Thursday, March 17, 2005
37cms of fresh powder.
We arrived at the hill to see a bigger lineup than pretty much any day since opening day. Pretty much anyone in town who wasn't working, or dead, was up the hill today. They opened the hill in stages, so things got tracked pretty quick, on the upside, there was plenty of opportunity to pick up fresh lines.
Highlights of the day:
After a couple of nice runs in the quickly tracked-out timber bowl, I join the small crowd waiting for Currie bowl to open. I'd heard the rumour that it was going to open soon, so I joined the slowly growing crowd. I was early enough to find a spot in the second row. For the next ten minutes, everyone talked to their neighbours and heckled the patroller.
Actually, that was mostly me. You see, according to one of those internet personality tests, I'm a "firecracker" - the classic heckler / troublemaker who can't stand authority who uses his ready wit for a variety of purposes.
I think I made the waiting more pleasant for people, there were plenty of laughs, and the patroller didn't mind too much. After I suggested rushing past the ropes (for the second time), I got into a conversation with some guy about how much people actually respect the patrollers.
And we do.
Big shouts to ski patrollers everywhere. We love you guys. Sure, we may bitch and moan about how you get all the best fresh lines, and are too slow to open up terrain for us, and you get to play with explosives, and cut the lift lines, and ski around all day.
Actually, we're jealous, and if you didn't stop us from getting ourselves killed, we'd have to dislike patrollers as much as we do ski-school instructors. Yes, I know that I'm qualified to be an instructor, but I'm not. So I'm doubley free to make jokes.
Anyway, I think the rope was about to come down.
A hundred and fifty powder-starved skiers and boarders are standing on the western edge of Currie bowl. We are waiting as patiently as we can. Some jiggle their legs to stay loose, others tighten thier bindings or adust the grip they have on thier poles. We discuss for the last time which fresh line we want, and how messy the traverse will be (most of us will be trying to squeeze onto a cat-track about ten feet wide).
A few at the downhill end jump the gun and drop into the bowl. There are cheers and jeers, and then the patroller gives the word, and we leap forward.
I duck under the rope and join the world's largest boardercross. For a few hectic meters, I avoid fallen and slow people, and try not to get in the way of those faster than me. It's more chaotic than rush hour in Rome.
Then I look to my right, and see that the first run is steep, deep, and far less crowded. I drop in and sink waist deep into light fresh untracked powder. It's beautiful, I'm floating down the hill. By the time I make it to the bottom of the first pitch, I have been overtaken by a few more aggressive riders. There's a slight uphill, but I've straightlined it from about halfway up. I will still have to walk a little, the deep snow is slowing everyone down.
Nobody is complaining though, in fact, there's more whooping and hollering than in a John Wayne film. I come to a stop and flick the board round so I don't slide backwards. I unclip one binding and jump step up the last few meters. I'm breathing hard already, it's the adrenaline rush, and the hard work of riding powder, and the sheer joy of it all.
I sit down, clip in again, and ride through more powder, and more powder.
Basically, today was a great day.