January 7, 2023 – First turns of the new year

I was on duty for my first patrol day in January on the 7th, which was also the first Saturday of the month. Conditions were looking to be ok, with about an inch of new snow overnight and sunny skies in the forecast. I headed up in the morning with Shaun in tow, and we made it to the ski area in good time, arriving early to the morning quiet ahead of the hustle and bustle a few hours later.

Early morning at the Pass
Shaun before the morning meeting

Our patrol had a good morning meeting, and then we headed up to the top of EPA to open the mountain. After our first lap, I snapped a picture of a few of the gang at the top.

The crew up top

The plan for the day was to get all of our toboggan instructors through a continuing education clinic, to ensure everyone would be on the same page for teaching the sled candidates coming up over the next couple of months. We wanted to start that early, so I snapped a picture of Jon and Anna at the top of EPA and headed over to Peak 2 with several others to get started…

Anna and John at the top of EPA
Gathering for the sled ICE

Once at the top of Peak 2, I found several others getting a few Cascade 100’s ready to roll down Waldo. We talked over a few points applicable to proper sled running, then headed down to the rollover to chat some more….

Patrollers heading down Waldo
Talking over sled training tips

We talked over a variety of issues associated with running the 100’s, including proper use of the brake and how to effectively run the tail rope, as well as proper weight distribution for skis, etc. After our discussion, Craig headed down with Brian on the tail and we all slid down Waldo. I snapped a few shots as everyone headed down, capturing Mt Ray in the background….

Patrollers talking over proper sled mechanics
Cruising down Waldo

After making a couple of runs, we called it good for the sled running and headed up to the top of EPA to play with the sled pickets that Laurie was interested in. Basically the sled pickets were just mountaineering pickets with some sewn runners and carabiners that work pretty well to anchor the sled in most snow conditions.

Laurie and the crew
Demonstrating how the anchors work with resistance on the sled

We spent a little time practicing with the system, and it definitely worked well holding the sled on a slope with a load applied to it. Hopefully we won’t have to use the pickets anytime soon, but it’s nice to have the option in the event they might be needed.

Laurie pounding in a picket
Laurie and Joe talking it over

By the time we wrapped up the sled work, it was time to head over to Peak 2 and get ready for sweep. I was able to catch up with Shaun, and we swept Escalator together. I let him go down ahead, and snapped a picture of him at the bottom looking quite small from up above.

Shaun sweeping Escalator

Peak 2 sweep went quickly, and soon we were all back up top and ready to head over to EPA for upper mountian sweep. I captured a few pictures of the SPY as well as James and Julie with the SPY up top before we headed over.

Patrol 2 SPY
Peak 2 Sweep Crew

After making the short hike to EPA, we swept the upper and lower mountains. The frontside sweep went smoothly (no major incidents or courtesy rides) and we were back down at base in time for me to snap a few more pictures, including Shaun below as well as a pic of my cold beverage of choice for the afternoon, a tasty Cloud Core Hazy Pale Ale from Ecliptic Brewing.

Shaun after sweep
A tasty Ecliptic brew

After our evening meeting, it was time to dive into the beer and chips/dip, and it felt great to hang out and catch up with fellow patrollers after a fun day on the hill. Good camaraderie with fellow patrollers is one of my favorite things about being on patrol, and probably the main reason that I keep coming back year after year. Like many days on patrol, this day was a great day, and I’m hoping to have many more this year filled with good snow and good friends! Here’s a parting shot from the day….

Parting shot from sled training on Waldo