May 6, 2023 – May I Ski More, Please?

A week after the end of the “regular” ski season at the Pass, Shaun and I were looking forward to some bonus lift-served turns during the extended season. With the healthy late season base, the Pass was planning to operate for an additional two weekends in May, and we were signed up help on Saturday. I was hill chief for the day, and after recruiting Brian and Shannon the night before at the patrol banquet, we had a total of 5 patrollers to take care of the hill.

Last early patrol morning of the year

As usual, we arrived early at the Pass, and it was nice to be greeted by a little bit of fresh, wet snow. We didn’t really have a morning meeting, and headed out early to chat with the lift ops while waiting for EPA to spin. A few minutes later, we made our way up the hill and to the top of EPA, where the snowcat was still busy grooming.

Waiting to load EPA
Watching the groomer up top

We spun a couple of laps and got the fencing setup and the front opened, and then worked our way over to Peak 2 to open the backside runs. The snow was skiing decently early in the morning, and then started getting sticky as the morning wore on. Shaun and I headed down to the base, and Mindy had all of her waxing supplies out and was putting on a clinic. She offered to wax Shaun’s ski’s so her gladly took her up on it, and I threw a coat of wax on my board as well….

Mindy putting on a waxing clinic

After the waxing, Brian and I headed into the lodge to grab some breakfast, and ended up talking to Tim for a half an hour about various things happening with the area and planned for the coming year. It was nice to sit back and relax in the lodge for a few minutes, and enjoy the rather slow day for a change in contrast to the hectic days for most of the season. After breakfast was over, we headed out and spun a few more laps.

Brian and Shannon with some free swag

Dan and Joe made their way to the hill for some lift-served turns as well, and I met up with them around 11:00 am or so and we ran laps on RTS. Although usually by May we would be skiing RTS together, under normal circumstances we’d be doing it by climbing the hill so it was nice to be able to use the lift-assist.

May turns on RTS
Joe ripping RTS

Around noon I headed in and ate lunch, then found myself back at the top of EPA to sit bump for awhile with Shannon, Brian and Mindy. It was good to hang out in the bump shack and enjoy the conversation, and made even better by the fact that the hill was slow and we didn’t have any incidents.

Hanging out in the bump shack

By early afternoon, I was ready to take a few laps with Shaun, and we skied Good Time and a few other runs. I pulled the camera out and snapped a few photos of him coming down, and was pretty happy with how he was skiing at the end of the season compared to where he was at to start it — he definitely improved a lot over the year.

Shaun enjoying a lap on Good Time
Enjoying some of the last lift accessed turns of the season

After skiing a few runs together, we headed into the patrol room for some mop-up duty. The snow was melting hard, and as a result we had water in the aid room and patrol room. We’d mopped it up a bit in the morning, but it was pretty fruitless. Regardless, Shaun wanted to do some more work so we spend a half an hour mopping and brooming water out of the aid room into the garage and out of the building.

Mopping up the patrol room

By the time we were done, it was time to close Kris Kross and start Peak 2 sweep. I’d assigned Shaun the duty of closing Kris Kross, so I helped him set up the fencing, and then we radioed that it was closed. Given that we only had a few patrollers, we left the closure in place and swept Destiny and Boundary to help with sweeping Peak 2.

Kris Kross Closure
Headed up Peak 2 after sweep

It started snowing heavily during sweep, and it seemed like a fitting way to end the season at the Pass. Even though the mountain would be open for another week, this was going to be our last day of the season and it was pretty special to have it puking snow on us in May after a great year!

James and Shaun on the final Peak 2 chair of the day

Once back to the top of Peak 2, Shaun headed back to the Kris Kross closure and waited for upper mountain sweep to begin, and I made the short hike to the top. We took the obligatory photo of the closing crew, including Brett and Gordon from the area as it continued to dump snow, and then shoved off after last chair to close the hill.

The crew ready for upper mountain sweep

Jan led lower mountain sweep, and it went off without a hitch. Brian took a 350 down since it wouldn’t be needed for the rest of the year, and rode it down Timburr Glades cowboy style.

Brian taking down a 350 to base
Heading in via KP

We swept our way to base, and it was time to enjoy a frosty cold beverage after a long season and good day of patrolling. My beer of choice for the day was a Perfect Storm Double IPA from Oakshire Brewing and it was just right! I caught a picture of it outside the patrol room and then enjoyed it thoroughly.

Perfect Storm Double IPA from Oakshire Brewing

Back in the patrol room, it was still looking like a lake, so Brian, Shannon and I thought it would be funny to make a “No Lifeguard on Duty” sign and leave it for for Hutch who was coming up the next day. It turned out pretty well I thought…

A little patrol humor

Finally, we gathered our gear and it was time to hit the road, satisfied with a good day and a great year. All things considered, even though this season was one of my most challenging in patrol in a number of respects, it was definitely one of my favorite years ever. Getting to spend so much time with Shaun and seeing him flourish in the SPY program was awesome, and the conditions this winter were all-time. My main hope is next year comes close to being anywhere as good as this year. If it does, I know we’ll all be happy skiers and riders!


  1. Why aren't you in Montana?
    July 25, 2023

    Miss that mountain sometimes. Thanks for the regular posts about it!

    1. Matt
      July 28, 2023

      Thanks Jack, and I love your handle! 🙂

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