Thanks for putting those pictures up Jamesj, I look forward to seeing the rest.
As you can see, we had good conditions, a great bunch of skiers and a really good time at the gathering. Greg and I were probably the first to arrive Friday afternoon, as both of us pulled into the Timberline Lodge parking lot around the same time. We went out and started skiing and eventually met up with Jimmy, who is an instructor at Timberline and Charles, who skied with us until Sunday, but was staying with his family in another rental house. Friday we sampled most of the advanced and intermediate terrain that was open and I even went with Greg down Off The Wall, which is the bump run that You see in the one video that was posted. I'd love to say I skied it as nicely as Vince does in the video, but that would be a lie. The backside of all the moguls were shear ice on Friday and I did a lot of slide slipping to a found a place with some decent snow to make a turn and then side slip again. Last year I probably would not have even tried that run, so I look at how I did as progress.
By Friday evening most of the people staying at the lodge arrived. The evening was pretty much filled with good food, wine and ski movies.
Saturday a large group of us headed out in the morning to ski Timberline again. A couple of us had tickets that would allow us to ski both Canaan and Timberline, but it was snowing hard and we decided to leave trying Canaan Valley for Sunday. Conditions improved with the snow overnight and most of the icy patches that we found Friday afternoon were covered up in the morning. After a couple of runs, most of the group decided to try doing a run down Off the Wall. I had told myself that once was enough when I survived skiing it Friday, but I bowed to peer pressure and followed the main group. I knew I could make it down the run without getting into trouble, even if I didn't look that good doing it. I'm glad I followed the main group on the run as the conditions were a bit better as there was more powder built up around the tops of the moguls so more places available to make a turn. This time down the run, I was actually able to link a couple of turns together before side slipping down a bit. Knowing I could handle going down the run and the better conditions made it so I was able to ski it better than the day before.
We had some others join us Saturday as the day went on and ended up having a good size group going down the advanced and intermediate terrain. We even had one person in the group who just started skiing this year who was able to go down all of the groomed runs that we did during the gathering. I don't think I could, (or would) have gone down some of the terrain she did in my first year of skiing.
On Sunday, Jamesj, Greg and I headed over to Canaan Valley to ski for a couple of hours. While Canaan is smaller in vertical and a little less challenging than Timberline, Canaan also had way less skiers skiing on the mountain and Canaan had also just opened up a few runs Sunday that were ungroomed and covered mainly with natural snow. Powder skiing is fairly new to me, but I did my best to keep up with Greg and Jamesj as we searched for the best untracked powder. Jamesj would ski down ahead of us and then stop to take pictures as we came down the hill. I think he actually got a couple of me where I look like I know what I'm doing, like the one of me (Keith) that he posted at the beginning of the thread. I know he got at least one where I look pretty bad as well, when I almost fell and was on the back of my skis, but was some how able to recover and stay upright. Of course Jamesj promised not to post that one to Epicski. I was happy with how I skied in the ungroomed powder, even though I did have the one almost fall and another actual fall in the couple of hours we were at Canaan. Hey, if you don't fall at least once, are you really pushing yourself?
Around lunch time Jamesj, Greg and I headed back to the ski house to meet up with the rest of the gathering and have some lunch. Me knee was aching a little bit from the fall I had taking at Canaan, but I went out and skied for a couple of more hours with the group after lunch. My last run of the day actually consisted of another first for me. Poaching a closed run with some others. Yes, peer pressure can lead you to be a bad boy. Timberline had one of their advanced trails closed Saturday and Sunday for races. After the racing was finished Sunday afternoon, they still had the trail closed, even though most of the gates, fencing and other things put up for the race had been taken down. The upper lift at Timberline ran along that trail and we could see that there was some nice snow on the sides of the trail which the racers hadn't skied off. We found a small side entrance to the trail from an adjacent trail (no signs on the side entrance saying closed) that let us on to the trail and had a nice run down a groomed trail that had a topping of unskied powder at the edges.
Sunday was the end of the skiing for me. My one knee ached a bit from the fall I had taken earlier and I decided that it would be best to not push by trying to get in another couple of hours Monday morning. If I didn't have the Tahoe gathering coming up in two weeks I'd probably done it, but I would have hated to do something that would end my season before the gathering. My knee and leg feel fine today and I was able to do a full workout on it over lunch, so I probably would have been alright skiing Monday, but I'm still glad that I skipped the skiing Monday as it was time to get home.
To sum it all up, I had a great time, skiing was some great skiers and got to push myself a bit. What more could I ask for in a gathering.