Sunday, January 20, 2008

A snow 'event'

So much snow that they had to shovel it off the Showdown lodge roof

Good enough snow in our neighborhood to ski around the park gazebo
I can’t remember a week with better snow.
Showdown Ski Area said 38 inches fell in the past seven days at the ski area southeast of Great Falls.
Recognizing one of the great snow events of the past 10 years, I took a snow day on Friday and enjoyed the 21 inches that had fallen overnight.
The snow fell so fast that Showdown didn’t have time to groom the hills.
The few skiers who showed up found themselves mired in waist deep powder.
But who was complaining?
By afternoon the sky cleared illuminating a winter wonderland.
The snow was so deep that I ventured onto black diamond runs I would usually avoid --- like Dynamite. I didn’t realize there was a cliff there.
After Big Seven had been skied enough that I finally went over there and found myself relishing anything that had been packed down some.
On other runs, like Glory Hole and Panhandle downhill skiers left a single, straight track to the precipice. There was untracked powder in every direction.
From ski instructors I heard that easy runs like Golden Goose were impossible to get down because there wasn’t enough vertical to overcome the powder.
At one point I went out of bounds to check whether the ski tracks I had laid down a week earlier on the Ranch Creek run were in any evidence. No such luck. Even getting to that backcountry run was difficult. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to try and break even a moderate run like O’Brien Creek. I’ll leave that to a younger skier.
I was so worn out fighting the snow that I gave it up by 2 p.m. and went home.
On the way out I was amused to see Showdown employees on the roof of the lodge taking down snow.
I know this heavy snowfall will make it tough-going in the backcountry, but I’m delighted to see such a dump.
I was still worn out Saturday, so I didn’t go out.
On Sunday it snowed in Great Falls almost half a foot in my neighborhood, so I took out my skinny touring skis and leather boots and laid down track around Russell Park.
I relish the opportunity to ski near home.
As to the rest of winter and forecasts of snow, to quote my President, “…bring it on.”

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