Cynthia and I skied at Wolf Creek for three days, and caught the storm timing perfectly. Every morning started out the same...shovel your way to the truck.
Cynthia may be a beginner skier, but she's no stranger to the mountains. She's climbed more 14'ers than I'll ever climb in the rest of my life. Many of them she's done in winter.
The first day was snowplowing on powder covered groomed runs. Cynthia didn't bat an eye at the difficult conditions.
On the second day the groomers had an even deeper coating of powder, so she rented the widest (short) skis she could find...more flotation, less drag. It was a good decision. She was able to ski all day while the resort received yet another foot of snow.
Yet another day where I could ski all the way to the truck in the parking lot.
On the third day Cynthia was game for turning it up a notch, so we found slightly steeper terrain with deep powder. She worried about falling, but found the landing was soft. She didn't realize that losing a ski meant a long search, or that getting back on skis in deep snow could be a struggle. Nevertheless Cynthia persevered and did some valuable learning.
Every day she got noticeably better - better balance, narrower stance, more speed, yet still comfortable. At the end of the last day we split up to ski on our own...'one more run'. She skied two! Cynthia's a trooper! See her side of the story at: http://picasaweb.google.com/cynadams1/2010_012123_WolfCreek#
The drive home was through snow squalls and over snow packed roads. But the last part of my journey to Cloudcroft was yet to come....
I knew I was in trouble when I saw 4 - 5 foot drifts in front of my neighbors house...and I still had a hill to climb.
The last quarter mile - 2+ feet of unplowed, dense snow, with a snowplow berm for good measure. I can't drive that, and even if I could, there was a vehicle coming down the narrow road....
My neighbor took hours to fight his way downhill a couple hundred yards, 4WD, chains on all four tires. But the snow berm was too much. Good thing the Sheriff was around....
To pull him out of the snow berm, it took two 4WD trucks, (getting traction on dry pavement!).
I put on my chains, but didn't even attempt the uphill leg. I put as much on my back as I could carry, and started the slog to the house.
My neighbors were kind enough to help carry my groceries up the driveway. That's why I plow their driveway...when I'm in town.
At the house: no power, phone, or Internet. Indoor temp. was 45F. I fired up the wood stove and the generator, then went back outside to the snow thrower. I was able to cut one narrow walkway before sunset. Power was restored by then.
Next morning, sunrise. It was cold and scattered clouds - perfect for cross country skiing! This is looking down on the driveway from one of the high drifts.
I've never been able to see the top of the 10FT water storage tank. The snow pack is 3 - 4 feet, plus drifts.
At the end of my cross country ski foray I was happy to discover the Army was plowing my road with a grader. If you want one of those tracked vehicles, see: http://www.pinzgauercanada.com/Hagglundgal.htm Remember, this is southern New Mexico!
At least the forest fire danger is low....
Now that I'm back home, I'm supposed to be getting scopes ready for astronomy...but the forecast calls for more snow on Wed and Saturday!
Will probably go skiing again, and soon!
29 Jan - driveway is cleared. Time to make the scope shelters usable again. 30-inch snowshoes allow me to walk on the drifts without sinking up to my hips.
Yesterday yet another storm passed through. This one dumped *only* ten inches. There is still plenty of snow to clear around shelter doors and roof counterweight swing paths.
From the top of a drift I can see the shelter roofs....without a step ladder. At least that makes the broom work easier.