’09-’10 Opening! Wahooo!

Welcome back!

THE ’09-’10 SEASON IS OFFICIALLY HERE!     Last week was annual ‘training refresher’ week that the Ski Patrol does each year.  We were sitting in ‘class’ in the chapel concentrating on avalanche safety and infectious disease, occasionally distracted by ski-tourers skinning  and snowboarders booting up the hills around us.  At one point one of the grooming cats flew by the windows in a cloud of powder snow.  Everybody’s spirits lifted because we knew (General Manager) John was out checking to see how much snow was accumulating.

He must have liked what he saw because late that afternoon, the whispering started:  Why are plans were being made to cut the length of Sunday morning lectures.  Can we shorten the talk at the afternoon Lift Evac practice?  Why is the office door shut….the General Manager is in talking with the Patrol Director.

Finally, the official  call got made:  Plan to hustle home Sunday to get your gear in order.  Unless the weather deteriorates, expect to start back to work setting-up Monday morning!  Smiles all around and cell phones come out:  "Can I change to an earlier flight?  I gotta get home to get my gear then get back!"   "Can anyone give me a ride to my storage locker?"  "Mom, it looks like I won’t be home for Thanksgiving this year."  


We’ve had 2 pretty nice days of setting up.  Today was sunny and the skiing was sweet, though mostly we were carrying heavy bundles of bamboo or rope, and with low snow conditions, ya’ had to be cautious.  Let me say a little bit more about that……

"EARLY SEASON CONDITIONS" means just that!  Ungroomed slopes are like skiing the true backcountry.  Contrary to what most people believe, thin snowpacks can actually be more unstable than deep ones.  (More about that in a later post!)  Keep this in mind if you venture off the groomed runs.  Groomed or not, be extra careful and treat every place you ski like you’ve never been there before.  Don’t go ripping over that rise you enjoyed so much last March, because there was about 6 feet more snow then.  You might dive right into a creek, a rock, or over a drop-off.   Generally, you’ll be better off if you just SLOW DOWN a little!  

And remember, UNMARKED HAZARDS EXIST! and we don’t want anybody getting hurt!

4 thoughts on “’09-’10 Opening! Wahooo!

  1. Rob

    Hey guys,
    So I know each season is different, but say you had just two or three consecutive weeks to spend at Crystal this season, sometime between late December and early March, based on all your past years of experience at the mountain, when would you plan your trip?


  2. Keith Newton

    Reading this blog makes me homesick for my days as a Ski Patroller. There is just something exciting about skiing with too many bamboo on your shoulder and a couple hanks of rope that makes me think of good times and I hope I didn’t forget my rock skiis. Lift evac practice, OEC refresher and boot/ski packing just gets you excited for ski season. Get into it and enjoy, cuase’ soon you’ll be wondering why you can’t just shoot the tourists?! See ya on the slopes.


  3. wapiti_bob

    This will be my 40th winter living and working full time at Crystal/Greenwater and it never gets old. I was as excited this week as I ever have been and managed my annual skin up the area the day before it opened.
    Don’t forget to tell all the patrol and interested parties about the slide show at the Greenwater Community Center tonight Friday November 13 at 8:00. John Huston will be the presenter him becoming the first American to go the North POLE unassisted unsupported.
    See you there, keep up the good work.


  4. Keith

    Hey Patrol,
    Thanks for letting us public do a little vertical packing off of High Campbell Saturday. After a bit of side stepping (very good for keeping snow) Powder Bowl was sweet. the rest of the mountain was in great shape also.
    Kudos for a great opening weekend!


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