20090106 / Lunch Laps

before / beaver bowl / alpine meadows

One reason to be a ski instructor is the opportunity to ski - a lot.  So yesterday I skipped lunch to check out the snow conditions and the hiking terrain in Beaver Bowl at Alpine Meadows.  I was lazy and jumped on the Roundhouse Chair first for a groomer run down Blue Trail to Summit Chair, then traversed out past Wolverine Face to Beaver Bowl.  Despite the wind and warm temps there was still enough snow covering the PCT to allow sidestepping, skating, and poling to traverse across the ridge.  In just a few minutes I found myself looking down the central chute on Beaver.  It was warm, and I wanted to check out the difference in snow consistency from sun versus shade.  The chute was deep in shadow and looked like it had been skied multiple times already, so I traversed a little further left to the more open slope that had a sun/shadow line from the left wall of the chute and dropped in.

I found the shade a shade-better skiing than the sun, but enjoyed the steep snow all the way down, picking my way down lower Beaver back to Summit Chair.  As I was lifted back to the top I spied the left side of the bowl, slightly steeper, very sunny, but most important:  completely untracked since yesterday's wind filled in all the tracks.  Oooooppppp!!

I cat-tracked, sidestepped, skated, and poled my way back to Beaver, then carried my skis for a few hundred feet up the left side of the bowl to reach my ideal spot to start.  Boards on - snap a quick photo for fun - and dropped in.

The sun has warmed up the snow to the consistency of mashed potatoes, but the rain crust layer underneath was still firm enough to support my weight.  The harshest condition most likely to create a tumble thing was the constant grabbing against every rock shot on the bases of my boards, so I kept the speed up and carved turns down the face.  I was breathing deeply while I shot the after-photo at the base before continuing down.  When I reached the bottom, I still had 10 minutes before lineup, so I grabbed another lap on Roundhouse/Blue Trail before sliding into my afternoon class.

Two laps on Blue, two laps on Beaver.  Lunch never tasted so good.

after / run #2  just skier's left of the tall lone tree center in photo / beaver bowl / alpine meadows