Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Day was eventful to say the least.

The morning started at 5:45AM...coffee, opening presents, family photos, checking the snow report, and a large breakfast. Breakfast included fresh fruit, pancakes, an egg-potato-pepper-onion scramble, and mimosas. The whole family was there - Erik, AJ, Brandon, Mike, Dana, and Myself.

[ Our tree! ]

[ The kids at 6AM ]

[ Opening presents...Mike takes this very seriously. ]

[ Dana preparing pancakes for our breakfast ]

Santa brought us snow for Christmas. The JHMR snow report was saying 14-18 inches of fresh snow. We left for the village around 8AM and were in the gondola line by about 8:45. The snow was coming down hard. Real hard. We could hear explosions echoing from avalanche control. The opening of the lifts kept getting pushed further and further back. Within minutes snow would start building up on our helmets.

[ The Crew ]

We heard rumors of several inbound avalanches including a large one in Laramie Bowl. The avalanche conditions were posted as "Extreme" and we heard from ski patrol that this was only the third time in history that Jackson Hole has ever been at that level. It had snowed 25 inches in 12 hours and wasn't quitting any time soon.

Erik, AJ, and Brandon eventually decided to leave the gondola line and make laps on the only open lift; the bunny slopes. I had been waiting in line for so long at this point that I wasn't about to give up. We were only a couple dozen people from the front. At about 12:50, four hours after we got in line, it was open to the public. It was a mad rush. The crowd from behind started pushing forward and for a few minutes it was pretty chaotic. We were probably on the fifth or sixth car.

Skiing down was insane. It was the deepest snow I have ever skied...waist to chest deep. I was on my huge fat skis and I was still unable to stay afloat. We couldn't turn much on the first run without completely getting stuck. We made three laps and every lap was just as good as the last...maybe better. As the trails became tracked up we were able to ski faster and make turns and still get the deep snow. I hit a few small rock drops and found some good tree lines.

The afternoon ended with a shock. Dana had taken a different trail than us at the bottom of the third run. It had been skied out more so it was easier for her to make it down without getting stuck. She didn't appear at the bottom for what seemed like a long while. When she finally made it down, we learned that she had a bad fall and hurt her knee but still managed to ski down to the base.

I helped her down to the locker room to get her out of her ski gear and then we slowly made our way to the clinic. I had to help support her because she couldn't put any weight on her left leg. I fell asleep in the waiting area while she was getting checked out. The good news is that her ACL appears to be okay, but it sounds like her MCL is torn. Supposedly this usually fixes itself without the need of surgery or anything. She will still need to get her knee checked out by another docter, but it sounds like she might be good to go with three or four weeks of down time.

We saw a number of cars off the road on the bus ride home. We also saw a small herd of deer that where practically up to their necks in snow. It was humorous. Teton Pass closed this evening.

The guys cooked Christmas dinner tonight. Our meal included pineapple ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, and biscuits. We all decided that it was the best holiday away from home that any of us have had. We're a good family.

[ The Family - AJ, Dana, Me, Mike, Brandon, Erik ]

Dana is on crutches for the time being so I shoveled the walk this evening for her. The snow in our front yard must be close to three feet deep.

[ Even more snow...and still coming ]

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