Groundhog Days #9 & #10
Week #2 - Days #4 & #5
Groundhog Days #9 & #10
Up and at em' and out the door by 5:05 (sound like a familiar time?), Huck's for breakfast, Wy'east Day Lodge by 6:00. Now the Region #1 invasion is in full swing with Sailer, TR2 and Team Gilboa all in session; everywhere we turn there is a familiar face.
Sailer Camp, TR2 and Team Gilboa were all training GS on Thursday and it was a classic Mt. Hood training day. It was cold enough to set and start training right away and as the day warmed it was time to break out the salt when it was time to reset.
Due to the limitations of iPhone photo's the above picture does not do justice to how clear the atmosphere was on Thursday. Looking to the south we could see Mt. Jefferson, The Three Sisters, Mt. Bachelor and for the 1st time this summer Mt. Shasta in California.
Everyone headed down from the Palmer snowfield around noon and it was time the last run to the test centers to pick up skis for our 2014 summer tour-of-duty.
Dan Fleck was nice enough to take Tyler, Dave, Sarah & myself out to dinner up in Govy to the Glacier Haus for some Czech food and it was awesome. After a grueling 2 weeks it does not get better than goulash soup, schnitzel and Pilsner Urquell.
When we awoke Friday AM we were more than a bit surprised to check the web-cam at Timberline and see that it was in fact raining. This was less than ideal as we had over 30 athletes set up to test GS skis for the day.
Surprisingly The Mile & Palmer lifts were set to spin before 7:00 AM and as we headed out the door it was evident it was going to be a Gore-Tex day as we were literally in and out of the cloud bank the entire day.
The clouds came in and out all day and visibility and trying to video was tough. In the end it was a solid training day as most of the athletes logged 15 to 20 runs in the gates.
The clouds moved in for good late in the training day and it was time to head down into the clouds.
We were on a tight timetable to return skis to the test centers today, so for the 1st time in 17 years we collected all of the test skis as the athletes skied to the parking lot. Within 20 minutes we had reclaimed over 35 pair of skis. Hmmm, it only took 17 years to figure this out.
The end of another summer at Mt. Hood comes with mixed emotions. We love being here with the athletes and coaches. At the same time it is time to get home to our families who we miss very much.
In closing out this year's Mt. Hood blog I would like to thank again our friends from the Rossignol, Nordica, Head & Fischer Test Centers; without their support we would never be able to accomplish what we do in our 2 weeks here.
"We Interrupt This Broadcast..."
We check out of our room tomorrow morning, head up for our final day at Timberline, return test skis, attend the Friday night meeting and then begin our long journey home. With this being the case we needed to pack and therefore no blog until tomorrow's final two-fer blog.
Week #2-Day #3-Groundhog Day #8
Truly Groundhog Day #8, up and out the door again at 5:05 AM & in Govy by 5:20 staying just ahead of the ever increasing wave of racers heading to Huck's for breakfast. The cloud deck was quite low and quite thick but thankfully the Timberline web-cam indicated it was clear.
The Mile lift opened on time and the Palmer was delayed for 1-hour and then the lift OPS let coaches and "helpers" go up to the top of Palmer to get things started for the day.
While on stand-by on Palmer, Scully engaged the legendary Hermann Gollner in conversation. Hermann was an accomplished ski racer & freestyle skier, invented the 1st break-away slalom gate and is still a reknown racing coach & mountain climber.
When we finally reached the top of Palmer the lifties were quick to tell us that we needed to be careful exiting the upper lift station since the doors were still not completely open due to being snowed in after a 4-day storm cycle.
Once at the top they shut the Palmer down for a short while so the lift crew and snow-cat operator could clear a path for 4-people across to safely unload and exit the lift station.
The athletes finally made their way to the top of the lanes and began training at 9:30 and they did not come down until 1:30; after they had gone through 2 resets and on average 20 runs and close to 1,000 slalom gates for the day.
With training ending 1 to 1 1/2 hours later than normal our "work day" also started later than normal. The last test skis did not make it back to our garage until 2:45 & with the chageover from slalom to GS skis it was pretty hectic turning in 30+ SL's in exchange for 30+ GS skis.
