March 6, 2021 – A March Patrol day at the Pass

After a pretty sweet February at the Pass, March was rolling in more like a lamb than a lion. Even so, we had a few inches of snow overnight, and Saturday was looking to be a pretty good day for Patrol 2. The official report was a couple of inches of new at the base, but it looked like there was a bit of wind, and I was pretty sure there was more than that up top. I arrived early, and geared up before taking a few pictures prior to our morning meeting.

An early March morning at the Pass

Anna & Dan outside the patrol room

Before we headed out, I was taking a few photos of P2 getting ready to open the hill. Dave Schweitzer grabbed my camera and told me to get in the picture, and took the below photo of most of P2 ready for the day…

P2 before opening

After taking a few pics, I headed out with avy gear in tow. The plan was for Hutch and I to a quick look at the avy route, given the potential for wind loading the night before. Upon arriving at the top of EPA, we headed out, and made the short hike to the top of Peak 2 after skiing down to the saddle. The snow stake at the top was at 108 inches, with about 6 inches of new.

Topping out on Peak 2

After a quick beacon check, we headed out. Kicking cornices along the ridge didn’t produce any results, so we worked our way out towards the nose. Upon reaching the nose, we decided to rope up, with Hutch on the sharp end and me belaying. Not surprisingly, we got a couple of slabs to cut loose by ski cutting, and although they weren’t huge, they definitely would have ruined your day.

Kicking cornices

Hutch on the sharp end of the rope

We finished the avy route about the same time as the area had Peak 2 ready to go, and then it was time to ski down, hit the lift back to the top, and head down to the base to put the gear away. After hanging up the rope, I headed back out to spin a few laps on EPA, then helped Dan with some sled work at the base, changing out the sled pack and hauling it over to Twilight for loading…

At the base

Ready to head to Twilight

The remainder of the day was spent doing a bit of sled work, and getting some good turns off the top of the mountain. RTS was skiing really nicely, and I made a few runs there, enjoying the steep slope and some of the trees on skier’s right:) I also spent a bit of time up top, hanging out with Dan while he was on bump…

Dan in the bump shack

While killing a bit of time up top on EPA, I snapped a few pics of some of the patrollers as we gathered in anticipation of Peak 2 sweep. Dan, Anna and Matthew proved to be willing subjects.

Anna & Dan atop EPA

Dan & Matthew outside the shack

Once the photo-op was over, we headed over to close Peak 2 without incident. Upper mountain sweep went off without a hitch, as did lower mountain sweep and before we knew it, the day was over and it was time for the evening meeting outside the patrol room.

Evening meeting to end the day

Once the meeting was over, it felt good to head to the car and change out of snowboard boots and into some comfortable clothes. Several of us hung out with the parking lot crowd, enjoying a beer and good company after patrol around the campfire. My beer of choice for the evening was a really tasty Midnight Malt Cocoa Porter from Pelican Brewing.

Midnight Porter by Pelican Brewing

Sitting around the campfire, drinking a cold beer with a bunch of other fully vaccinated patrollers, it almost felt like things were close to normal roughly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began. One thing was for sure — with all the uncertainty over the past year, and this winter in particular, it’s been nice to have the resort open and to be able to leave the worries of work and the pandemic in the valley while enjoying good snow and the camaraderie that patrol affords. Here’s to hoping this excellent season continues!

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February 13, 2021 – Avy work and pow turns at the Pass

Saturday looked to be a pretty good day on Patrol, with a load of new snow coming in overnight along with strong winds. I left my house early, and arrived in the patrol lot around 7:30. There were several campers there from the night before, and people were already pulling into the main lot, so I knew it was going to be a busy day.

Early morning at the parking lot

The hill before opening

It snowed pretty hard all morning, and by 8:15 am the rest of the patrol was gathered at the base and we started our morning meeting. I grabbed the avy gear and rope, knowing we’d need to head out on the avy route before we could get Peak 2 open. After the morning announcements, we headed out to open the hill.

P2 morning meeting

We had to hang at the base of EPA for a little while, since the lift had some icing issues from the night before, but once it spun a full revolution, we headed up. Dan, Jon, Brian and I headed over to Peak 2 for the avy work, and Buz went up to get equipment taken care of.

