I see that a report on the Targhee trip has been requested, so here we go!
Stan-man hit the road from Seattle at about 4AM on Wednesday, forgoing all sleep and pushing on till almost noon. (All prior reports have been confirmed - he is an animal!) We had lunch on the road gassed up the 4-runner and blasted out of Missoula towards the Promised Land. I had a "John Adams" book-on-tape to keep me company and we powered thru I-15 at 80 mph, while Stan got some much needed sleep. As the sun set and the cool night air desended on us, Stan arose from his slumber, looked at the dashboard and declared "We are out of GAS!!" Yikes! I was so wrapped in JA, the spirit of 76, the letters to Abigail, and the rat bastards that Dickinson and Jefferson turned out to be that I had never even thought about fuel. We had just entered the Targhee National Forest and our chances of finding civilization looked bleak. I powered down to 45 mph, put on the cruise control and just kept going. We finally got to an exit, but there was nary a light, certainly no gas station. We plunged forward, and when Stan checked his cell phone he delivered more grim news. No Signal. Folks, we were on empty, fumes only, no way to call for help. At 45 mph in a 75 mph zone, no one even passed us. We were truly alone in the world - was this going to one of THOSE trips?. Onward we pushed. The next exit was a campground. The next had a single ranch-house, and the ramp sign clearly said - No Services. Finally, 25 miles later, coughing and weezing, the 4-runner pulled into a service station, delivering us from a dreadful plight. Fortunately for us, the gas station was a Conoco (since Stan has taken a principled stand against Exxon for that ugly Valdez business).
Fresh from the buzz of survival, we reached our goal - Grand Targhee Resort. We quickly hooked up with Tony and Steve and got ready to charge the next day. Thursday Morning. The adrenaline was high - first turns of the year for most of us. As we blasted down the hill, an unfamiliar noise was heard - a horrible grinding, screeching crunching sound. ROCKS - Lots of rocks. The snow cover was --- shall we say modest. Did that slow down the Brokeback Boys - I think not!. By lunch we did some checking of equipment and lo, each of us had a core shot. I had an edge ripped out on one ski and crack right through on the other. At the end of the day at the tune up shop, I showed my day's work to the tech. (Me) "I think I just need some hot wax" (Him)"Dude, you need a new ski!" He was kind enough to lend me a hacksaw a hammer and some pliers and in no time I was back in business.
Unfortunately, we didn't get any snow during the clinic. Fortunately, we were able to hike for a few freshies and had some cat skiing to ease the pain. We all had a blast. We learned a lot, improved and each had his stellar moments. But, we all got upstaged by a nine year old (cute) punk. DesLauriers, I think his name was. He had the bling, he had the fur, he had the moves, he had it all. Other highlights were the 7AM stretch with T Horton, the 2-hour, $60 breakfast at the restaurant, and of course the nightly hang. The restaurant was a source of no minor irritation as Steve, glutton for punishment that he is, went back for dinner. After waiting at the door for many minutes to be seated in an empty room, he ordered fish and salad (for a bargain price of $79.95). After 40 minutes he got a head of iceberg cut in half with some dressing spilled over the top. When the fish came 30 minutes later, it was terrible. I believe that was the last of our meals in the restaurant.
By the end, it had all come together, we had some new friends from Canada, a lot of laughs, and some good memories. We were ready to start our goodbyes, when out of the suddenly cloudy sky it started. SNOW. Perfect blower flakes, trickling down with renewed vigor. Too bad, its too late for us, we are leaving first thing tomorrow morning - Right Stan. Well, it turns out Tony and Steve were staying an extra day or two. We needed a framework, a decision tree, a threshold. After much discussion, we decided that if there was 3-inches of snow we would stay till 2 pm, then make the 10-hr drive to Sandpoint. If there was a foot, we would spend the night. Next morning, early on, it was clear, there was three inches - we would SKI!! Somehow, I was first out and battled the fog but found the lines we would need to uncover on this soon to be epic day. We finally grouped up and hit it. Its funny what just a little snow will do. That wonderful, fickle substance that we chase so hard, so often. Sometimes, it just has to come to you. What a day we had, blasting thru the pow, conquering tight lines through trees, through the open bowls, ripping top to bottom. We all realized it was a day we would not soon forget. 2pm rolled around - it was time to go. Well maybe just one more run. OK then just another. Oh hell, we're here till closing. And so it was. Charging hard to chase down that last chair, we barely made it. The perfect end to the perfect day of a #$^*ing perfect trip.
How much longer till February?? We really need to do this again sooner.