Pow shots, the Pineapple Express & K2 Auto Agogos
Friday night Tyler called: Be ready at 7:15 a.m., we’re getting first tracks in the morning. I squeezed in four hours of not-so-sober sleep and was ready with my pile of gear when he knocked on the apartment door the next morning. By 9:15 a.m. we were skating up to Chair 2 at Alpental, coffee and bagels in the belly, ready to get some.
And so, the winter route begins.
We had six in our party Saturday, a group instantly disbanded by the first chair from lack of communication, and probably sleep. So it goes. So Tyler and I took the first run down the Eldeweiss bowl. The moguls remained huge and the snow, heavy and unrelentingly grabby. Not such pleasant a ride. So we checked out International—a little lighter over there, but much the same. Really, earning-the-turns. We each took a good snow-harvesting ragdoll, and then worked our way down to Chair 1.
We couldn’t complain, though. The colder-than predicted temps kept the rain at bay, and the snow crystals were piling up. Soon, in the typical short lines at Alpy, we found the rest of the posse. They’d already checked out Shot Six: Virgin territory to Tyler and I, so we listened to instructions and then followed them in—down along the side of the face, around to the left of the ridge, and down into the shoot full of tree-preserved powder above Chair 1. Then we hiked up to the entrance, a steep, swooping drop-in that delivered one into a bounty of sweet thick powder. One by one we dropped in, sinking slightly, but leaning far back to link turns. The whoops and hollers soon echoed. Real NW surfing, tree-dodging, sailing, sinking and learning back to get floating again. Straight shooting it with knees so bent that it didn’t matter that as the day wore on and the storm closed in around us, we couldn’t see a single contour, dip or rise in the snow field we were charging through—again and again, hot lapping it, getting drenched in the wet snow, but first tracks with each layer of fresh.
Finally, my body gave out. Tyler’s feet ached. Dan’s gloves were soaked and goggles, fogged. Time to call it. We’d taken what nature gave and were ready for food and beer. Sunday, wouldn’t be a repeat. The rains were coming. It’s still early season.
Sunday morning lay drenched in Epic Rainstorm 2010, a Pineapple Express, that rolled through Western Washington, closing all the ski resorts, and keeping even Billy and I indoors for a whole day. A bit of bizarre weather, but sometimes you just accept that nature will do her thing. We instead had plenty of red wine to keep the spirits high and Chess and Uno for a grand play date in our 2nd story tree-house apartment bedecked with warmly glowing Christmas lights, on all day. A good pre-Christmas Sunday.
In the midst, I also got these stealth betties all set-up for my boots. They’re K2 Auto Agogos. I choose them for several reasons: the thick dampening pad, the auto ratcheting system, the secure traps. But also the medium flex, which should be good for all-mountain riding, and the medium response, not too overly efficient, not sluggish. It’s the kind of response I go for in a board too: technology that you control, rather than the other way around. Yes, they did take a good while to set up, and will probably need more adjusting once I take them for a spin, because you’ve got to get the toe straps dialed-in simultaneously with the ankle strap; it’s a lot of back and forth. But once set-up, they should prove convenient on the hill.
Anyway, check out their features below. I’ll let you know how they ride in the near future.
Oh yeah, and have yourself happy holidays!