Ninkasi Brewing Company.

A cold Lager from Ninkasi

After enjoying the beer and company, it was time to check the incident reports and close up the patrol room, and put a wrap on the opening weekend at the Pass. Brian, Shannon, Shaun and I piled into Brian’s truck and headed back to Oakridge, fully happy with a successful opening weekend at the Pass. Here’s a parting shot of Shannon from Saturday pulling an unloaded 100…

Parting shot of Shannon pulling a 100