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  1. #1
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    The Big Southwest Slice 2017

    Cracks appeared in the continuum of chaos. I may have forced them given the season, but there they were.
    Shit shifts around all the time and the more shit you've got, the more the shifting increases factorially.

    With 2 objects, there's just 1 relationship, provided we omit the onanist self reflexive h00haw.
    With 3 objects, there's 3 relationships.
    With 4 objects, there's 6 relationships.
    With 5 objects, there's 10 relationships.

    And so it grows, n choose 2 ((N*(N-1))/2)

    In years past, the sled was loaded with all manners of essentials including skis, food, wine, clothes,
    boot, gloves goggles, goretex, games and I pointed that baby southwest. Some years, I'd scoop up the
    family in SLC. Other years it was Albuquerque. Stops at liquor stores produced finds of decent scotch
    at prices not seen in states without income tax.

    But not so this year.
    Except the scotch.

    Evidently there was a mixup at the hospital nearly 16 years ago and I'm now cohabbing with a screenager
    who is oddly diligent about school. Rather than ditching pursuits of academic perfection, he elects to
    hone those skills instead of being forced into makeup work. As such, the rest of the family has cleaved off
    glacier like to rest in the home region.

    So I head off solo to ski.

    The grind up out of Pugetopolis was it's usual snowy, sloppy, idiotically random thing.

    Ill prepared for snow, I-90 displayed it's usual fecal fest of fools crawling up icy stretches in the
    left lane, piroutetting, interleaving and manifesting a variety of modern moto dance moves.

    Once cresting to the east side, some semi trailer had smoked it brakes and gloried in plumes of oily
    black self immolation along the placid shore of Lake Kachess. Cops and warning flashers festooned
    the roadway, the first of several tightly monitored freeway events.

    Semis clogged the lanes blocking either intentionally or not both lanes. One entitled driver attempted
    to shunt me off into the ditch, but my little eurowagon proved too agile.

    In these waning years, I muse more of the time about the difference between intent or ignorance rather
    than launching into some pithy conceptual abuse which inevitably bore more dysfunction and discomfort
    to the purveyor, me.

    And so I wondered, wandered and wove along East of the cascade crest until about Cle Elum where traffic
    opened up and I was able to let the horses run a bit. Vrooooom.

    Snow was intermittent and constant if that makes any sense.

    Like your virulent admonishions.

    Fuck off, I've got license. You're just a creepy critic.

    Blue broke through occasionally, but it was mostly moist. And the road surface rarely became clear.

    Slithering southwest, the first total blocker came SW of Pendleton where that great arc up the precipice
    of the Blue Mountains at Emmigrant Hill was closed, reasons unclear. On meandering around the truckstop
    at Wildhorse, I noticed a woman energetically gesticulating in the entryway. This got my attention. She
    revealed the notion of the old highway which wasn't closed and assured me of it's viability.

    So back into the sled I went and carved up a white ribbon winding in around the weeds with signficant
    drifts and nearly invisible ditches and boundaries. Folks with far greater intelligence that I dallied along the
    way with that intelligence an obstacle to the goal. So they followed me winding up around a bunch of
    loopy switchbacks in blinding whiteout on a very poorly marked dirt track. It finally merged with I-84
    up at Poverty Flats.

    The next section was visual hell with intense snow, dizzying visibility and snowplows wending across the
    crest of the Blue Mountains near Meacham Oregon.

    By the time I came down into La Grande, I was already burnt and not enlivened by another 'Freeway Closed'
    sign.

    Semis clogged the exit approach to La Grande lugging along the right lane or basking in the swirling
    snowy miasma. Daunted, I crept along in the left lane still wondering, hoping and skeptical.

    Lo and behold, the freeway was not closed, so I rolled on.

    But it sucked with shitty visibility, another semi cab in flames with a rollover up past Baker City.

    Up along the highlands of the Burnt River, there's a dilapidated cement plant where they used to make
    cement. The urban concrete and tagging is a sharp contrast with the rolling rocks and weeds emptiness.

    The new plant is still an austere weirdness out in the middle of an arid grassy wasteland. Road Warrior or
    rural Blade Runner screensets.

    Finally coming down into the ID border and crossing the Snake, the snow stopped, roads became clear
    and the Idaho Highways cited 80 mph as the limit.

    So I set cruise to 85 and ripped across ID, past Pocatello and down into UT through Snowville to Ogden.
    This interval indicated closure at Pocatello, but I sliced off down I-15 before that.

