Saturday, March 6, 2010

False Alarm

I woke up after a whole day's sleep, and fired up the internet to catch the weather forecast. I went to bed thinking the next system was going to scud by to our South. The WX sites I looked at both said Scattered Snow Showers. I looked at the animated Nexrad Radar and saw the Classic Back Door Storm Signature approaching the DaveCave. I clicked on my Mountain's Webcam, and was surprised to see...nothing. No flakes, no accumulation, zip, zero, zilch, nada.

I turned on the porch light, and threw open the front door, more nothing.

This so-called "Wrap Around" system is taking it's sweet time gettin' here.

These Back Door deals are usually small producers, but the snow is of the finest quality.

The exception? The dreaded Tonapah Low...these are as rare as hen's teeth, but when one does come knockin'...look out. I Wikied Tonapah to check my spelling, and there isn't even a "Tonapah Low" page.

I've lived up here for 30 years come October. I can honestly remember two Tonapah Low events in three decades.

My Apologies
My head is empty...I've got no bee in my bonnet, nothing's got my goat, and try as I might, I can't make something from nothing.

Strangely, I've nothing to say tonight.

That's it, I'm taking a three day weekend, headed down to the Ancestral Digs to visit Early Spring. CorduroyPlanet returns on Wednesday as usual.

Feelin' Alright In the 21st Century

I'm sorry if I'm sounding like a stuck record, but my crew enjoyed another Great Night
last night!

My rookies don't know how great they've got it! My formative years in snowcats should have been so divine!

If today's rookies had to endure my rookie years, I wouldn't have a crew today! The hassles we endured back in "The Good Old Days" are so far removed from the supposed travails of today's 21st Century Grooming Realities as to put a coda on disbelief.

Today, Grooming has become just another instant gratification transaction in the New as usual in our Post-Modern Societal Construct, where perceived reality carries more weight than actual blood and guts reality.

Here in the 21st Century West, everything has become automatic...too predictable...nothing that matters fails anymore. Most outlying anomalies have been mitigated. Success is assured, failure is almost foreign in the West today. The playing field is favor of success now.

The New Paradigm is still just a illusion, if you will. Comfortable in the abstract, but not reliably concrete...Failure is still an option...and more often than not, it is the result of our Western success lulling us into complacency. Yet today, it's easier than ever to bank on the false security of the West's powerhouse dominance to put our fears to rest.

Thirty years ago, when I was a Rookie, the mountain usually held the upper hand. On the rare occasion that we were in the driver's seat, invariably our fleet would betray us. Every night was like Sir Edmund Hillary gazing up at Mt Everest from 3000 feet below Camp One.

Night in and night out, we set out to tame the Mountain..."because it was there"...on our best nights, we fought Mother Nature to a draw.

Today, the tables have turned...the field of battle is truly level, though when Mother Nature is aroused, there isn't much we can do to dominate her.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Pretty much perfect...what a lovely night we had!

Only the finest ingredients:
One foot of Hero Snow
One clear, star-filled Winter Sky

Hold the Wind
No breakdowns

When I pulled up to the fuel dock at the end of our shift, I noticed that I was feeling nothing but joy.
I yelled to the guys: "That's what I'm talkin' about"! Everyone enjoyed last night...nothin' but net, as they say.

The Hero Snow wasn't 100%...climbing wasn't as easy as flying upslope, full stick, but climbing was OK. Good enough. Visibility was awesome, half a Waning Moon illuminated the Mountain in magical light. Even the Mountain's WiFi Cloud pitched in...all the hotspots were working great, so I could stream my favorite morning talk show while grooming the Lower Mountain and Lodges!

Axeman pulled a double for us in his Sherpa Winch, taking one for the team, he hit the fuel dock just before radioed thanks seemed inadequate, knowing he stayed an extra six hours on his Monday! With Axeman winching up a storm, we knocked out the Work Orders and threw in some major extra trails, before helping the Park Groomers finish up their projects...and we were off the mountain at 8:30!

Walking down the shop road to drive home, I didn't even wear my jacket! Instead I was wearing a Carhartt long sleeve shirt, sunglasses and a big ol' smile.

Dare I say it? I was feeling smug once again! The forecast is for another blast Friday night and into the weekend. Judging by the happy crowd arriving as I headed home, nothing but good can come with more new snow!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Suffering for My Craft

Man did I even suffer last night. Once again I failed to follow my usually Fascist Bedtime Rules. The shimmer and shine of the new computer disrupted my sleep schedule, and I let my computer travails arouse me enough that I got all of one half hour of sleep going into my Monday.

Bad mistake. My shift was downright painful. Even with a good 10 minute catnap, I could barely keep my blood red eyes open...even though they felt like there was sand in them.

I pulled into my Mountain's WiFi Cloud and looked at the Radar on the iPod. At 4AM, Weather Planet (Weather Underground's iPhone App) showed that it was all over but the shouting. In fact, as the sun started rising, the snowfall ended after flurries were the order of the night post-midnight.

