Braving the Cold

Snow aficionados tend to embrace cold temperatures, knowing that any temporary discomfort they might suffer is for the greater good of the snow surfaces they love.

This is especially true after a significant amount of fresh snowfall, like we had this week. Our base area has been blessed with 19 inches of new snow since Monday, and the chilly forecast is always well received by those who can’t break free until the weekend.

Single digit temperatures tend to ‘freeze-dry’ the snow, preserving a powdery experience even days after the storm. That phenomenon is extremely effective when temperatures dip to around 8-9 degrees overnight.

That said, the temperatures we saw overnight and this morning are RIDICULOUSLY cold. The temperature took a serious dive on Friday and our summit readings have been in the single and negative single digits for over 24 hours now.

Far past the chill needed to preserve our snow and well into the kind of chill that makes you fear exposing your skin.

That’s what I was thinking this morning when I woke up to see temperatures -1 to -4 degrees, with summit winds up to 20 mph. BRRRRRRRRRRR!

Driving through McCall and up to Brundage, my dashboard thermometer hit -17. I was actually relieved to see this balmy reading in the parking lot.

They’re too tough to whine about it (like me), but I know our Ski Patrollers and other outdoor employees must bristle a bit at the thought of this kind of cold.

Their call of duty requires them to brave the weather no matter what the extreme.

You can almost see how cold it was this morning as Joe headed toward the cold, dark North to get the Rodeo terrain park ready to open.

I swear I saw the snow ghosts shivering, waiting for their turn to come out of the cold shadows…

…and bask in the relative warmth of the sun’s rays.

So you may be asking yourself what it was that drew ME out so early. Why would I head up ahead of the sunshine and into the morning chill?

This is why. I absolutely LOVE fresh, cold corduroy. This morning, it was so dry that the squeak of my edges cutting into it actually drowned out the hum of the upper BlueBird terminal.

My obsession with the squeak goes beyond my normal affinity for corduroy. I always love that zippy, wooden spoon on a washboard sound it makes, but the dry friction that produces the creaks and squeaks is simply too much to resist.

Add to that the promise of untracked or fantastically recycled powder…

…and I was far from alone in my willingness to brave the cold for some hero snow.

The slopes were so divine it was impossible to resist the urge to take an edge.

Even though picking up speed made the air bite at our exposed skin.

Fortunately, the winds died off  just before the lifts opened.

The skies were crystal clear, the sun just waiting for its chance to crest the summit and bathe the front side.

Still, there was not a lot of exposed skin showing this morning as our racers slid their course in the shade.

Skiers took extra care to arrange their face coverings.

And it was hard to tell who was who.

But even though I couldn’t see a lot of people’s faces today…

…after watching them glide gracefully down the slopes…

…I couldn’t help but think that under all those layers…

…they were probably smiling secretly, just like me.

- April

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