Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

Death Star

Eastern exposures.

Second season is well under way.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

On Getting Slapped

Glommy skin track in the Bitterroot a few weeks back.   

I played hooky at the end of March to spend a solo day in the mountains.  After concerns about new snow stability caused me to bail on my intended line, I started down my back up plan, a lower-angled southeast facing shoulder, and skied fifteen hundred feet of cream cheese before arriving at a steeper step.  Hackles up because of the new snow and underlying sun crust, I cut a couple turns before pulling out of the fall line.  No movement, so another couple turns, and again, all was still.  On the next pass, though, I got a little overeager, took one turn too many, and found myself on my back after a shallow slab cut loose behind and took me out at the knees.

Bought the ticket, but didn't have to ride the ride.  Lucky.  

I scrabbled and kicked with the sudden adrenaline of a fat kid chasing an ice cream truck, but (of course) couldn't self arrest.  After several long seconds, though, the snow hung me up on a tree and I was out of it.  

Bad juju.

The slide rushed on, over a band of cliffs, and piled up in a gully below.  I hugged the tree for a while.  Thought about luck.  Outside of a tweaked shoulder and a slightly squished ski, I was fine.

Lessons (or all the things you already knew):

Little slides are still much stronger than you can ever hope to be.
Spring snowpack is not a license to assume green light conditions.
Stick to your plan--I wouldn't have been caught had I kept up my traversing pattern.
Take stock when you've been slapped.  Think on it.  This happened several weeks back and it's been at the forefront of my mind since, and especially each time back in the mountains.
Don't get complacent.  It's easy to do, especially once you start to think you're even remotely hot shit.  You're not.  None of these big hills gives a damn about you, even if you think you love them.
Realize when you're not at the top of your game.  School has kept me out of the mountains for long stretches this winter, and I wasn't as in tune with conditions as I should have been.  But boy did I need to ski.
Consider the impact of your actions on others--the acute sense of disgust I experienced once I realized I might be headed for a seriously negative outcome was remarkable.  What an idiot, I thought, to get myself into this stupid situation just because I wanted to slide around on some fancy sticks.  And how disappointing for the people who care about me.
Finally, get back on the horse.  Remember what got you bucked off, and keep your eyes peeled.  This game is still safer than driving fast, or eating a daily Big Mac, or watching Fox News.  But that doesn't mean it's safe.

Still lots and lots of skiing left this year--and all the years after.  Looking forward to it.