Saturday, February 23, 2008

Vail ski week 2/16-2/23, with Barbara, Josh, Ben, Ruth, Mike A.

Back Bowls

Vail- had record setting snowfall in Dec/Jan. Unfortunately, our week set a record for the least amount of snowy days this season. Still, we had excellent skiing. After all, it's still Vail.

New Snow & Blue Sky-
The week started and ended with 5" of new snow. Not really deep powder skiing but enough to lay down new tracks in virgin snow and keep things soft in most places. And the snowless days were mostly sunny, good for visibility and photos. All the instructors were commenting on how great it was to see blue sky for a change!

Highline Sunrise

Steep & Deep- In Blue Sky Basin. This was my favorite run of the week! Mike and I split off from our little posse to do this one. The snow was fantastic, big round moguls, steep pitch, enough space between the trees to make my turns. I felt like a skier going down this run.

Mike contemplating.

Prima Cornice- On the frontside. Both Josh and Ben did this run in ski school. Josh told me it was steep with big moguls. That sounded like fun. He didn't mention that they always enter through the second gate. Mike and I went in the first. From near the top it looked pretty extreme and I was ready to turn around, but Mike thought it looked like, "Steep and Deep". It wasn't. It was much tighter between the trees, not much room to turn. How do trees grow on something this steep? It was unnerving just trying to find a perch to rest on up there. It was clear that catching an edge meant that there was nothing to break a fall, straight down, but the trees. It got a little better as we went down and to the left, and at about halfway we came out to a more open area, steep but with big moguls. Mike commented, "it looks like a beginners run!" This part was soft, snowy, really nice. I loved the second half but it wasn't worth the first half. Next time we'll know- take the second gate.

Tragedy- Ruth, at 85, is always an inspiration to us youngsters. We all hope that we'll still be pursuing our beloved sports when we're her age. We also hope that she can keep skiing, for as long as she wants, into maturity. That's why it was particularly upsetting when she got hit by an out of control girl in the back bowls. I didn't see the crash but I saw the two sprawled skiers making the long slide to the bottom of a steep pitch. My heart was in my throat when the snow cleared and I recognized the colors of Ruth's jacket. It took her a long time to get up but she was able to ski down to the lift and ride up out of the bowls before the pain really set in. The ski patrol gave her a toboggan ride down to the hospital where she was told that she had a fractured upper arm. We were all extremely sad to see her catch a flight home the next morning, her arm in a sling. The good news is that the fracture should heal very well, better than a soft tissue injury. We are sending her lots of love and healing wishes.

Click on small pictures to see full size.