By Ann Driggers
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Unfortunately Father Christmas has been delivering plenty of fresh powder to my homeland across the pond while Santa Claus has dropped the ball here in the Rocky Mountains. Though I have managed to get a few turns in here and there, it's been rather skinny and the avalanche danger has made things a little sketchy. Winds have been moving what little snow we have into hard slabs on steeper slopes and causing quite a few slides in the backcountry. Some skiers have had lucky escapes in recent days. So what to do? Well, with a snowkite the wind can be harnessed and powder turns can be had on the flattest of terrain.
No avalanche danger whatsoever! Of course there are other dangers so I did swap out my holiday hat for a helmet before whizzing backwards and forwards on this small lake.
And I even got some powder turns!
Although Christmas has now passed, Santa is not off the hook. He needs to get with Ullr and make him give us some snowy love.
By Ann Driggers
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The power of Ullr worship knows no bounds and its impact is now becoming quite evident. Our activities have shown some exceptional results. Review with me if you will: The Grand Valley, annual average snowfall of 21.5 inches, received more than 9 inches in one day (December 8th). This extraordinary event shut down the schools, taxed the City plow crews to their limits and enabled me to take a snowmobile tour of the Redlands!
Furthermore a number of cross country ski tracks have been put in all over the valley and judging by the current forecast (the extent of the power of worship knows no bounds) will be around for a while.
Providing our local ski area, Powderhorn, with a 28 inch dump (second only to Wolf Creek in the state), this same storm enabled its early opening. Yesterday lucky skiers were able to enjoy darn nice conditions as the area opened 80% of its terrain.
While it is early days, I am proud of what we have already accomplished. That being said, we must not slack off in our worshiping activities. There are many months of winter yet to come. Let's make it a good one!!
By Ann Driggers
Monday, November 30, 2009
The storms are rolling in. Snow is falling deep and fast, covering the mountains with a deep mantle of white. Fat flakes float through the air clumping on my eyelashes. As I ski through two feet of fresh I choke as the powder sprays into my face. Conditions are amazing......wait....it's all a dream! I wake and look out the window. The sun is shining again, the skies are blue and the earth is brown. Where is the snow? There's only one thing a skier can do: the passage from autumn to winter has to have an assist. The weekend before Thanksgiving I dedicated my life and soul, and those of many friends, in the name of Ullr, the Norse God of Skiing (not snow - thanks for the research, Brittany). We created our own version of a stimulus package - the Snow Recovery and Reinvestment Act - whose purpose is, and I quote directly from the document as it was written: making instrumental celebrations for snow creation and retention, equipment investment, snow sufficiency and science, assistance to unemployed (and underemployed) skiers, and their mental State and local fiscal stabilization, for the ski season ending as late as possible in 2010, and for other purposes (like having a good time). Note: with hindsight I realize that I neglected to specify when the snow was supposed to start and we seem therefore to have had a slight hiccup in the proceeedings. However I am sure it is a temporary glitch and the just rewards of our Ullr worship will be forthcoming. Here is some photographic evidence of our worship activities:
Sunday morning, we continued worship with a skin up a skinny Powderhorn:
We tried out Chair One for size. Five is a squeeze, but doable. In fact I bet we could have got six on there if they weren't busy taking the photo:
Surprisingly there were a few turns of good snow to be found. Not bad for Powderhorn in November:
And there was a nasty pile of ice, I mean man-made snow, at the base which made for a nice view of the cathedral:
And also provided some interesting skiing. Or should I say yet another option to demonstrate true worship before the altar. Now, please, purleeze, SNOW!!!! (Yes I know I am begging and starting to look very foolish).
By Ann Driggers
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Our Indian Summer came to a screeching halt this past weekend but, truth be told, we were ready to break out the skis. Today we finally got the chance. The Grand Mesa had a good foot or more of very light and dry fluffy stuff so off we went for the inaugural ski of the season, albeit for a turnless cross country outing. In fact our group of four had a diverse collection of sticks from skate skis to cross country to a leather tele set up and full on plastic tele boots and touring skis. It worked though, as Greg skated back and forth between the group like a dog which tired him out thankfully, and Chad who has a torn up ankle needed the plastic boots for support. It was a chilly day topping out at 12 degrees farenheit so we headed out a few miles on the County Line trail. It was in great early season shape with twigs sticking out in only a couple of spots, thanks to some grooming from the Grand Mesa Nordic Council. There were plenty of others out there enjoying the fresh snow and sunshine.
At the end of our ski we practiced some avalanche beacon searches, making sure the beacons and operators were in tip top working order for a winter of backcountry skiing. Twyla and I packed in six searches for the boys two so I'm not sure what that means other than I'm going to stick close to Twyla when skiing in avalanche terrain this winter.
And of course, because we were so happy that winter has finally arrived we made the requisite snow angel.
By Ann Driggers
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Other than winter's brief false start this has been the fall that keeps on giving. The leaves have been blazing yellow and orange for weeks and the weather has been gorgeous - downright balmy and bluebird skies. Although technically not an Indian Summer - the definition being a warm sunny period after the first frost and before the first snowfall - it might as well be. For sure it qualifies for being taken advantage of. Now that the clocks have changed I have been forced to play hooky from work twice this past week. Twice! I just can't help myself, it's so good out there. Both times I hit up the Kokopelli Loops out in Loma. It was not difficult to persuade others to join me in milking the final days of our Indian Summer with some sweet sunny singletrack riding. The pictures speak for themselves:
Krissy Steele leads the way on Horsethief Bench
Kate Belknap and Lenore Bryant above the Colorado River as it winds through Ruby Horsethief Canyon.
We watched a couple of rafts enjoying a fall float - lucky them too! And now I've had my desert riding fix, I am ready for winter. Bring it on!