Thursday, December 16, 2010

Skiing in a Storm

I was super psyched to get a new pair of sunglasses and goggles from Julbo a couple weeks ago and have been wearing my new glasses around town. They are definitely fashionable enough for the city but I knew I needed to test them out in the mountains. Fortunately, both Jonathon and I had an open day in our schedules for skiing on Tuesday.

After a two hour drive out of Seattle, through the crazy traffic associated with the urban jungle, we finally made it to the Alpental backcountry trailhead. It was snowing lightly and forecasters were calling for heavy snow and high winds later in the day. It had rained 5 inches in the mountains a couple days prior, so we might have been pushing our luck thinking we could fit in a day of skiing.

We put on our skis and started skinning towards Pineapple Pass. My new sunglasses are just the right color for the flat light associated with snowy weather and I was glad to have them for the uphill portion of the day. Since the snow had melted so much from the recent rain event, many of the streams were now open, making for some sketchy crossings. The recent avalanche debris from the massive rain event had blanketed the skin track. We continued up, getting a little wet from all the snow but not too concerned about the storm. As we started to get higher and move out of the trees, the snow and wind started to pick up. It must have been snowing 2 inches an hour and the wind was starting to blow the snow sideways so that the exposed skin on my face started to sting. It was a good time to put my new goggles. They did not fog up and the lens color is ideal for bright and flat light. Jonathon observed some cracking on the snow surface and we decided to call it a day. We skied down and started to make our way back to the car.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Early Season Skiing

I went skiing!

This is not a miraculous accomplishment but it felt special to strap on skis for the first time in a couple years and not be in pain! Skiing use to be a big part of my identity. I grew up in Maine skiing the icy slopes with the family and moved to Utah entirely based on the skiing. Since moving to Washington I haven't been able to enjoy the skiing here due to injuries and lack of time and money. There was the winter that my leg was crushed by a boulder and I was literally on my back for three months. The following winter I attempted to ski with about a pound of metal in my leg and every time my shin pressed on my boot, the metal pressed against my muscles, tendons and nerves in the most uncomfortable way possible. Last winter I had surgery to get all the metal out of my leg. I don't think I have quite solved the lack of time and money issue but I don't think I can use the "I'm injured" excuse anymore! I feel so grateful and lucky to have made this type of recovery and I'm so stoked to get back to skiing.

Baker backcountry with Mt. Baker in the distance

I had a mellow day of backcountry skiing near Mt. Baker. I have to admit, I actually felt nervous about making that first turn down the low angle slope. What if it hurt? What if I fell and embarrassed myself? I forced myself to point my skis downhill and what do you know....skiing is still fun and I kind of remember how to ski! My technique is rusty and my legs are out of shape, but it doesn't matter. I am having fun and feeling psyched to be back at it!