Well, yesterday (1/1/2005), I finally got to spend some real time at my "home resort" of Massanutten.
Now, I was on duty as a patrolman last night, but I still do get much freedom in my skiing while on duty.
To start, it was extremely warm here in Fredericksburg, as well as at Massanutten. When I left Fredericksburg yesterday afternoon (around 12:30ish or so), it was at least 74 degrees out! I've heard some accounts that it may have actually been as much as 79 degrees here! It was well into the upper 60's/low 70's on the mountain itself during the day, and pretty much stayed in the 50's during the night. I was wearing nothing but a t-shirt, pair of shorts, and sandals when I showed up to the mountain. I felt like I ought to be going to Kings Dominion instead.
I suited up (by simply putting my ski pants on over my shorts, and putting a red fleece vest on over my t-shirt, a pair of spring gloves, and googles - basically the bare minimum I can get away with, and it was still to warm for me), I was ready to hit the slopes.
At the start of the night, I was posted at the top of Lift 6. Every run at Massanutten was opened, except Paradice. Thus, the only run I can ski off of lift 6 was Diamond Jim. As one can imagine in such warm conditions, the snow was pretty heavy. Also, by the time I got on the hill, it was pretty well skied up, with some pretty nasty bumps forming up. Diamond Jim was particulary challenging, and I really did have to work to make my turns. Unfortunatly, I only managed to get one run in until I was called to check on an incident farther down the mountain (young snowboarder wiped out and hurt her knee). By the time I was done with that and all the paperwork and such, the hill-chief pretty much told me to go take my dinner break and then head up Lift 5.
Off of Lift 5, I skied Mass Transit, Rebel Yell, and Dixie Dare. Rebel Yell was in excellent shape, although somewhat bumped up near the top. Mass Transit was bumped up quite a bit all the way down to the "Yee-Ha" crossover trail, and then pretty decent after that. Upper Dixie Dare, which normally where the bump-run is, had some bumps starting to form, but not anything like it normally is. Nice and steep, though - the steepest trail on the mountain. Due to the heavy snow, though, I really had to work to make those turns down Upper Dixie Dare, although it fun to hear people from the lift ohhing and ahhing my sking while going directly underneath it on lower Dixie Dare.
At around 7, it was my turn to post at the top of lift 3, off of Geronimo. It is always fun to watch the beginners as they attempt to learn our fine sport. I did have to chase down a couple of them that got out of control. I spent most of that time pickup the mishaps that occur at the top of the lift. You know the typical results when an inexperience skier/rider attempts to get off the lift. Then add that to the next chair, which also have inexperienced skiers, who not only have trouble getting off the chair, but now have to avoid a fallen comrade. Oh the fun that ensues.
It is nearly a full-time job for that poor liftie stationed up there to get people cleared out of there.
The couple of runs I did take down Geronimo allowed me to get a feel for the conditions, which where also quite good, considering the warm weather.
Overall, it was a very pleasent evening of skiing last night, and one of the reasons why I like to participate in the ski patrol. Generally, the conditions were very good up there at Massanutten, despite many of the runs getting chopped up. There were some problem spots we had to keep a watch on, though. I am concerned if there is goiing to be anything left to ski on by next weekend, though, as the weather reports are calling for mid-upper 60's and rain all week here.