January 31, 2010

Stevens Pass Backcountry

It appears my recent public bitching in the blog world about the bad snow in the Pacific Northwest was worth it. Ava and I went out yesterday with her parents, Rick and Nancy, to the Stevens Pass backcountry and experienced the best snow I've seen all year. With about a foot of new a week ago and 3 recent inches on top of that, I was reminded of what skiing in Oregon and Washington is supposed to be like.

On top of the great conditions, we found a new and wonderful place to make backcountry turns - complete with lots of fun terrain features. And on top of that we were lucky enough to be accompanied by Ava's parents, who rented snowshoes and did a wonderful job following us up and over hill and dale. Special thanks to Nancy for doing an excellent job as designated photographer.

Lots of fun bumps to hop off of on this northwest aspect

Happy Hollidays!

January 29, 2010

Forced Update

So, the skiing sucks in the Pacific Northwest this year, so I haven't been out as much as I was hoping. What have I been doing, you ask? I suppose the short answer is reading. With substantial time off these days and a library card for the Seattle Public Library, this turns out to be an exceptional way for a bum like me to entertain and educate themselves for the price of free. More for myself than anything else, I'll try to recall the books I've read in the last month or so.

Poisonwood Bible
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
Toward the Mystery
Annapurna, A Woman's Place
The Da Vinci Code
Angels and Demons
The Audacity of Hope
Mandela - An Illustrated Autobiography
Gang Leader for a Day
Born to Run

I did make a short trip down to Eugene to visit Jake. During the visit, in addition to playing copious amounts of cards, we went to shoot bows at a couple of the bow hunting shops in town. Prior to this trip, I'd never shot a bow but was nonetheless smitten by the stealthiness and skills required to "harvest" an animal with one. After shooting a few times, it began to feel less awkward and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to hit a small target from 20 yards. I understand this becomes much more difficult in the woods, on uneven terrain, in the presence of a wary bull elk, etc.

I ended up getting an incredible deal on a 2008 compound bow from Bow-Tech (designed and produced in Eugene), and Jake bought a new one as well. Now I'm hoping to have some free time in September to see how lucky I can get, or rather how unlucky an elk and/or deer can get.

Okay, so I have done some skiing. Since there's not much snow down lower, I've gone up higher on Mt. Hood to get some forced turns in, albeit on crustapalooza.

Illumination Rock

Yocum Ridge and Mt. Saint Helens from Illumination Saddle

January 03, 2010

Skiing, Holidays, etc.

I can't believe I haven't posted anything in almost a month! I've been skiing a bit and attending the standard holiday parties. I'm even trying to teach myself to fix simple things on my car, like replacing the spark plugs.

Back in mid December, Ava, Jake, and I had a planned 7-day ski trip in the Three Sisters Wilderness turn into a soggy 2-day epic followed by a trip to Cougar Hot Springs. Then there were a few ski trips to Hood: some with Dad (who recently got an AT setup!), some with Ava, and some with Keith and Jake. The one day I couldn't find anyone to go with me I skinned up to the Hogsback on Mt. Hood and skied down from there.

Jake and Keith skinning up for a second lap in the vicinity of Barlow Pass on Mt. Hood.

Mt. Hood the day I went up to the Hogsback

Keith and I on the edge of White River Canyon

I spent New Years Eve in Portland with Keith, Jake, Phil, Molly, Ava, and Becca. We had an awesome pasta feed and got drunk at Molly's house prior to going out somewhere on Burnside.

Happy 2010!