Ski Mountaineering

Winds of Waterman
February 12, 1996

Leaders:Don Pies, Paul Harris

February 12th was opening day for the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer Norway. It was also opening day for backcountry winter sports in the local mountains. A recent dump left two feet of nature's finest on Mt. Waterman for our group of eight SMS'ers and guests. Joining co-leader Paul Harris and myself were Ken Deemer, Susan Loftus, Bill Livingston, Matt Doody, Maury Dahlen and John David.

A cold blast of Arctic air from the north froze our tootsies as we skinned-up in the parking lot. Snow conditions were generally excellent-a solid base sprinkled with a layer of light powder. It was that last half an inch of wind crust on top that turned the day around. Going up was OK except for one pair of wide tele skis with 35 mm skins and one with no skins at all. Paul brought extra skins and solved the no skin problem and tired arms solved the skinny skin dilemma.

Despite the wind, the mountains were sunny and definitely the place to be. We had a pleasant lunch on the summit at noon followed by an eventful decent on variable quality snow. There was just enough skiable snow in places to make us feel good and then try something stupid. Ski pole arrest and pine tree arrest were helpful at breaking falls on the icy slopes. Both Susan and myself found the latter to be most effective at stopping but the high cost of medical care made the ski pole a preferred option. John showed us the best way down with his tele jump turns (Craig Dostie, where are you - we need your air time class again).

The snow keeps falling in the local mountains as I write, so benz-z-neez and shine off those whiners complaining about another year of drought.

Don Pies

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