Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve tele

Snow covered, frosty Big Baldy

H. Wayne Phillips below Porphyry Lookout
I haven’t been physically inactive; just digitally so.
I’ve skied the past five consecutive days: three in town and two at Kings Hills Pass.
The snow in both places is great!
The cold and wind have been intense.
The last couple of days there has been a pattern of low cloud cover that burns off around 1 p.m., when the sun breaks out and brightens the landscape. Unfortunately, the wind and cold don’t abate.
It has been a long time since I recall such a consistent and consecutive string of bitterly cold days.
It is supposed to break this weekend.
I hope it is followed by more snow.
The hillsides are adequately covered for skiing, and I suspect the cold has built snowbridges on runs like O’Brien Creek in the Little Belts. However, the snow is blowing around, drifting and crusting.
One encouraging sign is that the north face of Porphyry Peak (the Showdown ski hill) has deep powder. It hasn’t completely set up yet, though. We started down it and thought better of it Christmas Eve. Instead we hit Big Seven on Showdown several times.
I’m afraid the wind and warmer temperatures are going to put an end to my neighborhood skiing. Each time I’ve exercised that option I’ve skied hard for an hour to an hour and a half. I come home dripping with sweat while the outdoor wind chill temperatures are in the minus 30 to minus 50 range.
To all my friends, Merry Christmas.
The backcountry ski season is upon us.

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