First we got the sweet, then the bitter. But really the first and longest part of the story was driving.
Woke up before the alarm and saw the expected snow in Seattle. We were planning on leaving early and changed the plan to Extra Early as all indications confirmed traffic would be in full blown FREAKOUT Mode. And it looked like a fun adventure testing the new Skibaru® in some real snow conditions. Freakout Mode was confirmed, even at 5:30am, by the few tentative, slow, scared-shitless drivers out early. I was surprised that a number of them pulled over -thanks for letting me pass - and then turned around to bail and go back home. Slicing and dicing around the scared - even had to holeshot a snowplow at a traffic light to get around - the Skibaru performed flawlessly. A combination of the best AWD system around, awesome snow tires (Blizzak WS80s), traction control, and, new-to-me, CVT.
The best test of traction was an unexpected detour. The bridge across the Green River Gorge was closed, due to trees down and an injury accident we found out after struggling to get information from a Because-I-Said-So officer. Dejected, we turned around thinking our day was done. But! There’s the Green Valley Road that bypasses the bridge as we knew from when the bridge was out all season a few years ago. A quick turnaround and we were back to Crystal bound. Through 12” of slippery, snotty snow. Down a very windy slippery hill. Into Bumfuck Nowheresville. Where there’s no cell reception to keep the map going. It was a dark and stormy morning when we caught up to a Huge SUV as they jammed on their brakes, slewed sideways, and stopped. I gave them room. Only a tree across the road. That required 2 traction controlled wheels onto the shoulder, inches from the ditch, and only slightly dragging the treetop down the side of pristine Skibaru. (Just looked, I think it will rub out) We kept going not because we wanted to ski, but because I thought we might not be able reverse our way back up. Although the snow was now only Subaru Clearance deep (9” BTW). And then…. A real road. The Claw bound we were. And then, 410. The best traction conditions of the last 1.5 hours and….. stuck at 40mph for another hour. Who are these guys? Drawn by the big pow forecast, a day off due to closed schools, work, or sick days… and they can/want to ski the steep and deep, but can’t drive in the snow. (today’s quiz - Guess who spent too much time today dealing with crappy snow drivers/vehicles?)
Enter the sweets of the day. The smoothly covered mountain awaited. A little heavy, not expected from sunday’s reports, required just a little twist of the momentum dial and you entered WhoooHooosVille. Memorial’s odd bumps were wind drifts. Door One was in and out fun. LS Trees awesome untracked till it got flat. By our Bear Pits poke, there wasn’t much untracked left (Don’t you guys have jobs?). At 10:00 Exterminator was nice skiing cut pow. Bull Run was even nicer. And we went completely Old School and did C-1 Chairline for the first time since they took out the chair. Well worth it, as everyone there (sorry about you two stuck in the last deep dip) whooped and hollered over the scrubby trees, big fluffy drops, and quick must-make-turns.
Green Valley was weird. Lots of traverses to cross, lots of heavy lumps…. etc. And then, we headed to Bear Pits. A huge, unseen in the flat light, whoopdeedoo slammed the first Amigo, jammed the second, gave me a back zinger, and swallowed Amigoette. And spit her out. Enter the bitter. She tried to compensate for lack of M with extra V, a tough call for lightweights that, subject as we all are, to Momentum=MV2. That usually works. Until the whoopdee is waist high, a field of gray in the flat light world, and slams you into a double ejection head/back/knee extravaganza. A dip that wasn’t there earlier ate my ski buddy. One tough girl she, skied Bear Pits with a cramping back and sore knee. But, our day was done. Too short. But she’ll be back. You pays your money, or time, or driving, with this sport, and we’re all one foggy unforeseen obstacle from a short day.
Limited new snow, but tuesday sounds like a good leftover day. Wednesday starts cold and ends hot. I predict a lot of mashed potato stuff. Looks like rain to the top on Thursday and entering a freezing level battle on friday. Tough calls all around.