Monday, March 5, 2007

Kirkwood's White Robe Ski Team

Kirkwood has a new elite ski/boarding team - the Men in White Robes! After receiving over 15 feet of new snow in the past couple of weeks BH and I hosted three skiers and one boarder for the weekend. Conditions were incredible, with plenty of fresh powder to be found across the entire mountain.

After a full day of doing much of the mountain we decided to ski back to the cabin. While the cabin doesn't offer ski-out, it is ski-in - as long as you're willing to do a 15 minute hike from the Palisades. Since we had a boarder with us I decided to guide the group up the climb behind Glove Rock that starts at Sentinel Bowl so we could have a high elevation start. We dropped in off of the ridge to the east of Martin Point and the journey began. Dropping into the trees we had incredible fresh powder conditions - the best skiing of the entire day.

JM, our lone boarder, couldn't keep as high a traverse as us skiers, so we gave him one of the two-way radios and he dropped down early. Now with four remaining skiers I was excited about a fast traverse through light powder back to the cabin. I saw RE fall a ridge behind me, and then he dropped out of sight. We started yelling for him and had no response, so I turned around and went back looking for him. It was past 5pm and getting dark, we're in the middle of the trees in an out of bounds area, and no sign of RE. At this point I was thinking about how fast could I get back to the house and call Kirkwood's Search & Rescue team. I've never lost a guest in the woods on the final run back to the cabin, but there's a first time for everything.

When I was sure RE was lying unconscious somewhere in the forest after going head first into a tree or falling off of a volcanic rock cliff I heard from JM that he hooked up with RE. I later drove up to the end of Danberg to pick them up. JM reports that when he found RE his face was completely white, and he looked severely disoriented. Next time we'll be sure to give RE the other radio on any journeys through out of bounds forests. :)

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