Half an hour later, it was like God switched on the snow came in like a squall line crossing Lake Tahoe, and kicked it for the next several hours. Clearly this was the system touted for Wednesday afternoon/evening, come early with it's 2000ft snow levels and dry powder.

My drive home was a total white knuckler...the Old Highway was narrow with berms, and near white-out conditions made the drive a stress-fest instead of my usual decompression drive home.

The snow on the steps to the DaveCave looked like huge flakes of dry that it didn't clump together when I swept it off my stairs with the shovel. I was too beat to deploy the camera and snap some macros anyway.

Deploying pillows and my comforter was all I could muster. Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


And God smote him...
Retribution is swift! I never should have gloated last week...Payback's a bitch!

After a few hours of new computer elation, cold, cruel, computer reality smacked me in the face! I'm making the switch to 64 bit Windows. All my files are FAT32. I have more than 10GB of them backed-up online...and that doesn't include music files.

My first step into the 64 bit world went fine. I downloaded 64 bit drivers and software for my EPSON R280 Photo Printer. Totally painless, start to finish. I printed some web pages, no problem.

I opened the "EPSON Print CD" program and it looked great, has some nice improvements, but that's when I realized that all my saved CD/DVD labels are 32 bit files. I went to the printer's website and inquired by email for some counsel on my upcoming move to the new system...24 hours and I'm still waiting for a reply.

27 hours...EPSON Support lets me know the bad news, my Label files won't play nice with the 64 bit program...another do-over in the name of progress...

Next up, iTunes 9. I downloaded and ran it. The installer scolded that I needed the 64 bit version, and offered a link. There was no 64 bit option offered on the iTunes download page...thanks Apple. I downloaded the 64 bit version, installed it and subscribed to a few new podcasts. I plugged in my iPod and it failed to synch. I tried a couple more times and finally gave up. Apple doesn't make email support easy to find, so I'm still running the old computer for iTunes and downloading directly to the Touch from my WiFi network...manually...there they go again, computers making my life easier again. Do you remember when the Personal Computer first came on the scene? They said we'd become a Paperless Society thanks to the PC Revolution...umm, exactly the opposite happened! It's a good think paper "grows on trees"!

I took a break from computer chores, did the Post Office and grocery shopping, and messed up the DaveCave's kitchen. I discovered a couple of other tech troubles. I made two DVD "Coasters" with my DVD Recorder, and found out I broke the LCD screen on my camera...let me up already! I'm sorry, OK?!

I made a brine from a Fine Cooking magazine recipe, and I'm curing my very first Corned Beef. St Patrick's Day is two weeks away, the Top Round Roast I'm turning into corned beef should be ready just in time! I'm not into Corned Beef and Cabbage. I love Reuben Sandwiches, and Corned Beef is usually a loss-leader around St Paddy's Day. Making my own gets me a little closer to the food, if you will.

I've been cooking since I was in the Boy Scouts. I make most of my own bread (albeit with a bread machine now), I've brewed hundreds of batches of homebrew, I smoke fish and poultry...and pork chops. I bake, I make salsa all summer long, and I grow vegetables and herbs. I've milled my own flour, and I even made home made ricotta cheese once upon a time. I've been a part of the Local Food Movement before there even was a movement, I guess.

In the DaveCave's kitchen I made a Sausage, Olive, and Mushroom pizza. After dinner and a full day's sleep I started back on the computer migration project. I was stymied by the Canon Laser All-In-One, so I have to consult my files for my purchase info, and call Tech Support for help...

I've been truly thoroughly smited for my boastful smugness...and it's not over yet. Tonight's my Monday, there's a new storm system crossing the Big Valley that will be here by the time I get up to go to work. Snow level may go as low as 2000 ft by morning! I haven't groomed Champagne Powder in a couple of weeks! Worse yet, I haven't written about grooming in more than a week, either!

For that I apologize!

Damn, I'm still!
So, it's now five hours after bedtime...I'm having serious trouble with iTunes...I've succeeded in losing all my Apps, and when I synch the thing, it doesn't load any content to the iPod! Of course, by the time I called Tech Support, they'd all gone home for the evening...Good Night!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Got It Down

Saturday Night!
Bu-bye smug. Fatigue is today's theme. It was a productive storm...13 inches on the 24hr snow stake. It wasn't exactly champagne powder...textbook Sierra Cement. Around the base area it was so beats you up...thanks God for weekends!

We kicked it anyway, and the sun was peeking through the cloud deck when we got off. I finished my morning out in the woods...laying cross country tracks. No, not on floss a BR350 with a track setter on the tiller...not my cup of tea.

The upside of the wet snow is that it piles high, and California needs the water.

Sunday AM Update
Me and the crew kicked it last night! We knocked out the Work Orders. and groomed the obvious oversights on said Orders too...

I was on the road before 0830, headin' home to the DaveCave to start my days off. More chores...there's a fluorescent fixture in the galley I need to replace, and general clean up to do.

Maybe I can stay awake to watch the Gold Medal Hockey game from Vancouver...

The weatherman says my days off will be nice, but the winter storms will return when I go back to work Tuesday night. Bring It!