Rail Jam and Easter Sunday at the Pass

Late March days at the mountain usually bring fun conditions, and this year was no exception. On Saturday the 23rd, the forecast was calling for a bit of fresh snow and cooler temperatures, and the mountain was looking good when Shaun and I arrived early to unlock the patrol room. After our morning meeting, we headed out to open the hill and I snapped a few pictures of Shaun, Silas and Edward lined up at the base of EPA waiting to load the chair. A few minutes later we hopped on the lift and made our way to the top to open runs.

Edward, Silas and Shaun at opening
The SPY ready to open runs

Once up top, patrollers headed down to open runs after getting the saddle closure up. The word on the radio was that the resident Sierra Nevada fox was out at the top of Twilight, so a few of us headed that way once we had Peak 2 open for the morning.

Gretchen, Emily, Hannah and Amber at EPA
Fox hunting at the top of Twilight

By the time I rode the Twilight chair and made my way to the top of Twilight, the fox was gone but I found Hannah, Matthew, Gretchen and Jenn hanging out, and it was fun to just hang out and enjoy the quiet morning. A bit later, I worked my way to the top of EPA where Anna was going over knots and fencing work with the SPY

Anna showing SPY the ropes
Anna posing with the recruitment sign featuring her skiing pow on RTS

From the top of EPA, I checked my watch and decided it was a good time to head down and check out the rail jam at the lodge. After a brief pit-stop in the patrol room for a bite to eat, I headed out and saw skiers and riders sessioning the rails near the Midway lift, while DJ Toby kept the beats pumping.

DJ Toby at the rail jam
A competitor airing off a rail

There were a few riders that were definitely killing it on the rails, and several patrollers and other folks enjoyed watching the jam session unfold. After enjoying the scene for awhile and downing the rest of my coffee, I got called away to deal with dispatching a couple of patrol to an incident, and then headed up to enjoy a couple of runs before getting ready to close.

Anna and Jenn taking in the rail jam
Amber on RTS

Closing the mountain went off without a hitch, and we closed down Peak 2, then upper and then lower mountain before heading into the patrol room to enjoy some bean dip along with cold beers for patrol and cold sodas for the SPY. My beer of choice for the evening was a tasty Cold Smoke Porter from Planktown Brewing Company, and it was the perfect pairing for the cold, snowy weather.

EPA closing crew
Up In Smoke Porter from Planktown Brewing

After changing out of ski boots and enjoying the camaraderie of fellow patrollers, as well as some good food and beer, Shaun and I locked up and headed down the hill for home. We were on the schedule with Patrol 2 for the next Sunday for Easter, and after a quick week, we found ourselves back at the Pass ready for another fun day of riding and keeping the mountain safe. I was especially stoked for the Easter brunch we had coordinated for the day thanks to Amber’s great idea the weekend before.

Base area view in the morning
Amber and Anna posing with a Cascade 100

The morning started off per usual and we got the mountain open after our morning meeting and medical minute. It was nice to see Mindy out getting some skiing in, and she was making a few laps with Brad’s son Carter, who was dressed up in a Shark outfit for Easter. They both were all smiles at the top of EPA.

Mindy and Carter at the top of EPA
Shaun, Ryan and Scarlett in the air on EPA

After that I headed in with a few others and enjoyed a great Easter brunch. The food dishes were numerous, and the quality of the entrees was excellent. The deviled eggs were probably my favorite, but the ham in the crockpot was a close second! After eating my fill, I headed out with a full stomach and sat bump for an hour or so at the top of EPA to cover for one of our patrollers who was out. It was a good time to snap a few pictures of the SPY and enjoy the views from the top while the snow softened.

Self portrait at the EPA camera
SPY at the top of EPA

While hanging out, Emily made her way to the top and it was good chance for me to shoot a few pics with my telephoto lens. It has a great bokeh and I grabbed a couple of shots below, including the one of Emily pointing to her season pass from when she was like 5 :).

Emily at the top of EPA
Emily and her season pass

While hanging on bump, it was also a good opportunity to snap a photo of my beer of the day (which I drank after we were done), which I had in my pack and wanted to shoot from high up on the mountain. The below shot of my Tropical Fresh IPA from Deschutes Brewery was taken just off the top of EPA, with Diamond Peak in the background looking all fuzzy.

A tasty IPA from Deschutes Brewing

Once I was done with bump, I made a lap down Timburr and the snow was starting to corn perfectly. It was night and day difference from my opening lap on the run in the morning. At the bottom, I caught up with Dan and Amber who were game to try Timburr, so I turned around and did it again.

Dan and Amber on Timburr
Dan cranking turns on Timburr

After that, Amber wanted to ski RTS, so we spun a couple laps on it, and it was in pretty decent shape. I was surprised to see some snow was still hanging on the trees as we headed over the side of the run.

Amber on RTS

After four or five runs, my legs needed a break and I stopped up top at EPA where several other patrollers were hanging out, enjoying the perfect weather. I caught a few pictures of Anna and Emily, including Anna lounging in the sled and then the two of them reflecting in the EPA camera.

Anna relaxing at the top of EPA
Emily and Anna reflecting in the EPA cam

I snapped a few more shots, including the one below of Emily and Anna that might be my favorite patrol picture of the season framed in front of Diamond Peak. A 183 mm focal length did the trick.

Emily and Anna with Diamond Peak

Someone (James?) even offered to grab a photo of all of us with me in the picture, so I got out from behind the lens for a change.

Patrol 2 crew at EPA
Amber & Emily

Soon after the photos sesh at the top of EPA, it was time to head to Peak 2 for closing. I found the SPY crew waiting at the top, ready to close runs, and was stoked to get a picture of them all together. This year’s Patrol 2 SPY crew was all-time, and probably the most competent group of ski patrol youth we’ve had on patrol since I’ve been on. Pictured in the first photo below are Silas, Shaun, Edward, Ryan and Scarlett.

The Patrol 2 SPY crew at Peak 2 closing
Peak 2 closing crew

Since I was a bit late to the party I ended up closing Boundary, and it was nice to close the run after everyone was gone. It reminded me of trips out to Pulpit in year’s past, coming back to the area after it had closed and having to skin back up the run to get back down the front.

Looking up Boundary at sweep

Peak 2 sweep and then upper mountain sweep went smoothly, and I headed down RTS with Edward as an “extra” to help with lower mountain sweep. Lower mountain sweep started a few minutes later, and with that the month of March came to a close.

Lower mountain closing crew at Twilight

At the base, everyone enjoyed a beer and/or some sodas, as well as some leftover ham and other tasty food from our morning brunch. It felt great to get out of ski and snowboard boots, and after socializing for a half our or so I reviewed incident reports and closed up the patrol room for the night. Shaun and I hit the road a few minutes later, after locking things up and cleaning the tables, and it capped of a fitting end to a great March at the Pass. Below is a parting shot of Emily from the top of EPA….

Parting show of Emily at the top of EPA

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