|How I got started skiing year-round: Innocently enough. I took my xc gear up to Blanca Lake, S.E. of Monte Cristo Basin on a hike in Nov., 97. My friend, Leo, and I blasted around for a few hours and went home. It didn't hit me that I was close to 1 year until the next May, when I tried to organize a tour to Goat Rocks, and none of my touring mates would commit. I then told my wife, "Let's go to Hood and Bachelor next weekend. If I can ski during the summer months, I can get 1 year of once-a-month skiing in." She's always up for a good road trip. Since then, the streak has taken on a life of it's own, bringing agony and ecstasy to my homefront, depending on how close to the end of the month it's getting to be. I've gotten to know where the hidden stashes are, however small and distant.|
Criteria for what counts as a ski trip: 1) Ability to put on boards (xc or rando), climb up, and ski down. 2) Figuring that either 30-seconds or 10 turns of continuous skiing brings back those familiar feelings that only sex approaches. 3) Finding snow somewhere accessible less than 3 hours drive from home, wherever that is during a given time period.
Biggest threat to my streak: September, 2000: I had an overnight planned to Ptarmigan Ridge, by Mt. Baker, with 2 of my more reliable touring pals. It was to be 09/30 and 10/01/00, covering 2 months. An enormous warm front blew in, dragging rain by the inch. Needless to say, they both cancelled on 09/29. YIKES!!! I couldn't/wouldn't let it end, so I awoke at 4 A.M., promptly got stopped by a local cop for expired tags, and drove to Bagley Lake, at Baker. The snow there was sun-cupped, glacial, and had just enough soft covering to barely set an edge in. Climbed up a couloir, lost a pole, bounced off a rock with my ass, and made 20 slides (not quite turns). Driving home, I asked myself, "What in the hell am I doing this for? Is it worth it?" Well, the next month, went to Muir Snowfield after a 1-foot dump, and skiied 3000 feet of vert on a bluebird day. Then I answered my own question with a resounding "YES!"
Type of equipment I use: Mostly randonee, but I've been known to use my skinny skis to accomodate my less-vertically-inclined friends, as well.
Strategy for skiing through the low season: Mt. Hood, Bachelor, Muir Snowfield, and Table Mountain by Baker. All snow, all the time.
Worst and best backcountry ski trips: BEST: Anywhere there's snow, but probably 6 days at Mt. Waddington in the BC Coastal Range in May, 2000. 750 miles of driving, 45 minutes by heli, and just 8 people for 6 days, nestled amongst over 25 glaciers! 3 feet of fresh on May 31!
WORST: See above, "Biggest Threat". Also, Dec., 98, when my son was born, I skiied a 212-vert. garbage heap in E. Wisconsin called "The Resort At Olympia" 5-below, 25 mph winds, and manmade snow, but they were the only turns I made that month.
Skiing activities in the past year: Highlight was doing The Ortler Traverse, in northern Italy last spring. 6days of touring 3900 meter peaks, and 5 of those days were bluebird! Also, great skiing on the Blackcomb Glacier in July; a first trip to the Paradise Glacier in September with Lara Pazemenas; and the Pinnacle Ê"Glacier" event, where we skiied 48' of vert 6 times! Also participated in the Life-Link Randonee rallies at Alpental and Stevens Pass. Those 2 days were the most difficult athletic endeavors I've ever been involved with!!