The ski area on Mt Ashland was busy today, as one would expect on a Saturday after Christmas. It’s a violation of my retirement rules to go anywhere on a weekend or a holiday, but the lure of fresh powder was just too great. I’d rather ski mid-week and outside of the vacation calendar but sometimes you just have to strap it on and go.
My ski partner and I spent most of our time on the mountain waiting in the long, slow lift lines but when we did ski we found plenty of good snow. Mt Ashland on a powder day is something to behold—it is like a plague of locusts. The mountainside gets carved up pretty quickly! There are many powder-skiing enthusiasts in the Rogue Valley.
Mt Ashland is a funny place. The worst weather is usually on the road up the mountain and in the parking lot. We were lucky to have a reasonably easy drive. I hit a patch of ice about three-quarters of the way up and got a bit of fishtail action but I was able to steer on and stay in control. The wind was howling and the snow was blowing when we were gearing up but once we skied down to the lift line it got better. You don’t ski down the hill from the parking lot in many ski areas. Most of them require you to clamber up to a chairlift, but at Mt A you get a nice little run in before you load.
Skiing is something that ought to work in a pandemic. You spend most of your time outside and you try real hard to avoid other skiers! The lift lines are bit of a problem as people tend to crowd together when queuing up for things, but it can be done. Mt A’s employees did a good job encouraging people to keep their distance from each other. Almost everyone was masked and the lift operators, for the most part, kept after people to stay masked. Face coverings are pretty common at ski parks, as you can imagine, but I for one rarely cover my mouth when I’m skiing so I had to come up with a solution. It worked, mostly. I could stay covered but it took too much fussing so I’ll have to improve on that. Skiing is a gear-intensive activity so solving gear issues is part of the fun.
In March my ski buddy and I were in Tahoe hoping to catch some freshies at Alpine Meadows. Alas, things were shut down and we never got on the slopes. In fact, we had a bit of a harrowing road trip back home! That was the last time we tried to ski so being able to click it in this morning felt great.
We are at the mercy of the weather gods. Do your snow dances, people!
I’ll keep you posted on any further alpine outings.