Waiting to load EPA

Buz on the way to Peak 2

At the top, we did a quick beacon check and then headed out. Dan and I noticed right away that we were able to get shooting cracks while doing ski cuts along the top of the ridge between Northern and June’s, and figured we’d find some interesting results in the meadow.

Dan arriving at Peak 2

Kicking cornices

We worked our way out towards the Nose, then Brian and Dan headed back to setup for the lower route. Jon and I continued on, and roped up once we got to the nose. I donned the harness, and cut some cornices on the Nose that produced some pretty large snow releases. Next, it was time to ski cut the ridge to the west of the Nose. I was glad to be doing so while on belay, since this was one of those days where the whole slope propagated on my first ski cut. It’s always impressive to see the snow run several hundred feet below, and the approximately 18 inch crown and resulting slab that went would have definitely ruined someone’s day.

John after running the ridge

We skied down through the meadow after controlling the rest of the ridge, and then regrouped with Brian and Dan after making a few nice turns. At the bottom of the meadow, I called the route clear, and the patroller at the top of the hill lifted the saddle closure. We made it down to the bottom and were just able to load the chair when the public started showing up at the base.

Jon riding the Peak 2 chair in a whiteout

Dan and I hung around for a few runs on the back, enjoying the fruits of our labor from the morning avy work, and got a couple of good runs in on June’s and Northern before heading back to drop off our gear. On the way back, we needed to give a courtesy ride to a guest that was having difficulty on Twilight.

Dan skiing Northern

Once back at the base, we took the sled back to the top of Twilight, and finally made our way to the car for a quick bite to eat. It continued to snow, so lunch was short due to the weather, and the fact that we were having a pretty busy day with incidents on the hill.

Enjoying a break at the car

I headed back out on the hill after about a 15 minute break, and made my way back to Peak 2. Upon riding the chair back to the top, I need to backup Patrick for a knee laceration injury at the base of Boundary. It ended up being a pretty deep laceration, so I headed down with the sled, ultimately getting pulled around the haul road by Rick and the snowmobile. I was pretty stoked to be riding my Amplid Dada for the haul. Later in the day, we had several more incidents, ultimately ending with 11 incidents and 3 courtesy rides, making for a 14 sled day. Needless to say, all of us were happy when the hill closed, and after a quick evening meeting, it was definitely time for a cold one.

Evening meeting

My beer of choice for the evening was a tasty Hazy Trail, from 10 Barrel Brewing. It definitely hit the spot as I relaxed by the fire and enjoyed it with some of the motor home crowd. Eventually, it was time to head home, but given it was a long weekend, I was looking forward to coming back with my son on Monday.

Enjoying a cold one after patrol

Shaun and I arrived around 8:30 on Monday, and helped open Twilight. After opening, we headed up to spin a few laps on EPA, and then went to Peak 2 after lunch. Shaun was having fun, and wanted to try some harder runs, so we hit Escalator, Destiny and then Northern.

Shaun skiing Escalator

It was his first time ever down Northern, and it was great to see him excel. After spending some time on Peak 2, we headed back over to Twilight to finish off our day with a few runs on the front, before heading out around 2:45. All in all, it was an excellent weekend on patrol at the Pass, with good snow as well.

Matt & Shaun on Peak 2


3-6-2011 – 350 work at the Pass

Sun was in the forecast and it looked to be a fun day at the Pass. After our morning meeting, we headed out to open the hill, which went smoothly. A short time later, I found myself helping with the sled training crew on the frontside. The goal for the day was to get some work in with both the 100 and the 350. I split my time between shooting photos and riding in the sled as ballast for Raleigh, Amber, Val and Norm.

Running down Timbur

We spun a couple of laps with the 100 on the frontside, and then it was time to bust out the 350. Amber and Raleigh were rocking it, and made it look easy…

Amber & Raleigh running the 350

Heading down Timbur Glades

Before long it was time for lunch, and then some more training. We continued to work the frontside, and it was Val’s turn to spend a little time in the handles of the 350.

Val & Raleigh running the 350 unloaded

Amber pulling Cyndy

Before long, the hours of the afternoon wore on, and it was time to put the sleds away and get ready to close the mountain. Sweep went smoothly, and soon we were down at the base for the evening meeting before calling it a day. All in all, it was another great day at the Pass. Here’s a couple of additional shots from the day.

Amber & Norm above the lake

Cruising down the Glades

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