Friday, February 12, 2010


It's funny how things work out sometimes. Take last night. I woke up to get ready for work, and as always, i watched two local weather reports. 10 O'Clock News on KOVR Channel 13 and the 11 O'Clock on KCRA Channel 3. Radar and satellite views were bereft of precipitation...both Weathermen said there wouldn't be much to speak of...if any.

So, imagine my surprise when I had to throw the pickup into four wheel drive to make the last half mile up the Old Highway twenty minutes later!

There were barely any flakes falling, and the pavement was mostly that...pavement.

The swing shift guys reported that it rained (or more accurately, misted) for a few hours after sundown, and it turned to flurries after 10PM...they added that the grooming was great.

Well, it snowed all night! I was in disbelief! Where did this come from...why didn't it light up the local radars, and why couldn't the meteosats image it? Stealth System?

Anyway, it didn't amount to much...except lousy visibility...I still climbed everything I wanted to. We knocked out a big list even though we had to down two cats overnight...including a winch cat.

We were off the Mountain right at 8AM, and I was enjoying the Sun on my face in front of the grocery store before 9AM!

Barely enough snow to measure, but it did bond nicely with the frozen rain on the Old Highway's pavement, taking the excitement out of my drive home. In town, the roads were wet, but offered plenty of traction.

Waking up tonight, the Olympics were on the tube. Sadly the Games are of to a deadly start. A Luge competitor from Georgia (the former Soviet State, not our Southern State) was killed in a training accident. On the positive side, after scratching for snow leading up to the Games, Mother Nature is kickin' in with a system that'll postpone some of the Alpine Speed events. Good for injured Lindsay Vonn! I watched the telecast for a while before I switched to the local TV Weathercasts...shouldn't be any surprises tonight! They said beautiful weather for the foreseeable future!

I'm down with that! Maverick's in the morning...webcast begins at 7AM

It's On

Weather Everywhere...

The 2009/2010 Mavericks Surf Contest is a Go! Surf's Up Saturday February 13th, 2010

High clouds and cool today at Daytona Beach, FL. I watched the NASCAR Twin 150 Qualifiers on SPEED. First time I've seen a stocking cap on a racer in the Post Race Interview...I read somewhere that lots of the exotic reptiles in Florida's Everglades are dying from the cold...feral South American Pythons dying in droves ...Iguanas falling from juice futures going up...

Look at the 24/7 Cable News Stations. They're Wall to Wall with the NY/DC Winter Storm story. New title? "Snowmageddon" I heard that this week's storms have deposited 60 inches of snow on Washington DC...normal Seasonal Snowfall in DC is 15 inches!

From the Dallas/Ft Worth NWS Office:
Through 7 PM CDT...Dallas Fort Worth Airport has recorded 7.9 inches of snow. This breaks the greatest snowfall on record. The old record is 7.8 inches set on January 15, 1964 and January 14, 1917. This also breaks the 24-Hour Snowfall for February which was 7.5 inches...set on February 17, 1978 and February 25, 1924. Obviously....this shatters the record Daily Maximum Snowfall for February 11th...of 1.4 inches which was previously set 1988. With the snow continuing...
The snow total will increase. An Updated Record Event Report will be sent later this evening."

...Except Here

The wind buffeting the DaveCave woke me a little after 6PM...getting outta bed I looked precip, just wind. Looking again around 9PM, there are a few flakes sitting on the front deck now, but more deck than snow showing...not a flake is falling either.

The Reno AFD dubbed these systems "Brush By Systems" because they're brushing by just to our North. Looking at the Mountain's webcam showed a little new dusting, nothing measurable, though.

How much would I like to see 6-12 inches tonight or tomorrow? Words fail...

The Reno AFD says partly cloudy and dry for Fri/Sat/Sun and cloudy Monday. I looked at Sacramento's AFD, and they are a little sunnier: Sunny Fri/Sat/Sun, and partly cloudy Monday.

About Last Night

Man I struggled last night...I paid for screwing up my sleep schedule over my weekend...Big Time! We had an operator who didn't show, but one of the A-Team answered the call, came in on his night off, and flat out got 'er done before some cats went down. My cat ran fine...with a new rookie in it. I was in our newest those Bisons flat out fly!

I got back on my favorite trail again, and flew right up it, though I wasn't rolling a blade-full in front of me. Turned out perfect...considering how much trouble I was having keeping my eyes open!

Come on up for President's Day Weekend, it's gonna be Epic! Mostly sunny and plenty of great snow!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Here Come Maverick's

Well, the buzz about the Big Ocean Swell arriving this weekend has made it to the Mainstream Media Outlets. San Jose's Mercury News broke the story Wednesday evening on it's website. The Surfing Sector has been all over the story of course.

The Maverick's Surf Contest may be held Saturday, provided the forecast pans out...and the contestants vote to go for it!

I wondered what the rest of the week's weather for the High Sierra looks like, so I looked at the Reno AFD and forecast. Lot's of clouds and chances of snow showers, but nothing concrete yet.

I won't pull your leg, we sure would like some fresh snow going into President's Day Weekend! Nothing beats the promise of freshies to prime the pump!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Smooth Sailing?

