You Should Have Been Here Yesterday

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Forrest breaking trail on the Throne

As predicted yesterday was “The Day” to call in sick and go skiing. It was by far our deepest snowfall to date this season at Crystal, and it finished with several inches of very light powder. While it wasn’t all blower (the high southerly wind from the night before stripped the Frontside and Grubstake) it was pretty darn close.

After completing two avalanche control routes (Throne, which was deep and Brand X, which was deeper), I stood by to open gates at Northway. While familiar faces stomped their skis and listened quietly as I reminded them all to “keep their partners in sight”, I enjoyed the 10 minutes of banter. It is not very often that a ski patroller has the attention of such a large crowd.

It reminded me of two things that I love about Crystal:

  1. The locals: We have some of the most dedicated group of skiers here. Considering that the closest city with real employment is 1.5 hours away, it’s amazing to see people drive 3+ hours every day just to ski here. Perhaps since many of our locals once owned shares in the company we’re blessed with skiers and riders that take ownership in the place. I like that.
  2. The compartmentalization: With both Northway and Southback, we can stagger the opening of our inbounds terrain. This means you can ski powder all day long. If you don’t make first chair so you can rip the Frontside to the envy of all the latecomers you can still be first in line at one of the Northway gates and get first tracks. Some days you can even do the same out South. If you’re lucky you can find yourself at the top of an untracked run on a pristine powder day, not once but twice or even three times. And that my friends is the closest thing to heaven you will ever find. Trust me on this.

Just one tiny little reminder. When you are standing at a gate and a patroller opens it so you can ski that beautiful pristine line while she coils the rope, please don’t stampede her or run over her skis or push her down. Remember, on powder days your true nature comes out. It’s easy to be Mr. Nice Guy on a groomer day.

As an example, here’s a hearty shout out to Joel Hammond. As I rushed to open Gate 10 at Northway yesterday, he told me to wait so he could give me a hug first. Now that’s a gentlemen. High-five Joel. I hope your run in Orgasm Meadows lived up to its name.

 

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4 responses »

  1. Tuesday was the best day I’ve ever had at Crystal. Amazing snow, great visibility, calm winds and good friends. High-fives all around.

    You are right too, Kim. Skiing with the mid-week bunch is way mellower than the aggro attitudes I sometimes encounter on weekend powder days. Many locals won’t even ski weekends. Personally, I’d rather not miss out.

    My secret to happy weekend powder days? I head straight to chair 9 for low-angle powder turns and tree stashes until the weekend warriors are ready for the Bullwheel. I don’t care how bad the powder locust infestation is, there’s always fresh tracks to be found.

  2. Shoulda been up there – NO DOUBT! Looks as though Jack Frost saved a little bit of that sugar for MARCH!

    Regarding your request to enhance ones consideration for patroller saftey, specifically your plea to refrain from stampeding directly over said patroller’s person and/or property – I can dig it.

    Now strap on those fat boys, lean way back, and mello on down that grade!

    JD

  3. Pingback: The Ski Industry: Caught between inbounds and out-of-bounds « Kim Kircher

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