Our day ended shortly after 9:00 PM as Dave, Tyler & myself finally were able to end what was the longest work day of this year's tour-of-duty. The forecast looks fantastic for Thursday and we are looking forward to some great GS testing & training.
Week #2-Day#2-Groundhog Day #7
Up & out the door by 5:05 AM. After passing through Rhododendron US #26 starts to rise up towards Timberline and the highway sign provided us a hint of things to come. It flashed intermittently between "Timberline Road" and "Winter Driving Conditons Exist".
Timberline Road is 6 miles long and turning off of US #26 the mile markers count down mile 5 to 4 to 3, etc. The road started out wet and as the photo's below show it turned to snow at mile marker 4 and by the top of the road it was an all out snowstorm.
Those of us with 4-wheel drive headed up while the rest of the campers stayed down in Govy awaiting a road report. I was skeptical as to whether or not the vans could make it up and what happened next is sure to become Sailer Camp lore.
Pictured above is the O-DOT road maintenance building at the intersection of US #26 & Timberline Road. Erich went and knoocked on every door until he woke someone up from the maintenance crew and told them to get out and plow the road; and plow the road they did.
As always with weather conditions like this Timberline is on "stand-by" until it is deemed safe to open. More & more camps started showing up and today was Day #1 for our friends from Team Gilboa who arrived at the same time as the Sailer campers.
At 7:30 Timberline made the call, the Mile would be open & Palmer would be closed for the day. This meant that it would be free-skiing drills for all campers which is much better than losing the day because the area being closed.
Free-skiing & drills are fantastic but when Dave, Tyler & myself go out on the hill it is to observe the athletes in gates to assess and trouble-shoot equipment issues. This being the case we headed back down to Welches to catch up on test recording, laundry and a little rest.
The remainder of the day was spent tuning and setting up test skis with Dave solving boot fit issues for some of the campers.
The evening meeting recognized the efforts of both the athletes and coaches for the day; with Resi receiving top honors. It is Resi's last night as she will be leaving after training is over tomorrow; and she will be missed. Hopefully we will be with her again at next year's camp.
Week #2 / Day #1 "Something new"
We headed out the door at 5:05 AM and it was 41 degrees and pouring rain. As we started to gain altitude on Highway #26 the temperature started to drop 39-38-37, etc. When we pulled into Huck's the truck in the photo below had just pulled in and we knew that winter was back again.
We left Huck's at 5:45 and by mile marker #4 (2 miles up the Timberline Road) it changed over to snow and by mile marker #2 it was time to change to 4-wheel drive as the snow had begun to accumulate.
Given the conditions, we were on "stand-by" until 8:00 AM; at which point the Timberline management would make the call to open or close. The athletes did their best to bide their time but it can be really boring waiting.
While on stand-by Erich, Martina, Sarah & Uros decided that regardless of whether or not the area would open, the Sailer campers would go "Old School" and hike. As Sarah said "Years from now it will be days like this that they will remember".
I dropped off Uros & Chris and two bundles of gates just past the Timberline Lodge and they set 2 twenty gate courses. When they were done they radioed for the rest of the coaching staff and the athletes to head out for training; Timberline was closed for the day.
Everyone assembled on both sides at the top of the training lane and the coaches demonstrated hop turns, slow motion turns and javelin turns. The athletes then performed the same drills all the while being encouraged by the coaches and one another.
After 45 minutes of group drills it was time to start skiing and hiking the courses and everyone embraced the spirit of the day.
The most remarkable aspect of the training day is that no one complained, they just went about their business and at the end of the day everone had skied and hiked no less than 10 runs with Isaiah Nelson & Andy Cornish leading the charge with 14 runs apiece.
Our afternoon was spent picking up and setting up 30+ pair of test skis, tuning skis and doing boot work for campers and coaches alike. While we made the best out of challenging conditions, everyone is hopeful to get back up on the Palmer snowfield tomorrow.
"I want to ski. NO MORE HIKING!"