    Virtually every year, there's been a stop in Ogden to hang with the wonderful folks there and rail
    around Snow Basin. The Basin had been hot hard with warm and most off gr00mer areas were frozen tracks
    of meniscal mangle. So I gr00mered around with MD9 for a few hours before hopping back into the sled
    and rolling up over Soldier Summit, past Price, lovely Wellington, verdant Green River, ABCD 1.5859
    Grand Junction and down to Silverton.

    Initially broken blue skies gave way to cold greybird. The snow was good, best on the Northern aspects.
    I got called out by HatchGreenChili on Friday I think. It was still decent weather that day relatively.
    Over that weekend, conditions decayed into a howler storm with knock me down gusts. The windboard
    was good and even the windpack skied well down in the gullies. For the first time I can remember, the
    chair got put on windhold and the heli didn't fly. But there was wld snow to ski and a great vibe out
    in the throne of the mountain gods.

    Silverton is still the best for me. Great people there, from the Brills on through the lifties and
    grunts. The trimmed down unguided has pissed off a lot of people and as far as I can tell, the
    heli exchange request isn't really being debated on it's own merits, but instead on lack of unguided
    access. It's too bad people aren't more up front about that and have decayed into a tailspin of
    harumphing credibility.

    I waffled about going to Aspen which was supposedly skiing well with 10" new. I intentionally did not
    bring along any devices and the disconnectedness made it hard to track down anything remotely reasonable
    lodging wise. So I defaulted to hitting Telluride again.

    T'ride Monday was decent with firm snow in general with the maxim of hugging shadows playing out again.
    Simply foggy and cloudy in the morning, snow started coming down arounod noon wityh increasing
    intensity. I logged a solid 5 hours of gr00mers and bumps, hammering Revelation bowl in the gl00m and
    railing down the dorker lines on Bushwacker and Plunge with a few tree forays. I love skiing.

    Tuesday things cleared a bit, so I hiked 2/3s of the way up the Black Iron Bowl and scored some nice
    uncut turns. I spent a bunch of time lapping gold hills and finding a few stashes.

    Cosmic Suncloud got in touch so Wednesday we did a nice tour, one I've wanted to do for some time,
    netting a solid 5k vert over a series of gnarly couloirs, pretty bowls and some tricky windpack in
    between some sweet San Juan pow.

    CS is a serious ski nut and my thanks go out to him for the tour.


    TBC:
    Last edited by Buster Highmen; 02-27-2017 at 09:07 AM. Reason: spelling/grammar.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  2. #2
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    Awesome writing

  3. #3
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    Great start to your report...I loved this segment, laughing at my keyboard as I type this:

    "Snow was intermittent and constant if that makes any sense.

    Like your virulent admonishions.

    Fuck off, I've got license. You're just a creepy critic."

  4. #4
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    Buster - I believe it was that hat that triggered the "Damn it, where is that guy familiar from?" response! Nice meeting you.
    Excellent couple of days down there, glad you had a great trip. I sure won't bitch about my Denver -> Silverton drive time again.
    The San Juans are a special place, and Silverton is one of a kind.

  5. #5
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    like.
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    If I lived in WA, Oft would be my realtor. Seriously.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Buster!
    bF
    Alpental Indigenous

  7. #7
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    So yeah, props to CS for a great time and for sharing the ski freakness. It's always special and rare to make that kind of connection.

    T'ride has got some amazing touring, in contention for least recognized in the pantheon of North American radsorts.

    Without the family in tow it was really different than in the previous 15 years.

    I could and did beat myself mercilessly.

    So that was great.

    But I missed them.

    Life gets stranger every day (New Order anyone?)


    There's been a lot of stress in my life over the last few years with my estranged alcoholic and self abusive brother dying, my job about to end in a hostile dynamic and facing the difficulty of finding another low level/C/C++ gig as an old man. Plus my father slowly dying and holding himself far away in his passive aggressive Aspergers syndrome with mom in a hospital bed in their condo with some form of dimensia.

    In the usual whilywind life of getting the kid to school, homeschooling the other with a reading disability, helping local inlaws, twiddling bits at Chairman Bil's BitFactory, there's not much time for reflection.

    In this respite, there was. In finding time to do so, I find myself grateful for the time and kindness a bunch of you k00ks have shown as I consider how I'm becoming untethered. The tour de T'ride another instance.

    Then back to Silverton for the rare 5 day sequence with some fresh snow. Again, I pounded my flatlander lungs with hikes up to Tiger Claw(12.6k) and the Billboard (13k). Going solo, I met a bunch of different people and they were great. I choose the more modest groups since they tend to be more laid back and yeah, I only got 5 runs in most days, but it's more about the quality of things than the quantity, especially @ Silverton.

