A Day in the Life of a Ski Patroller


Let’s face it. Any day in the mountains is better than a day in the city. We all know this to be true. A few decades ago, I chose the life as a ski patroller, so I could spend as many days in the mountains as possible. 

Today was an especially beautiful day at Crystal. At right is a picture of the ski patrol station at the top of Forest Queen taken this morning. That’s the King in the background.


Left is the hike up the Throne, leading to the King. Today the bootpack was fast, the steps work-hardened into a conveyor belt after the past few days of eager traffic.




The lenticular cloud hovering over Mount Rainier looked just like a halo today, proving that perhaps there is something sacred about the beautiful volcano overlooking Crystal.

The view from the top of the King was, as always, spectacular today. I spent a few minutes at the summit today, taking pictures and inhaling the landscape as if I might be able to take it with me. Notice the clouds sprouting up to the south. Perhaps this is the precursor to the storm coming in tomorrow. Forecasters are calling for more snow this week, and my fingers are officially crossed.

There are still a few fresh lines in Southback. I took this picture on sweep, after finding plenty of turns, some crunchy, some fluffy, in Silver Basin.


Hopefully, the surface hoar that grew the past few days will be destroyed as this new storm blows in. It should come in warm, perhaps even as rain tomorrow afternoon. Then, by Saturday, the moisture should crank up and the temperature drop, bringing in loads of snow this weekend. Better yet, next week looks like continued cold storms hitting the mountains.

All in all, the life of a ski patroller is pretty awesome.

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