26 February 2011

"It's all about the pow-pow."

My skiing buddy is a total powder snob. He barely wants to have his skis touch a groomed run. He won't go to a resort unless there is a chance of "freshies." Today we hit the road early and got to the parking lot at Mt. Ashland before they opened. We managed to be on the summit and over to "the back side" before it had been touched. I got to experience a true "bluebird" or powder-skiing day in windless, cloudless, sunny conditions.  We and a few others trailing us got to cut the first tracks in some luscious, fluffy "pow-pow." I was so excited on the first run and had so much adrenaline that I hardly remember getting down the hill. But by the second run I had calmed down and realized the skiing was fun and easy. The view south to Mt. Shasta and the Shasta Valley was magnificent, we could see the snow-capped Marble Mountains and Trinity Alps. It was a spectacular day. The trek back to the chairlift area is long and on a mostly-level road, so it is a workout, and being out of shape I tired quickly. But I accomplished a major goal I had set for myself as a skier, which was to be confident enough to leave the "groomers" and head for the backcountry. I took a spill on the last run because I was worn out and missed a turn. But the snow was soft and deep and the faceplant was painless. It's good to be reminded that the mountain is your master and not your mistress.

I'm celebrating my great morning (we were in the bar and eating lunch at exactly noon) with a little George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky. Good stuff! (Note that they use the Scotch/Canadian spelling rather than the Irish/American "whiskey.")

06 February 2011

Weekend crescent

I caught a glimpse of the very young crescent on Friday night just before 8:00 p.m. local time (PST). It was just getting ready to set over the western foothills. On Saturday I saw the moon late in the afternoon, high in the sky, and watched it brighten in the deepening twilight. Tonight Jupiter was the crescent's companion, and I could really appreciate the earthshine glowing on the full face of the disk. The bright bottom limb looks a bit like a canoe or gondola, with its pointy horns nearly even with the horizon line. The moon is smiling at us! The unseasonably warm, dry, clear weather may be a bummer for the skier in me, but the flip side is an outstanding view of Luna in all her early-phase glory. First Quarter is not until Thursday--get outside and enjoy the beautiful young moon!