Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'Shoulder' season comes to an end

I'm just delighted to be able to ski O'Brien Creek only a month after my surgery
I consider the "shoulder" season the time when I'm neither hiking nor backcountry skiing.
That's usually sometime during hunting season and when the snow becomes dependably skiable.
This year I've had one other definition:  the time it is taking me to recover from my shoulder surgery on Nov. 21.
These past couple of weeks I've gotten back on skis and snowshoes and am cautiously making my way into the backcountry again.
A week ago I skied to the top of Porphyry Peak at Showdown and tentatively made my way down on the groomed runs.  This turned out to be a mistake.  I just wasn't ready for the possibility of falling on that arm. The skiing was really a side to side traverse.
On Saturday, Wayne Phillips and I did the O'Brien Creek run --- about 8 miles --- in deep powder.
Luckily, I didn't fall.  The deep snow kept me upright and I got a good workout and a reality check on where I'm at in my recovery.  I'm far from 100 percent, but I can still get some turns and enjoyment out of being out in the hills.  It will be a while before I freely telemark.  My balance is affected by my need to protect my shoulder.
Today, Christmas Eve, my wife and I returned to Kings Hill, this time with snowshoes where we did a loop just north of the ski area.
Katie struggles on her snowshoes in the deep powder on O'Brien Creek trail
Snowshoes would have been a better option, but what the heck, I got out and enjoyed the tremendous powder.
Wayne Phillips enjoys a break at an old miner's cabin on O'Brien Creek, the traditional lunch spot.

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