January 20, 2001

The Winter of our Discontent

I don't like skiing on beige snow - it is supposed to be white! Rocks are meant for gardens and quarries - not main runs! Same for gravel - lets keep it in the pits! I say I like skiing the trees, but of course I really like skiing the holes between them - we need more holes! Sigh, the winter of 2001 just isn't living up to my fantasy script.

It was well past lunch before I managed to summon enough ambition to head out today. It was warm and there were puddles on the road to emphasis that yesterdays predicted snow had not come. The main runs were in their normally varying states of disrepair, depending I suppose on how recently they had been stroked by the cats. The Bear Chair was down when I got to the top of Elk, so I took my first run in quite a while down Kodiak and was amazed to find that all the alders had been groomed down to stubs. I imagine they just do this with the tillers, but an evil part of my mind wondered about the market for mowing attachments on snow cats.

Bored with the groomed runs, I decided to test the twiggy delights of off piste, starting with Cedar Ridge. While the snow was okay up top, it did get rather crunchy farther down and everywhere it was a challenge to find a line through the shrubbery. I found myself struggling a bit, but this was the first serious run I had done in a while and the crunchier stuff down low was actually better than I had feared.

Buoyed by my survival, I took a trip over to Red Tree and found it to be rather good, perhaps a 'not bad' in a normal year. It was a bit bushy, but positively wide open in comparison to Cedar Ridge and the snow stayed quite good right down to the bottom. There was no one else on it when I was there, but enough people have made the warm trudge up to leave it covered with gentle moguls.

There were signs all the way down the ridge closing Gorbi Bowl etc. and while I didn't notice any right on Snake Main, there were some on the skiers right of it as well.

Over on Easter I was amazed by the number of trees in what is normally the snow field one treks across on the way to Decline from the low traverse. The steep center section of Easter was completely clogged with alders, although you could get down the sides easily and the less steep lower part was not only wide open, but well used. The less traveled upper parts actually had a little loose snow over the soft packed base.

A little before half past five, it is -2 C and mainly cloudy.

Shave and a Haircut - two bits? Enjoying the freshly mown alders on Kodiak

Cedar Ridge could use a little mowing too. Patrollers with scythes?

Looking across Cedar Bowl from the top of Snake Main

Red Tree from near the bottom.

This is looking across Easter Bowl from just where the cat stops on the climb from the low traverse. In a normal year we would be looking at the trail that crosses the snow field up to Decline etc. Not only is it full of trees now, they are big!