20081225 Christmas Day Lessons

Getting up was hard, but I was motivated:  it had snowed over two feet in the last 18 hours, and I wanted first chair at Alpine Meadows.  Patsy decided that the blankets and pillows sounded better, so she burrowed deeper into our bed as I fed Montana, made coffee, and got ready to go.

My car is up by the house, and it quickly high-centered in the deep snow before I could reach the shallower ruts of Sacramento Ave.  No matter, I just hiked a little to Patsy's car at the bottom of the hill, jumped in, and took off.

I made it to the Alpine Meadows turn-off when I realized I had forgotten my pass.  I said very un-Christmas-like things as I drove back, knowing that I've blown any chance to make first chair.  Or second.  Or any other chair before 10:00am.

Driving back from Alpine Meadows on Christmas Day.

I ran in, had a laugh with Patsy who was waiting with my pass in hand, then headed back out.  The drive was intense, with blinding snow being blown sideways off banked snow towering above the car.  I drove up Bear Creek Valley towards Alpine Meadows, only to be stopped by a line of cars, blocked by a pickup with what looked like an avalauncher gun mounted on the bed.  These air pressured guns launch 2.5 lbs explosive charges, and apparently this gun is how Alpine Meadows does avalanche control work along the final stretch of road before the ski area.

Turns out they were a little more effective than they had expected, and had cut loose a slide big enough to bury the road!  2-3 hours before it would re-open, they said.  My bosses were in the truck behind me, and we pow-wowed for a moment before I decided to go home.  Back at home I promptly got stuck on the moat that had developed turning off of the highway, and two carloads of strangers gave a quick shovel and pull to get my out.  Patsy and I spent a quick half-hour filling in the moat, so I could park the car at the bottom of the hill again.

The road re-opened at 1:30pm.  Meanwhile, anyone who had made it up before the road closure skied laps on Roundhouse.  I spent the afternoon with the gas snow-blower clearing the driveway and parking areas, while my neighbor used his front loader to clear Sacramento Ave and the hill on Oak St.  I finally got my car free in driveway at 4:10pm.  Thanks for helping free the car, Chase!

I so learned this lesson.   :)>