Today we went up to Whistler and carved as many turns as we could on the slushy snow that’s still clinging to the mountain. It melted out fast this year; there’s no snow at all below mid-mountain, and even the lower half of the runs above Solar Coaster have been roped off apart from a single fading cat track. The thin snowpack and warm spell in early spring took a heavy toll this year.
In spite of the poor conditions lower down, we were able to take some fun laps in the Jersey zone and get some decent carving in before the snow turned sticky and grabby in the latter half of the day. Then we skied as far as we could between the rocks and grass, rode Wizard the rest of the way down, and raised a glass on the Merlin’s patio to the season past.
Thirty days. I didn’t ski as much as I wanted to, but it was definitely a season that stood out for the quality of the snow that I did ski and a continued shift away from the resort and into the backcountry. After a great start in December the storms simply didn’t come the way they have in the past few seasons, and work commitments made scheduling ski days a huge challenge, but we made the time we did get count.
There are moments from this season that I want to remember forever. That unbelievable storm at Baker, where we dropped from pillow to pillow in the trees and our tracks filled in and were buried deep in the time it took the lift to deliver us back to the top of the run. The untracked basin out near Elfin Lakes where we skied hero powder under a perfect blue sky as 2012 ebbed away. Meadow skipping at Round Mountain the day after the huge storm that kept everyone out of the backcountry, mellow lines with unbelievable snow and the entire mountain to ourselves. And of course, the one that stands out above all the others: Cayoosh. The day I stood on top of the world, and looked out on a view that had never been more amazing. Nothing has been quite the same since then.
So many memorable days, but never enough. I’m starting to move into bike mode – I’ve logged a couple of longer rides, and signed up for the UMCA year-rounder challenge as motivation to get some serious distance under my belt this summer – but as always, it’s a grudging transition. I love the summer, the day-long rides and the ocean swims, but I miss the monochrome world that melts away every spring. It’s always such a long wait for the snow to fly again.