Everyone was up a little bit earlier to finish packing and check out of their condo's as Thursday represented our last day of skiing.
The drive up Ski Hill Road was a bit more interesting as we saw several Mule deer (above) as well as a female moose and her calf (below) grazing along the hillsides.
Unfortunately we didn't pick up any new snow and with a fairly thick cloud cover we were faced with the prospects of "flat" light and rock-hard groomers.
Everyone headed back to the groomers in Sacajawea in hopes of soft snow, but it was to no avail as the cloud deck hung tight and the stiff southwest wind actually made things feel downright cold. It was back to the front for an early lunch and ponder throwing in the towel.
When we came out from our 10:30 AM "lunch" we could see a clearing line in the distance. We headed up Dreamcatcher to assess the snow on the front of the mountain and as if on cue, one run after the next started to turn to spring corn snow a.k.a. "Hero snow".
First it was Slims Shot, then Wandering Moose, then Crazy Horse, then Wild Turkey and finally the creme de la creme -Williamson Bowl. The entire group started taking laps one after the next on runs that only an hour earlier were considered frozen chunder.
As the afternoon progressed everyone broke into smaller & smaller groups pondering how to spend their last couple of hours of their ski season at The Ghee.
Dave & Eddie opted to take in the vista and enjoy a final beer from a spot near the top of Fred's Mountain.
The last 2 1/2 hours were unbelievable, the snow was perfect and the access trails through the woods did not break down as they did late in the day on Wednesday when our skis just would not glide.
It was a perfect way to end the season and at 3:45 our "Mystery Guest" a.k.a. our longtime Rossignol rep Gary Ladd and myself finally called it a day after our 5th lap on Williamson bowl; logging 43,000 vertical feet for the day.
The final drive down Ski Hill Road signaled the end of the 2013-14 ski season and the conclusion of another epic Pierce shop staff ski testing trip with hopes of doing it again in 2014-15.