    I hosted a bacon and beer night for the guides where we consumed several pounds of bacon, a gallon or so of beer and even a few scallops I had. Great guys, talked a lot about avalanche theory and learned a bunch about wet slides from Nic who had lived around the Puget Sound.

    I did some heli laps too that were mindblowing in flight and on ski. Set off a small slabby slough too as the skies edged over from bluebee to gray and threatened more snow. Someone wrecked in another group so there was a bit of time to loll about and soak up the tumbledown remains of mines and mills against the acres of treeless snowscapes. After our 6 laps, the heli pilot gave us all a jolt as he drove us into a drop over Minnehaha basin that had everyone floating in their seats emitting a collective woaaaaaaaaah. Big fun.

    Snow dropped in again and the next day (Saturday) was low vis with dust on crust to coral reef. My acl'd knee ached after a day of 5 laps with a few too many rattling turns, so I did something I'd never done before in all the mad ski ragings around the west: I took a day off, slept in, walked around town, napped and read.

    The last day, Monday, brought new snow, drifting into boot top in places. All the gullies and North faces were skiing great and even some of the South facing stuff like Sunset, a huDge SW facing bowl feeding a gully, were riding so fine.

    Last lap of the trip was down Cabin in shin deep goodness, just feeling so right. I was finally getting my lungs together and it felt right.

    It also felt right to leave and come back to my family and get ready to be fired/laid off who the fuck knows what. With the 50 ton weight of no income overhead , I'm just looking for it to be over and get on with the next phase.

    So again, Silverton r00ls; it's just the best place for me. It's odd and there's a bunch of emo flying around it (as evidenced here) but the caliber and quality of the skiing, the lack of attitude, the relaxed atmosphere of being able to remember what skiing is really all about just puts it all together for me.
    Last edited by Buster Highmen; 02-24-2017 at 11:04 AM.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  8. #8
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    Cheers. There's no place like the San Juans when they're good.

  9. #9
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    Bravo Buster! It has been a while since I read a good text based TR.

    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post

    Evidently there was a mixup at the hospital nearly 16 years ago and I'm now cohabbing with a screenager
    who is oddly diligent about school. Rather than ditching pursuits of academic perfection, he elects to
    hone those skills instead of being forced into makeup work. As such, the rest of the family has cleaved off
    glacier like to rest in the home region.
    Similar thing happened to us this year. All expense paid trip to SLC for a weekend and the 14 year old felt his HS swim team would suffer horribly without him. I was baffled at first but shrug. I guess I can't expect him to be planning the family ski trips like I was at 14. And swim team! Fuck yeah. He did get a lot better this year. Alien stepson.

    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post

    T'ride Monday was decent with firm snow in general with the maxim of hugging shadows playing out again.
    Simply foggy and cloudy in the morning, snow started coming down arounod noon wityh increasing
    intensity. I logged a solid 5 hours of gr00mers and bumps, hammering Revelation bowl in the gl00m and
    railing down the dorker lines on Bushwacker and Plunge with a few tree forays. I love skiing.



    TBC:
    T-Ride has that effect on me too. Especially chair 9. It's like coffee. Woke up my damaged skier core this year.

    And the 'modest' groups at Silverton. Ha! Yeah I will be graduating to modest groups next time.

    Great report...

  10. #10
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    Well done, Buster. Self time can be very therapeutic. Sounds like an overall successful trip. Good write-up.

  11. #11
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    you were travelling solo? thought you said the kids were in the car.


    great seeing you again and catching up.
    the snow globe syndicate rulz.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmic Suncloud View Post
    you were travelling solo? thought you said the kids were in the car.


    great seeing you again and catching up.
    the snow globe syndicate rulz.
    Send me your physical addy and I'll get a fresh Space Needle snowglobe conveyed to Z.
    Please extend my thanks to A, as well.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  13. #13
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    Solid TR buddy.
    Thanks for posting.
    Look forward to seeing you again soon.
    Alpental Indigenous

  14. #14
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    Nice one Buster! Thanks for the entertaining read.
    I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    www.mymountaincoop.ca

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  15. #15
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    Thank you for putting your thoughts here for us to ponder and chew. Glad you had a good trip. Let's ski again before the spring gets too far along.

  16. #16
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    double like

  17. #17
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    How did I miss this?
    Great read, great TR.
    Ich bitte dich nur, weck mich nicht.

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