- Great synopsis Darrel... It was great getting to know everone. I'm feeling stoked for many trips to camas. Maybe even to the 'secret spot'.Take care.Jason
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Darrel Thomas
Sent: Monday, December 05, 2005 10:35 PM
"We had joy, We had fun, We had Seasons in the...." Well, okay so there wasn’t much sun, but we still had good times.
We made it to Mount Pleasant late Friday night, after a drive in near perfect conditions. We watched a pile of snowkite DVDs on the way. Alas, all the beer was in the trunk so the party didn’t really roll ‘till we got Salt Lake and Jay grabbed some beer. Okay, it was Utah 3.2 beer so the party didn’t REALLY roll ‘till we got to the hotel and broke out the good shit. OKAY, the truth is we were pretty hammered after the drive and hit the hay after a beer. What can I say, we must be getting old.
Saturday morning we left the sunny valley and headed up to Skyline. It’s a 15 minute drive from Fairfield, 4000ft to the top, 10,000ft. That’s a steep windy road. As you might have guessed the top was socked in. But, since the valley was fairly clear, we figured it would clear soon enough. We all got geared up headed out into the foggy snow.
There were about 100 people that showed up to kite on Saturday, some very good, lots of intermediates, and a good number of novices and first timers. For a while it was pretty crowded, but as the visibility continued to worsen, and the winds to became less stable, the crowds thinned until only the very good and the very crazy remained. Dimitri, pro rider from the Carolinas, Definitely had it goin’ on. He never stopped; coming in and out of the base camp throwing awesome tricks with every pass. Brian and Heather, the Ozone guys, really put on a good event with tunes thumpin’ Chilli cookin’ and Ska beer from Colorado flowin’.
I kited for an hour or so, until the winds were too unstable. I had a bad 20 minutes or so where I spent more time relaunching my kite than riding, so I bagged it. Of course when I got to the car, I found everyone sitting in the car warming up and having lunch. Sounded like a good plan to me.
A while later I realized Jay hadn’t been around for a while, so I slapped my skis on and went out to take a look around. I wandered around the bottom a little bit but didn’t see him anywhere. Brian and Nick were running snowmobiles rescuing stranded kiters, so I sent them out to look for him. I told them Jay tends to get way away from everybody, and then get into trouble, so look way out past the last guy. A long time later, Jay comes strolling in with one ski, and no kite!
Apparently, he WAS way out there, and he WAS in trouble. He had gone up on a higher plateau, where he was having the best kiting of his life. The winds were stabler, and he was having a ball working on nice smooth turns, and just tearing it up for hours. Then, the winds got vicious, and the visibility made the final plunge into total white out. Quite sensibly, Jay set his kite down to wait it out. After a while, he decided it wasn’t going to break any time soon, so he secured the kite to his ski, watched it for a few minutes to make sure it was solid, and went to pack up his kite. As soon as he started toward the kite, a gust hit the kite, popped the ski loose and away they went for a little tryst of their own in the woods. Leaving Jay alone in the snow, no kite, one ski. Knowing home was back into the wind, and not knowing what lay beyond into the squall where his kite had gone, he abandoned his lost kite, and started post holing his way back, guided only by the apparition of a lone kite sometimes barely visible in the snow and fog, and the faint sound of the music occasionally being blown his direction. Jay said the hike across the top was brutal, managing three or four steps before stopping to breathe and re-orient himself. Eventually, he reached the hill that led back down to safety. After skiing down on one ski, and no poles, Jake picked him up on the snowmobile and brought him in. Jake made an attempt to find Jay’s kite when the sky cleared, but it was socked in again by the time he got to the top of the hill. There is a cornice at the far end that he did not to drop over, but he looked around briefly on the top. Jay is coping with the loss of his favorite kite as best he can; remembering the good times they shared and so on...
I never went back out, but a few from our group tried a little more. Jason didn’t go in the morning, but went later and had a rockin’ good time as did Monty and Ryan. John was out most of the day cruising back and forth near the base camp. Steve gave it a couple of shots later, but never had as good a session as the first one.
The party at the local bar in Mount Pleasant was a good time with kite videos and raffle prizes. Some of us brought home some goodies. But, as I mentioned before, we seem to be getting old and we all split by 9:00. The two young punks, Ryan and Monty were the first to bail. Go figure. Jay and I wanted to stick around to see if they played our movie, but after they switched to kareoki, we gave up.
The forecast for Sunday was for clearing skies and better wind. On our way to bed the sky was clear, so we were stoked for the morning. When dawn broke, however, there were low clouds hanging all across the valley. The forecast seemed to change minute by minute. Spiraling down from clear with 15mph wind, to partly cloudy, to mostly cloudy, and ending up at mostly cloudy 20% chance of measurable precip and winds 25mph. We met a herd of people coming down off the hill when we were heading up. They said it was way worse than yesterday so we turned back for home. We hoped we would find somewhere en route to Boise to do our thing, but we never found all three magic ingredients, wind visibility and snow, all in the proper balance to make it worth while. Brian called in to report that no one managed to kite at Skyline until about 3:30, and the skies didn’t really clear until 4:30, and the sun set about 5:00. So it was good that we cut our losses and headed for home.
All in all, it was a great trip, with the opportunity to meet fellow kiters from around the country, hang out, drink some beer, and watch some movies. Oh yeah and do a little kiting, and learn some hard lessons. I feel your pain Jay.