Nov 16 2010

Ten-eleven begins, day 1

After teasing myself with a shot from last season I just had to get out and make some turns myself last weekend. It was great to get out on the snow and immerse myself in a climb. Pepper was ecstatic once we got on the snow, alternately dancing on her hind legs and sprinting in circles, then scooping her nose beneath the surface to drink full the scent of crystals.

The sky was cloudy, and further up the trail the wind slapped my ears with its chill force. There was no expectation of great turns since it had been a week since the snow fell, but there was more snow than I had hoped for; not quite the two-to-three feet I’d heard of, but even when settled it was a solid 12 inches (30 cm). It was crusty nearly everywhere, either from hammering by the wind or warm temps. In either case, it was thick enough to provide some resistance, but not enough to avoid breaking. Mmmmm, breakable crust.

I switchbacked enough on the skin up to know there were very few places that were soft enough or firm enough to support linked turns, so it would be catch as catch can on the way down. Indeed, the most turns I linked in a row were four, followed by a classic auger turn, complete with a minor flail-a-thon to get back upright but even that was good for a self-depricating laugh in a descent that was otherwise unworthy of remembering except as a day on snow that still beats one behind a desk.

Snow-Forecast is predicting substantial amounts of snow in the Sierra this weekend. Could mean resorts around Lake Tahoe will open for Thanksgiving. What a novel concept. I remember when skiing at Thanksgiving was a given, but then the global climate went warm for about 30 years. In the past year there have been fewer solar flares than than anytime in the past 30 years or so. Hmmm, is there a correlation? I don’t know, but if the sun dominates our global thermostat, and solar flares are an indication of the energy it is putting out, or lack thereof, this could turn out to be one deep, lasting winter.