(Slide show embedded below. Float over the image, click anywhere but the large play button and the slide show controls will appear in the bottom of the frame.)
We waited until 11:00am for the firm surfaces to soften, and to finish a fine banana pancake with Vermont Maple syrup (brought to us by Diana) breakfast, and then we stripped off our outer coats and began our mountain explorations. After a few runs on Disney skiing the east facing slopes, we lapped up and over Lincoln to Judah and the Summit Lift where we were rewarded with fine views of Donner Lake and the mountains to the south. The sun and warm air temperatures had worked their magic and the side country snow had softened to a manageable consistency - with a thick layer of corn formed over the firm frozen snow below. We headed out of bounds and slowed our pace as we relished the quiet, and calm of the high Sierra slopes. Each run we picked a slightly different line down through the widely spaced trees on the north side of Mt. Judah just above Lake Mary - each time heading just a bit further out, and running a bit lower down in an attempt to squeeze the longest run before sneaking back in bounds just uphill from the lift's base. At one point, we stuck our skis in the snow, and made "Sierra Lounge Chairs" out of our equipment. Reclining there in the warmth, we stripped even more layers off and enjoyed a relaxing lunch. As the day wore on, shadows eventually began to creep down from the mountain ridges, and the wet surface began to harden making our navigation more problematic. On a few occasions Diana's bark sampling exercises had us both concerned, but she always seemed to bounce back up, untangled from the foliage, and anxious to find some more turns.