Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The morning commute

I was in a traffic jam this morning. The number of people on the highway was unlike anything I've seen before. Crazy, too, because it was before 6:00 a.m., the temperature was somewhere between 0 and negative freezing-my-tootsies-off, and it was still dark outside. Really the kind of day you'd want to just stay in bed. And yet we were stacked up as far as the eye could see, identifiable by the blue-white glow of the headlights.

The reason for the congestion this morning was something approaching three feet of fresh snow, stable avalanche conditions, and clear skies. Everyone but not their dog wanted a piece of it--we were in a watershed area, after all.

The great thing about the backcountry is that even on a day when it's relatively congested, there's so much acreage that we still weren't skiing on top of each other. Or each other's tracks for that matter.

Since I brought my camera, I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Rick on top of Flagstaff ridge with the sun rising behind him, Rob in the foreground.

Morning alpenglow on Superior. This faced looked like a ski run by the time we left. There were skiers nearly at the summit before this photo was taken at dawn. I have no idea what time they must have started [Update: Superior was bumped out (!?!) by noon].


Rick dropping in:

Followed by Rob:

And Mike, who picked today of all days to try backcountry skiing for the first time. Think he'll be hooked?

Dug blowing cold smoke into Days Fork. Everyone else only had time for one lap. Dug and I risked our livelihood to make two laps into Days. Definitely worth it.

Yes, there were face shots. Here's Dug about to get one.

Yours truly slashing a turn in some Utah blower:

Two turns later.

Back at the parking lot with our ski track behind us. Love the beard, 'cuz it keeps the cold off my face. Snow kinda sticks to it, though. At least when you get lots of face shots.

Dug and I logged nearly 4k of vertical between 6 and 9:30 a.m. We very seriously considered adding one more lap and pushing it closer to 5k, but we have some sense of responsibility.

Yesterday while on my way to work, Rachel called me to tell me that she feels like she's on vacation at our new house, being up on the mountain and all. Reminded me of the tagline one of the guys on the Teton Gravity forum uses: "my life is better than your vacation." Anyone want to argue with that?


  1. no argument here.

  2. nice photos. You're hands must have been freezing. Mine are still warming up.

  3. Absolutely stunning. You might get me to try skiing yet.

  4. jealousy sets in...It's funny, getting into work a little late vs pretty late doesn't seem that crucial anymore...

  5. Rob, let that be a lesson to you.

  6. My jealousy will fade - hopefully soon as I'm tired of tasting bile.