Skiing Fantastic Powder

Saturday I skied nearly knee-high powder at Brighton. It was incredible! I've only skied a dozen or so powder days in my life, and Saturday was one of the best. I'm glad Mark invited me and kept encouraging me because I was pessimistically thinking it would storm heavy all day making skiing miserable. While it did snow the whole time, fortunately it was light enough to keep the skiing fun.

Our first run was down the ridge to the north of the Great Western lift. Mark had heard that this area was closed Friday so it had two storms worth of powder buildup. I took an easier run and found plenty of good powder. I love that feeling of floating, like skiing a cloud.

Near the end I forgot to lean back when going from the groomed run into fresh powder and I went over the front, poof, into the soft snow. This would be the first of several falls for the day.

I don't ski much and this was my first downhill skiing this winter, plus it had been years since I last skied powder. Not withstanding my lack of skills, I was having a great time!

On the second run a guy from Star Photo was taking pictures of skiers and he got a few shots of me which I compiled into this animation:

(Am I a weasel for grabbing these image and not buying a photo? Probably. But none of the photos look very good because it was snowing and overcast so the light was flat and gray. That's my lame excuse. But, hey, they got a link from me, that's something. Yeah, still lame.)

By the third run everything was pretty tracked out, but the skiing was still fun. Usually I don't like skiing chop because the tracks and piles throw me around and I feel out of control and struggle to make turns. But this snow was so light I could plow through the chop with not much additional effort. Yeah!

We took several runs on the east mountain and then went over to Milly. I liked the more varied terrain, but I didn't ski it very well (I was also getting tired). We took a few runs along the west boundary and then a few down the center ridge.

On the second to last run I had a nice crash. I had just gone off a nice little bump and landed gently, given the soft snow. So when I saw another, larger ramp I was game. For greater effect, I created a graphic to illustrate the sequence.

(I've been wanting an excuse to make more graphics, like Alex uses so well. I created this one with Inkscape, a free vector drawing program.)

OK, first, the jump wasn't that steep - I've compressed the terrain horizontally to get the features in, but you get the gist, right?

The jump looked tame from a distance, but as I got closer it seemed to grow. It was maybe 2 feet tall with a pretty nice ramp - not too abrupt. But the biggest problem was the landing - it was a bowl. And by the time I could see the landing was bad, it was too late to abort. (I guess I could have fallen over, but hey, I might pull it off, right?)

Sure enough I land on the up-slope on the far side of the bowl and get thrown forward. As I'm going over the front my brain assessed the situation and in that instant presented me with two options: either spring forward and take a face-plant, or tuck and land on my head and roll. I chose the second option.

As my skis splayed out to the sides, the top of my head planted into the snow and provided the pivot from which my body rolled over the top.

I was sure my neck was going to be messed up, but somehow it was spared. But I did hurt my ribs just below my left breast (no moob jokes please). The tightest bending occurred here and it munched my ribs. I got the wind knocked out of me a little bit so when the two boarders who stopped to check on me asked if I was OK, it took some effort to respond.

I untangled myself and my skis (I didn't come out of them) and headed down the slope to meet Mark at the lift. Fortunately I could still plant my poles and breath OK with my tweaked ribs (but sniffing in hurts).

We took one more run and I could feel the ribs getting more sore. Even before my crash Mark was talking about the wisdom of going home before getting really tired and sloppy (too late!), so it was OK to call it a day. I think we skied 4 hours.

Where do two tired and hungry skiers go to eat? The Cotton Bottom. This dive of a bar serves up the best burger I've ever tasted. It's a garlic burger with cheese, lettuce and tomato on a french bread bun. It took a while to get our burgers, but all was forgiven from the first bite. Warning: These burgers have a LOT of garlic and my breath smelled of it for two days, but the taste is so worth it. Just don't have one of these burgers before a job interview / date / sales call / etc.


Ski Bike Junkie said...

I skied Saturday, so I wasn't too jealous until you mentioned Cotton Bottom. I've been wanting to go there for a while. Rachel and I were thinking of going there Friday night, but chose Porcupine (another great post-ski spot) instead. If it was that good, I'm sure I can convince Mark to go there for lunch.

29er said...

I'm not quite as convinced that the taste of that garlic burger was worth the smell that descended on your whole person...

KanyonKris said...

Junkie - Mark and I eyed some other eateries on the way down the canyon, but we held out for Cotton Bottom. Good to hear you got out to ski as well.

29er - Sorry for the smell, my dear wife. Next time we'll go together, not as bad if we both stink, although the kids might complain.

ER Dog said...

Wow the nerve! I wouldn't imagine eating a whole garlic burger without the spouse having one too! I'd never be let in the house!
I'm jealous of the POW! But my back hurt even more just reading your description (and seeing the graphics)!

Watcher said...

Now these are some fine action graphics- well done!