I've gotten out ski touring several times in the last week. My neighbors, Kate and Brett, have asked me to join them for weekly Dawn Patrol (starting out skiing before it's light out). We've gotten out twice so far. We start out in the dark with headlamps and make our way up the mountain on the skin track, and as it's getting light we transition to the downhill. It is so gorgeous up on the mountain with the light coming up and the peaceful quiet all around. I am calling our group of three "Roberta Street Dawn Patrol" (because we are neighbors on Roberta Street in Salt Lake City). As an aside, when we got home this morning (at about 10:30am) the cops were at one of our neighbors' houses checking out what looked like a domestic dispute ~ ahh... Roberta Street. Takes all kinds. Gotta love it.
We've been hitting up an area that's relatively close to home and low-angle (not very steep) with lots of aspen trees to keep the safety factor up and the danger-level down. I can't believe how much better it's gotten just in the past week with the snow that we've gotten. Not much happening as far as avalanches so far this year (which is good) and we are keeping our eyes on the forecast and conditions.
Saw my brother's old friend John Carlquist up on the hill today, and hopefully I'll be able to contact him and get out with him a few times this year. It was nice to see him, and he recognized me straight away even though we hadn't seen each other in several years.
Lots of people out today, and as we got back down to the highway after skiing, we sort of had to scurry across the road because there were so many cars going up to the resorts. Kate, Brett, and I all rejoiced as we got to the full parking lot, with dozens of people just starting up the hill at 9:30 am and we were all done and had gotten what very likely were much fresher tracks than they will get today! We also were so thankful that we weren't skiing in the resorts today with the holiday crowds. We are lucky folks, indeed, that we ascend the mountain under our own power!
Christmas Eve I got up to Pocatello for a couple of days with my brother, Stefan and my sister-in-law, Abigail. Nice thing ~ we opened presents just a little early (on the 23rd)! Yay. My brother totally styled me out with some nice garb from Patagonia. We ate traditional Bavarian "brotzeit" dinner and had a great time. Stefan and I took all the dogs for a snowy walk on Christmas Eve day before I went back to Salt Lake. The dogs had a great time, especially Artemis and Ali (Abigail's dog) who found some dead deer bones on the hill. Yum!
And finally, I want to share with you a video that our friend Brendan Nicholson made about Kate and her battle with breast cancer in 2010. I still remember the call when she told me that she had been diagnosed. I feel so fortunate to know her ~ she is such a fighter! Ski touring can be hard, but I'm sure it must pale in comparison to the battle she fought against cancer. She is a true survivor and a shining spirit. I feel blessed that I got to be in the video that tells a little bit of her story. Click here for the link to view the video.
The following photos are from Christmas Eve (dog hike), Dawn Patrol (day one, last week) and Dawn Patrol (day two, today).
|It is dark at 5:30am on December 20th ~|
|Kate & Brett on the skin track|
|Morning light coming through the aspens ~|
|Gorgeous morning view of Mt Kessler and|
the Salt Lake valley below ~
|Mt Raymond (left) and Gobbler's Knob (right)|
|me ~ on the ridge ~|
|Dogs getting a Christmas treat ~|
|Franklin & Artemis are ready to rock the Idaho snow ~|
|Stefan and dogs on the Blackrock Road ~|
|Me and my brother, Stefan ~|
|Artemis loves that fresh mountain air ~|
|Ali girl, very tired after the hike ~|
|Are you beeping? (or were you sleeping,|
while we were beeping?) Avalanche
beacon check station ~
|Kate & Brett on the skin track,|
Roberta Street Dawn Patrol day two ~
|Feelin' the burn ~|
|Kate finding some nice turns ~ rippin' ~|