The Epistle of Q — Chapter Sixteen

There are some days when there are fewer queries or even questions floating around, particular around my head. Today is definitely one of those. But one somewhat significant one did come up early this morning.

Q #1
If one has access to media that will show the snow conditions early, why then wouldn’t that person make use of that media and then respond quickly and directly (especially if one possesses a ski pass)?

Our ski hill has a couple of webcams that provide quick snap shots of the weather and basic snow conditions near the main lodge. These cameras appear to be on 24/7 which means that as soon as the dawn begins to break a person can get some advanced insight into what skiing might be like for the day. Now the hill management is not always as forthright about which runs are open and what the overall weather might be for the full day, but there are options for acquiring the latter info.

This morning, even though I had sensed, due to the rainy conditions in the Valley on Sunday and the one weather chart I have access to, that it would likely be a good day to go skiing. But did I then get up early, check the site and get driving sooner than usual? Noooooo…took my time, made porridge, got dressed, picked up Sandy and off we went…the road for the drive up was not in great shape and we didn’t break into sunshine until crossing over the final pass. But the sight before us was beautiful and there already were a number of vehicles in the parking lot.

Finally got onto the hill about 20 minutes after the lifts started running and when we got off at the top, a virtual powder skier’s paradise awaited us all. Now I am not a good powder skier but a couple years ago I got a second pair of skis — Dynstar Chams. The best way to describe them is to think about a float plane and look at the pontoons it possesses. When I step into these skis and given my girth, I look like one of those float planes. But the good news is that these skis run through, up over, and around powder runs.

The first couple of runs were generally pretty good, except that there was very little virgin snow left as all the early-birds had already had a couple of runs. This was sad, because we could have been there right at the start and had the perfect conditions. By the fourth run off the top of the mountain it was getting pretty shredded and while the skis would still work, my quads and knees were far less forgiving. So we headed over to the triple chair (which is significantly slower) to see what was available there. Of course, quite a bit had now been skied; but, it was not all a waste. A couple runs, including a wide one called Stagecoach, were still not that skied out, so there was again some wonderful, though at times touched with a little clumsiness, downhill skiing through good powder.

Alas, more people followed us and quickly these runs were cut up, piled up and messed up. And once again, quads and knees suggested that it was time to pack it in for the day. It was obvious that a twenty minute earlier start would have made it most probable that we would have got ten runs in and probably eight of them would have been in reasonable powder. While I was exhausted at the end of it all, I had managed to get through 8 runs and over 3,400 Vertical Metres — my top speed though was under 60 km/h!! A reasonable day, just one that could have been much better if only I had saddled up a bit quicker.

Wednesday looks like it will be the next day I have some time off to do skiing. I will make sure that I am up no later than 6:00 a.m. and as soon as the webcam shows me the weather, if it is good the SUV will start warming up. I don’t need any more powder this winter…I’m quite content to ski groomed runs or at least packed powder… But I do want to be close to the first chair that loads. There is no excuse for being lackadaisical… And I was soundly reminded of that today — and throughout the afternoon and early evening my knees and quads kept driving home the point…

By the way, if you haven’t been getting outdoors very much lately, probably you need to try to go skiing this week — if not downhill, then cross-country…just don’t start/keep putting it off. Get up, get dressed, get going!!