Yesterday was a day of reckoning. If one were to come out to Portland in the first quarter of the year, then the logical reasoning would be that one really ought to go skiing or snowboarding down the side of Mount Hood. I’d been aware of this implicit challenge for some time, noting that as the weeks were passing and the season was drawing to a close that my chances for actually getting on the mountainside were fast receding.
Fed up of inaction on the subject, phone calls were made, equipment bought (end of season deals!), and before I’d really considered what I was doing I was driving in the direction of Mount Hood on the back of a 7am start.
After a while driving the trees became white, the roads took on an incline, and a couple of blizzards came and went. I was definitely heading into the land of snow. After a short duration of driving round the base of the mountain it occurred to me that the roads were becoming icy, and the signs demanding that people to use snow chains were starting to sink in. Unfazed by a brief interruption to a smooth flowing morning I pulled into a pit-stop and inquired as to where snow chains such as these could be bought:
“Three miles back the way you came sir” was the response. Ah well, these things happen. Three miles back the other way there was indeed a motor-repair place, and the friendly chap there said “it’s end of season sir, you have to go three miles back that way” he pointed to the road back to Portland. Three miles later, same story. Fifteen miles after that… same story. Finally, after about five or six different motor places at staggered distances on the route between Mount Hood and Portland, I found somewhere that sold the correct size that was required. Phew.
So, unscathed, and after paying some guy a few bucks to fit the snow chains, I finally made it up the mountain:
Glorious isn’t it? The ski-lodge is halfway up 12,000 ft of the mountain. The views were plentiful:
With no further time to waste, I got my gear:
and hit the slopes:
This is the view from the ski-lift:
I had a great time. I think I actually took to snowboarding, and was able to make it down the slope doing a few twists and turns without falling off (which is quite an achievement I think). Unfortunately though my trainer perhaps over emphatically embraced my natural ability and insisted I tried doing crazy stuff like going down backwards and mixing it up the whole time. After a while I started to get confused with all the techniques he was teaching me about and I started to fall more often and harder. I cut the lesson a little short eager to get away from him, and I was tiring fast anyway. The ski-lodge bar beckoned where a small glass of beer and nachos could be enjoyed before starting the trip back down the mountain. I want to try again snowboarding; for the period in between being learning how it works and then been overly optimistic about my ability the experience was thrilling.
Another enjoyable weekend in Portland. Next weekend I’m off to Chicago for a ThoughtWorks home office day (a day where consultants that are normally out on the road get to spend a working day near their ‘home office’ with everyone else).