Sleep vs. Skiing….Hmmmm?

2007-12-29 05:49:53.000 – Kyle Paddleford,  Observer

Looking toward Tuckerman Ravine

I have not been able to sleep well this week for some reason. Being tired during the night shift is definitely the downside of this, but waking early in the day does have its benefits. Instead of lying in bed restless and bored until dinner, I decided to go have a little fun outside while the weather was nice. I awoke to a beautiful undercast with calm winds and plenty of sunshine, so I left to get out for a while. I put on my ski boots and packed all the essentials and even some things I probably would not need just to be on the safe side. I put my skis on right outside the front doors and headed off.

My first stop was in the lower parking lot to catch a glimpse of Mt. Monroe and Lakes of the Clouds Hut. It was one of those times I wish I owned a pair of binoculars so I could survey the landscape a bit closer. I would like to have taken a hike down there, but my planned destination to the East Snowfields was in the opposite direction. The undercast to the east was a bit more broken and the trails of Wildcat could be seen.

The snow at the top had the consistency of a piece of chalk. It was the kind of snow that allows for fast effortless skiing. It became a bit more difficult about halfway down as the snow surface turned to a softer breakable crust which made it harder to turn. The skis wanted to go in different directions than I wanted them to, so it was more or less a battle at times. Near the bottom there was still evidence of last weeks rain as patches of ice glistened under the sunlight. The conditions were not epic by any means, but it was a lot better than tossing and turning in bed. It is always a good idea to check the latest avalanche advisory from the Mount Washington Avalanche Center before venturing into the backcountry.

I think I may have indulged in too many goodies over the holidays because the skin back to the top took longer than usual. When I got about 500 feet away from the summit, I could smell the wonderfully delicious food that our volunteer, Jason Hill, was cooking and this began to propel me along at a quicker rate. I skinned right to the front door and thought about how one day I always wanted to stay at a ‘ski in ski out’ condo. Then it dawned on me that I do stay in a ‘ski in ski out’ condo of sorts every other week. Dreams do come true!

When I came inside and went downstairs I gave everyone high fives including the crew on the other shift.

Well, time to go try that sleeping thing again. Wish me luck!


Kyle Paddleford,  Observer

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