Monday, February 23, 2009

Feb 23 - The Big Dig - latest storm cycle

The snow has slid off the roof and finally connected with the ever growing pile on the ground creating this snow version of a surfing wave tube. Luckily here, it is protecting the living room window, so we get some filtered light through the snow slump. I am afraid to chop a hole in the "wave" for fear it will disturb the delicate surface tension holding the rest of the snow away from the window and the side of the house. Perhaps with a few more freeze/thaw cycles I'll get brave and make a porthole.

Looking at the north side of the house - you can see we are particularly buried. The upstairs bathroom window is completely occluded, as are most of the downstairs windows. My project for today was to carve out a viewing port in the back of the house so we can still see Castle Peak from the sink window - one of our favorite afternoon and sunset activities. Today I also excavated the upstairs deck after taking this photo to keep the snow from pushing on the double french doors.

The excavation begins and I punch through an opening between the upstairs deck and the kitchen window well.

Now there is a bit of a notch to work with and I try to imagine the angles from inside so the neighbors houses are obscured, but the views of Castle peak beyond are not.

Exhaustion makes me stop, and the views are obscured by the lowering clouds. We'll have to see how all this works out on the next sunny day!!

Fun and games in the snow. Is recess over already? Do I haveta come inside already?

How many more ways can I procrastinate before starting on my taxes?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Feb 20 - sunny patrol day - trip to Devil's Outlook

The weather has heated up again, so I leave first thing while the track is still frozen from last night to check up on Devil's Outlook warming Hut. Here is our Patrol "sled" - a snowmobile pulling a supply trailer, with first aid supplies, my camera (of course), warming hut re-supplies, garbage, water, and some excavation tools in case I get stuck.

I get to the warming hut, and look at what I find...a perched, drifted, overhanging snow pile, looming over the door, awaiting an unsuspecting skier upon which to pounce. Hmmm. This does not look safe. I spend the first 15 minutes here trying to dislodge the cornice without getting clobbered myself. At least once it fell off, I had fewer steps to chip ice off, since the cornice basically covered half the staircase with heavy consolidated snow, which I just stomped down and left in place.

A quick glance at Devil's peak, and I'm off, to the next project for the day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2009 Feb 18 - storm breaks - the sun returns

When is a car not a car? ......when it merges with a 6 foot snowbank. I've started parking right next to the steep bank, so I only need to shovel off one side of the car, then I simply drive away from the snow wall, leaving the previously buried side free of its snowy embrace.

Another morning of shoveling. The blower service takes care of 1/2 of the driveway. We simply excavate the car from the snowbank after the blower comes, and move it to the other bank, then a few hours later the blower comes and does the other side. Pretty neat.
Storm clouds clear and the sun reemerges - along with an odd collection of buried cars. Here, Sean has extracted his Volvo from a snow bank - with the 5 feet of fresh snow still intact on the roof. It all fell off before he got out of the parking lot (and we had to shovel it away!!!!)

The winter wonderland is visible again. Skis make no sound as they glide through the light powder. Trees release their cargo of snow - held up precariously by the overloaded branches. Whoooomp!

However, the sun brings the temperature up and icicles grow from the massive Royal Gorge roof. We need to rope off the area around the eves and the snow and ice slides off mid-afternoon right into our corralled safety zone.

Diane misses a right turn in the trail, and careens into the loose snow trailside. This excavation required removing both skis and rolling counterclockwise until she reacquired the packed trail. Doing otherwise just resulted in her sinking deeper and deeper into the soft snow deposits.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Feb 16 - Seventh Day into the storm cycle

After a long day on the slopes, I came home and dug out the first floor doors and windows. Now, over a week into this storm cycle our first floor is completely under snow except for near the front door, where the snow removal service helps us out. Here is a view out the back door - trying to keep a fire exit clear enough to open the door and step outside - beyond the alcove, the snow is well over my head now.

Sean and I work to make some room for the groomer to pack down snow beneath the surface lift at Royal Gorge. We were wallowing up to our armpits off the side of the lift path - Sean's victory stance is as he managed to free his upper body from the drifts.

Mirkwood forest, with snow blasted trees - testament to the fury of some of the nighttime blows. Gusts have been up to 80 mph over the ridges, but actually here in the deep forest, is usually much calmer.

View of the house this morning on my way to "the office". That's the second floor deck you are seeing. Below that, it's all ice age and packed snow. We can step off the 2nd floor decks right onto the surrounding drifts.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2009 Feb 12 Castle Peak / Andesite Peak with David S. and Jeff K.

- Google Earth route map

Remember, you can click on any picture to enlarge it.

We head up the traditional Castle Valley trail - fresh snow ago - breaking trail.

This is from the base of Andesite Ridge on our way to Castle pass.

Ridge rocks on the west ridge of Castle peak above Castle Pass. Jeff kept us moving forward as the alluring slopes below this saddle beckoned. Let's see - ski down champagne powder, or break trail upwards.... we choose to continue upwards for greater rewards.

Rimed crumholtz bravely survives on the ridge. Beautiful day.

We carefully try to pick a protected line climbing the ridge. Can't ski down if you don't climb up. Weather has begun to arrive, but we continue upwards...

Jeff rips off the summit ridge. Happy man.

Skiing down Castle Peak to Round Valley. Can you find Waldo?

Done with Castle Peak - we follow the lower ridge to Andesite Ridge and Andesite Peak.

Traveling along Andesite Ridge.

Monday, February 9, 2009

2009 Feb 9 - Royal Gorge - 24" of new snow!!

We received over 24" of fresh cold snow in the last storm cycle, and wandered off in the woods to explore. Once we got away from the road on the Royal Gorge trail system, we linked up with some county roads and wandered off the beaten path to look for new sights and perhaps some wildlife tracks.

The scene was stunning - up close. There was still too much weather for grand vistas, but the snow accumulations on the rocks and trees held our interest as we broke trail through the fresh blanket of snow. In places the snow was as light as cold dust, and in others, it weighed our skis down like sand bags.

Tomorrow will definitely be a rest day!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

2009 Feb 3 - South Face Mt. Judah

We take the lift up Mt. Lincoln, make a brief hike out along the ridge towards Mt. Anderson, and drop off the south west face to the meadow below. The snow rolls littering the slope came loose as we skied, cascading down all around us as we came down the steeper sections.

Snow was mixed off Mt. Lincoln, but after climbing up the south side of Mt. Judah, we found the perfect spring snow we had come in search of.

Tim rips down wonderful corn eyes ahead to the next turn.

Such a good ride, we skin up and climb for another lap - this time a bit to the east.

Kick turn.

A happy man. Tim is all grins today.

Tim's neighbor, drafted at the last minute for the trip, shows off his fine tele style.

Graeme is grinning - turn after turn.

A narrow rock chute we all aimed for on one down trip.

back up to Roller pass.

Donner Lake.