Things don't always turn out the way I planned. Last week, I planned to go to the Ancestral Digs for my three day weekend. A simple trip really, see my Mom, do the monthly church luncheon, continue straightening up the garage, and haul some straggler tools back up to the DaveCave. There's still plenty of chores in the queue at the DaveCave, and my tools help make quick work of them.

About mid-week, the forecasts began to favor a stormy weekend. I still felt kinda tired, so I begged off the familial responsibility, and formulated "Plan B" Two areas needed my attention: One...Get all the AV stuff hooked up and answering remote control commands. Two...finish the installation of the laundry stack and reclaim some of the lost pantry space. Throw in a load of laundry and a Super Bowl, and it was looking like a full weekend!

Sunday afternoon, my alarm roused me in time for the coin toss, and the game was pretty enjoyable (considering that I didn't have a team on the field) I watched the whole game without getting out of chips&dip, no pizza, no adult beverages. The game never got off a simmer, which the conventional wisdom had never considered...wasn't Super Bowl XLIV supposed to be a firepower-laden scoring fest between the two high powered offenses?

Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints...they ain't Ain'ts anymore. Woops...then I pulled my first dumb stunt of the weekend...I slept most of the night! I got up at 0330...close enough I thought...

Monday I got after my list. An hour to do the grocery shopping, and then I got down to the serious business of knitting with audio cables. All the components are doing their jobs now. I edited several hours of programming that was clogging the DVR's Hard Drives, and burned four new DVD's for my library. All 5.1 speakers are online, and only one chore remains on this front...I have to update the Onscreen List of the 400 CD's in the CD Jukebox. This will provide me with hours of enjoyment over the next several days...

Where was that snowstorm Monday? MIA totally!

Tuesday I finally made the pizza...Sausage, Olive, and Mushroom with fresh mozzarella and smoked provolone...cold pizza this morning for breakfast, too!

There's bright sunshine streaming through the window blinds at the DaveCave this morning...the storms all went south...with this week's forecast.

As it stands this morning, we're looking at decent weather right through the President's Day Weekend. Let's hope this forecast holds up!

There was some buzz from the Surf Weather Sector about huge swells for the Holiday Weekend, but that too is looking like a fizzle. The Maverick's crowd was all abuzz once again, but it's just another simmering pot today.

Finishing up my laundry/pantry project should get my body clock well and truly reset to Graveyard today...wrestling a heavy laundry stack and restocking a half ton of canned staples and cleaning products should wear me right down to a sleepy nub.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I've Still Got It

No, not the flu!

Last night I enjoyed the trifecta. Finally a whole shift in my favorite BR350!
New Seat-check...
New Heater Blower-check...
Stereo Antenna Works-check!

I forgot my iPod, and the pack was hard enough that CD's would skip every time you'd get your groove on, so an evening of jazz on the local NPR station was just the ticket.

The latest wave of snow gave forecasters fits and found it's way into the High Sierra somewhere to the South of my Mountain. Swing Shift did yeoman's work, given the number of "Special Projects" that were front-loaded into the Work Orders. Even with all the Non-Grooming stuff on their list, they got plenty of grooming done due to the Hero Snow, and everyone was smiling and laughing at Shift Change.

I spent a half an hour doing my own "Special Project" before getting back on my latest favorite trail project.

Yesterday's snow was just deep enough that this trail gave up a long gone thrill...Freefall! This is the trail right under a chairlift, with lift towers, a dearth of trees, and a building complicating winch grooming. We've rarely groomed this trail over the last three seasons due to the low snow conditions, because there's a gnarly rock outcropping just downhill from the lift tower...right where you lose traction in soft snow!

Tuesday night, I groomed right up this little steep...with a roll of snow in my blade and running Down Pressure...right up the three Skier's Right Passes where the freefall starts!

Back in the days before Winch Technology finally matured, we free groomed everything, and on snow nights and a day or two after, groomers would be sliding down trails all night! Not the best results, but Boy! What fun we had! Even at HyperSpace speeds, there are skills that help the operators make good corduroy with the smallest berms left behind.

Today with almost half of our shifts running winch cats, these thrills are almost verboten. On my little favorite trail of the week, there's three passes that have a little spot- two machine lengths long that offer this experience today. You get a slide of 6-8 machine lengths before the compression at the bottom of the steep slows you down to traction speed again.

How does an experienced groomer pull off a slide without making things worse? It's all a matter of timing.

As you groom your way down to the steep spot where you expect to loose it and slide the cat, you dial back your speed to full slow ahead. You're clicking the sticks in and out of neutral detent, and tapping in extra Up Pressure to catch your spillage. The trick is to slide the sticks full forward just as the slide begins...while simultaneously losing the Up Pressure. As you rocket down the trail, the newly weighted tiller compacts the snow enough to keep the spillage from making too much berm. While you're at it, you need to keep the tractor on the pass, and inline with the adjacent passes! When you get back to controlled flight, you tap the Up Pressure back in, and go about your business.

Done right, this is one of the most satisfying things groomers do. A little off on the timing, and you'll have to let it set up for an hour or two, and come back and do it all over again. The second time around, you're usually in deeper when the slide starts, so you aren't carrying as much snow in the tiller box, so chances are better that you'll win.

The A-Team is in on swing tonight, so I'm looking forward to another shot at those three magic passes!

It's been too long! Last night I didn't nail it until my third pass...then perfection!