Operation Gandalf

Posted by on January 22, 2013 at 11:27 pm :: No Comments

We had such a great time last January chilling with our friends on the slopes of Powder Mountain that we decided to do a repeat this year. While we again stayed at our timeshare just 5 or 6 miles from the resort, which was lusciously convenient, other details of our outing changed. First, we had to increase the size of our suite to the largest available because our group had become heftier. Second, this time “Powder Mountain” was an accurate description of our endpoint. Yes, our trip was bigger and powderier than ever.

One could go any direction and find first tracks.

One could go any direction and find first tracks.

We planned this excursion a few months ago and crossed our fingers that the snow levels by mid-January would be adequate to justify its undertaking. It turns out we needn’t have worried on that account. An arctic storm amusingly referred to as “Gandalf” came into town just before our special weekend and dumped 24 inches of glistening heaven on Powder Mountain. Unfortunately, it also dumped a whole lot of that stuff on the roads we had to take to get there so Jason and I had a heck of a time reaching our destination. We ended up having to put on our snow chains just to travel the freeway, hence, there’s no way we would have survived the canyon climbs without those noisy nets. It took us twice as long as it should have to make it to our condo but that’s where my complaining about the precipitation ends.

Jacob cruised with me for a significant portion of the day until he was all tuckered out.

Jacob cruised with me for a significant portion of the day until he was all tuckered out.

The deliciousness of the resort’s accumulation was worth our prolonged journey and then some. First tracks awaited us at every turn on those empty slopes. I hit that powder with such sweet abandon that I didn’t even notice I was traversing black diamonds. I thought nothing of the terrain’s steepness because I only had eyes for the sweet stuff. About here, in the midst of my blabber concerning the treacherous topography I obliviously kept to all day, one would expect the embarrassing details of some accidental meeting I had with the business end of the mountain. Alas, I do have a few humiliating stories to tell and they are even more disgraceful than you’d think. You see it wasn’t the sheer black regions, which were probably above my skill set, that caused me pain but the lift’s exit ramp. Yes, I had a shameful share of rookie mishaps, not all of which were entirely my fault mind you, and the worst of those left me with an exceptionally nasty bruise on my upper leg/rump region. How a little slip led to a particularly painful fall and the worst non-surgically-induced bruise I’ve ever had in my life who knows. All I know is that I don’t usually bruise much but currently my hiney is whiney.

The members of our group varied in ability and rides but we all had a terrific time.

The members of our group varied in ability and rides but we all had a terrific time.

Powder fields are supposed to be tricky but I was too busy salivating to remember to be tricked.

Powder fields are supposed to be tricky but I was too busy salivating to remember to be tricked.

Good thing I don’t mind some discomfort, especially where the fluffy stuff is concerned, because my lack of lift coordination wasn’t the only problem aching up my life. My bad ankle, which had recently begun physical therapy, was in an unusually grumpy mood while boarding. I will cover my foot’s moody nature thoroughly in another post but for now let’s just say that it gave me much grief and I gave it much right back. However, in the end, it wasn’t lefty that drove me into the lodge 45 minutes before the resort closed but Gandalf and his sneaky wizard ways. That arctic storm didn’t just bring snow it brought frigid temperatures that only got up to about 10 degrees in the middle of the day. When the sun started going down we all began losing feeling in our extremities and things got miserable real fast. But regardless of my stinging hands, throbbing hip, and achy ankle I loved playing in the powder. It was a fantastic day of boarding! Snow, you hurt me over and over but I just don’t know how to quit you.

The sauna brought everyone together, some of us more than others.

The sauna brought everyone together, some of us more than others.

Some of our group thought a roll in the snow would provide a nice intermission to the sauna. I was not among them.

Some of our group thought a roll in the snow would provide a nice intermission to the sauna. I was not among them.

After our cores had been chilled to a frosty slush, jumping in the condo’s hot tub or sauna sounded like a mighty good plan. I opted for the sauna because the outdoor hot tub was little too out for me. There’s nothing quite like 134 degrees of sauna swelter to melt your inner glacier. Ahhh.

We were exhausted from riding but that didn't stop us from gaming.

We were exhausted from riding but that didn’t stop us from gaming.

Once we could tell we had ten toes again, we spent the greater part of the evening playing games. We competed in Sticheln, Saboteur, Seven Wonders, and Pandemic with only a little sleep to interrupt our rounds. Thanks to the open loft where our bed was located, and where the echoes of the entire world seemed to mingle, Jason and I didn’t have much sleep interrupt the gaming whether we were playing or not.

My bruise is roughly the same size as my hand and for days it was a dense

My bruise is roughly the same size as my hand and for days it was a dense patch of deep purple splotches. This picture doesn’t really do its grotesqueness justice.

Yes, Jason and I got little rest over that weekend but we did get sweet dreams of soft powder. We didn’t get privacy but we did get entertainment. Our weekend getaway was chaotic and rowdy but it was a trip worth repeating. I just hope Gandalf joins us again next time. He was the best guest we’ve ever had; what he left all over the ground was a whole lot better than half eaten cookies.

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