Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I, I'm a one-way motorway.
I'm a road that drives away and follows you back home.


Tom, from Two-Heeled Drive, emailed to ask how I knew those chutes were safe from avalanches.

Good question, Tom.

For starters, those chutes are technically in-bounds at Big Sky Resort, although not many skiers visit them. In fact, that ridge separates two resorts- Big Sky and Moonlight Basin. Ski patrollers, like Mark, do a great job keeping the in-bounds terrain relatively avalanche-safe for idiots like me. He has some great posts on exactly how they do this... with explosives. And it is legal. Blowin' shit up and getting paid for it. What a country.

When you venture out-of-bounds, or go backcountry skiing (which is extremely popular around here), you have to be much more avalanche-aware than you do at a resort.

Since the resort opened on Thanksgiving, we have received significant snowfall, and they have never bombed the A-Z chutes.

Additionally, those chutes are too steep to hold a significant amount of snow. It just doesn't stick there in great quantities. If it did, there probably wouldn't be all those hazardous, shark-teeth-lookin' rocks all over the place... and every swingin' dick tourist from Texas would tromp up there and ski down. (Can I say that? Tourist? I have been here for eight months. Can I get a ruling?) Let's keep those rowdy, yee-haw-screamin' motherfuckers on the groomed runs and in the bars, where they belong. It's just better for everyone that way.

I did kick loose mini-avalnches with each turn. (When I say mini-avalanche, I mean a few inches of snow.) That is kind of a cool sensation. The snow from your last turn is cascading down in front of you as you jump into the next turn.

As a follow-up, I talked to a long-time Big Sky local today. She has dropped into the Big Couloir and the Dictator Chutes. She parroted the party line that the Big Couloir isn't as bad as it looks... except for dropping in, which is hairball. She hasn't skiied (skied?) the A-Z chutes because she thinks they are more difficult and technical than the Big Couloir... which is encouraging.

That dogleg you see halfway down is now snow-covered. That photo was taken in mid-December.

It's just that every time I watch someone going down it, I think, "Crazy fucker."

Maybe people sitting on the lift yesterday were saying the same thing about that snowboarder who kept hiking up the A-Z chutes.

They say an eye for an eye, we both lose our sight, and two wrongs don't make a right.

But when you been wrong and you know all along that it's just one life
At what point does one fight? (Good question, right!)


My season pass paid for itself with yesterday's little venture. The rest of the season is all gravy, baby. And that could last until May.

I decided that next time up, I will try and take a little video. Apparently my camera can do that, but I haven't read the manual as of yet. I have only had the camera since June, and I don't like rushing into things.

Anyway, I thought that it might be cool to shoot some hi-speed video for all you ninnies who visit this here website.

I also think I am bringing the iPod next time out. I haven't worn it yet, because I kind of enjoy the relative silence of being alone on a mountain... but some kickin' tunes may very well enhance the experience.

The way my current (read: this week) tastes are trending, there would be a lot of Jay-Z and Nine Inch Nails playing.

My buddy, Double B, from Billings also turned me on to some pretty damn good techno from a band called the Propellerheads.

Time to go.

No method to the madness
Beat my head against the wall

Note: I do own a helmet.

My goggles broke last week, and I have not yet replaced them.

My sunglasses don't fit under my helmet.

Eye protection was a more immediate need than head protection, due to the cold and snow.

Have no worries, the helmet will be back in action by this weekend.

I was stealthy and careful in those chutes, like ELmer Fudd, hunting wabbits.

Besides, as of the date of this writing, we have no empirical evidence that there is anything in my head worth protecting.