Saturday, December 29, 2007

Yin, yang and yoyo skiing

The Green Beret has a tough life. He called the other day (on the toll-free # of course, in true dirtbag style), reporting that it was his day off and he couldn’t decide whether to go skiing or not. Quel dommage! On my day off I have to decide what other things won’t get done if I do go skiing. For example, yesterday, I thought I could go skiing AND get a little renovating done. Well, the baseboard installation didn’t start until about 4 pm and the skiing was pretty good. Yesterday, Telemark Dave and I experienced the two faces of eastern skiing: the lunacy of the holidays at a small ski hill and the peace of the backcountry stash.

I met TD and his two sons just after Hidden Bump opened for the day. I was testing my new tele setup for the first time and it is much better. Less work plus faster turns. This is good! We yo-yoed up and down the 300 feet of vertical until about noon, when the grown-ups had had enough. By this time all three parking lots were full and people were parking on the road. Time to go. While the boys waited for their Mom to retrieve them, TD and I reconvened at the liquor store to select a suitable beverage for washing down the smoked Atlantic salmon and crackers Dave generously brought for lunch. Share this with poutine-eating preteens in a crowded ski lodge? I think not.

After some dithering in the beer section, we settled on Creemore Pilsner. With two tall cans stashed in the pack, we headed for our favourite stash, The Pipeline. Even with the recent rains, there was new snow and we figured conditions could be good. This hill is, literally, part of a natural gas pipeline. Though it boasts almost as much vertical as the lift area, a nice pitch, only a few trees and frequently offers knee-deep powder, the ski-in and snowshoe up aspect (not to mention the top-secret location), tends to keep out all riff-raff but us.

Long story short, our one run at Pipeline was the sketchiest and best run of the day. After recovering from the gut-busting straight-up-the-hill snowshoe trek, we enjoyed the beer, salmon and great view at the top. Snow conditions had deteriorated but the run was still very skiable, if you don’t mind threading your way through bonsai hemlocks and balsams growing up in the cut. I used my alpine tele gear for the experience, which had its pros and cons. Mostly cons, due to weighty boards and stiff boots. I resorted to parallel turns so I could negotiate the bushes and still enjoy the fresh tracks. What a contrast to what we had experienced earlier in the morning, only a 15-minute drive away!

Here are a few pictures from a more recent expedition to the Pipeline:
It's nice to have your own private ski area...

TD earning his turns

TD drops in with Utah hot on his freeheels

Skiing too fast for focus!

SBR found some deep powder

Later on at Bonk Hill, in SBR's back 40

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