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Sourdough Chute Fest, Sunrise, June 11, 2005

Opening day for the road to Sunrise was scheduled for June 11, 2005 - about two weeks ahead of the normal opening date, and the Turns-All-Year regulars were pumped to be there. Greenwater denizen Joedabaker and TAY moderator Ron Jarvis lead the online charge, and the posts lead to close to 15 people showing up at Buzzy's in Greenwater before caravanning up to the park.

We parked at the hairpin bend in the road just east of Dege Peak, made introductions or greeted friends and ski partners, and headed out the Dege Peak trail. The mile or so hike in (in ski boots) went quickly amidst the banter from Joedabaker and ron j, and I met several of Joe's regular Crystal Mountain posse, including Matt McCartney (brother of US Olympian Scott) and Mark on the way up.

Even in this most lackluster of snow years, the strips of snow continued high up on Dege Peak, and Kam and Jerry White set up to film the fun as the group attached sliding implements. Mark, Gus Matt M. led off, with Matt showing ultra-smooth tele steez through the direct narrow slot from the top. The rest of the group followed, with much cheering and whooping ensuing. The group then split into two, with some people heading east to check another chute and some going for a second run just slightly skier's right of the first.

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Following run # 2, I headed over to see what the Jarvis group was getting into, and spotted a narrow, steep dead-end slot that looked like it could yield a decent photo op (see picture third from left in the above row) - I booted up and found, among other things, that the top was a bit steeper and narrower than I had imagined, and presented a problem in terms of simply putting on my skis. Kam got into position to shoot while I hacked a platform next to the moat and stepped in.

Looking down with skis on, I realized that I was facing the wrong way; it would have been better to head skier's right to begin, but I had already spent ten minutes or so to get to this point, so I let 'em run. The first jump turn was good, but I didn't quite get my skis around all the way, caught some frozen debris with my edges, and headed for the rock wall only a couple of feet away with no room to turn, plowing into the rock and coming out of one Dynafit. The crowd at the bottom later told me they thought it was intentional and that I was going to ski out of the hole in a second or two! (lol)! (Kam, inspired by my lack of execution on turn # 2, immediately hiked up and ripped the line).

At this point, some of the group headed up and out the trail to fire up the grills and start the festivities. I had the good fortune to hook up with Joedabaker and his cronies who were intent on getting to the goods on Sourdough Ridge before anyone else this year . . .

We headed due west with Joe, Mark, Matt M., Chris (Scotsman), Carol, Darci, Matt Kuharic ("winner " of the recent Silver Skis re-enactment) and myself in tow, and hit every decent looking chute along the way with the exception of the last bowl above Sunrise. Just as we began the descent to the lodge, we noticed Dan coming up the bowl and Chris Cass and Jessica Levine coming up the trail to check it out also.

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Cass and Sheispiste gave us the news that the others had already grilled and run, so we carpooled back to the observation point parking lot and fired up Chris' Weber. We drew the wagons into a circle for a windbreak and sat, more or less in comfort, as the June weather buffeted us with a combination of sun, wind, fog and snow. The burgers and "homewrecker" sausages with "Beaver" tasted great (as Joedabaker so aptly put it, "it ain't a homewrecker without Beaver"); the group ate and traded stories until the deteriorating weather prompted us to pack it up and go home.

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