Friday 24th November '06
We had a four day weekend, courtesey of yesterday's Thanksgiving, so I went skiing! This was my first time seeing snow for I don't know how long, let alone on skis - I went cross country twice when I was in Massachusetts six years ago, so essentially like doing it for the first time again. Of the four of us, Peter was also a novice, whereas Ted and Hanz have done lots of skiing, albeit in Hanz's case not very recently. The ski season has only just started up, and so we were able to rent brand new boots and skis at Oakridge on the way to the mountains. It seems funny to me that you just move up to 2500ft and the rain turns to snow; I've never lived anywhere before where you could do that with just a 90 minute drive from home. The exceptional rainfall over the last week down in Eugene has translated to knee deep powder up the hill, very nice!

There was one other car in the carpark when we got there, which conveniently meant that the two skiers it contained had broken the trail for us already. Our route was on the broad track to start with, which gave some familiarisation time before we went more back country, climbing up through the trees. Yes, skiing uphill, it still seems all wrong.... But after over two hours of effort (for me and Peter at least; Ted and Hanz made it look easy...), we made it up to Midnight Lake and stopped for a break and a bite to eat. Then it was time for the bit I was most afraid off - the downhill. When they designed skis they seem to have forgotten to include a brake... Fortunately the deep powder meant that I could slow down by just moving off the broken trail a bit. But still the turns, bumps and especially trees meant that Peter and I crashed many times.... The first time I went down I was laughing so hard at the ridiculousness of not being able to get up again (your feet are strapped down to the skis and the snow comes up to your shoulder so it is really hard to get up!) that I just had to lie there for a while. My biggest crash saw me go headfirst into a snow bank - Peter said he could just see my legs and skis sticking out. And I really couldn't get up again, until Peter helped haul me back up. Bloody ridiculous.... The four hour trip was maybe a bit much for a first time, but it was mostly good fun. I took a few pictures but unfortunately my battery ran out; needless to say the sun then made an appearance, making the snowladen trees sparkle most photogenically, doh!