End of the Season

Greetings, Schweitzer Fans! Has anyone looked outside lately? Ten inches have piled up in the last 24 hours! Talk about a switcheroo from last week’s weather! What better way to send the season off in style than with a huge powder dump? As we head into this last week of operations, I can’t think of conditions more fitting.

If you’ve done your math right, you’ve realized that yes; this is my last blog entry for the season. Don’t cry now. We’ve had a good run, you and I, Schweitzer Fans. Through trials and tribulations, powder dumps and bluebird days, we’ve stuck together as only true Schweitzer Fans can do. I hope that each and every one of you had a fantastic, amazing, mind-blowing season. I hope you slayed pow lines, braved steep chutes and showed some trees who’s boss. And for those of you who are legal age, I hope you raged like you’ve never raged before. Basically, I hope everyone had the best time of their lives making memories any way they could at Schweitzer this season.

This being my third season at Schweitzer, I feel a little like I’ve grown up here. This season was my longest, as I began my new position here at the beginning of September. It was really eye-opening to work at the mountain during the shoulder season. I feel like I have accrued a vast amount of knowledge and experience in just eight short months. Once the season began, things really started to pick up; I feel like I blinked in December and now we’re almost done! It always amazes me how fast the season goes by when you’re not looking. Is anyone else feeling that panic of not riding enough days? I know I am! Fortunately, those of us who are worried still have six days left after today. I might have to break my usual routine and go out after my snow report shift. I usually head straight home. See: my 3:30am wakeup call. That is one thing about this season I am probably not going to miss too much.

There will be many things that I do miss, however. First and foremost are all the amazing people who live and work in our little mountain community! There really is something special about the people who call this place home. Everyone is always thrilled to be out here in the snow, making magic and showing guests this place we love. When it really comes down to it, people are what really make or break a ski resort. Terrain, snow and location are all important, but at the end of the day the attitude and vibe are what really counts.

And of course, I’ll miss riding my favorite mountain in the world. Yes that’s right, I said it. THE WORLD. THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. Why go anywhere else when this is in your backyard? It’s always a thrill to look back on a season and see how much I’ve progressed, and this season is no different. Oddly enough, I feel like my breakthrough day came when I hit the hill after a few (or more) libations and just tore. It. Up. Funny how it works that way…

And excluding the early wakeup, I think I will miss snow reporting. There’s just something about wandering around in the dark thinking, not sure if it’s snowing… or if the wind is just blowing snow around… that really sticks with a person. Spending countless hours alone at the crack of dawn with the pressure of tons of snow-report psychos breathing down your neck builds character, no doubt about it.

Whatever memories you made this season, keep them close to your heart Schweitzer Fans. Being out here is a beautiful thing! I’m not sure where my next adventure will take me, but wherever it is I’ll be taking Schweitzer with me.

Snow Reporter Life

Good morning Schweitzer Fans, and thanks for calling the Schweitzer Mountain Snow phone….I mean thanks for reading the Schweitzer Mountain blog! Sometimes it’s hard to turn that snow reporter mentality off; I often have to stop myself from saying “thanks for calling the Schweitzer Mountain snow phone, have a great day!” every time I’m talking to someone during the rest of my work hours. (For those of you who didn’t know, I actually work for the Sales & Marketing department here; yes that’s right, I am so much more than just a snow reporter and blog writer).

As this season winds to a close, I find myself reflecting on my time as an early-morning snow reporter. While I have previously filled the 9am-3pm snow report spots, this was my first year braving the pre-crack of dawn hours to preach the good news. I must say, it’s a very interesting experience to be up here that early. Sometimes it’s kind of creepy, being the only one in the building. Even the drive up is kind of eerie, which is why I always play my music at full blast on my way up the mountain. It scares off homicidal maniacs, bears, hipsters, wandering deer, etc. It’s a safety mechanism. Really.

This morning’s report was nothing out of the usual. With completely clear skies and no winds, there’s really nothing too hectic going on! It was a great morning to just relax and muse, which are two of my best talents. I got to thinking more about snow reporting, and wondering just how much the general public knows about what goes into it. Now I don’t want to give away any trade secrets here, but in general it involves a lot of typing, phone calls and wandering around the village staring at the dark sky, trying to figure out if it’s clear, cloudy, partly cloudy, high clouds, wispy clouds, fluffy clouds, etc. And trust me, that’s harder than it sounds. It is DARK up here in the mornings. I’ve heard one or two complaints before, things like “you don’t say enough about the weather in the 5am phone update”. That’s because it’s DARK dude. Beyond snowing, not snowing, windy, not windy, clear or probably cloudy it can be hard to tell!

And the sunrises. Oh, the sunrises, Schweitzer Fans. They are one of the best things about being up on the mountain so early. On a clear morning like today, the colors as the sun comes up over the mountains and lake are indescribable. (See picture below!) I can seriously recommend getting up here before the sunrise at least once during the season. You will not regret it! There’s a definite serenity to those early morning hours.

I hope you all have had a great season thus far, Schweitzer Fans! And don’t worry I’m not signing off quite yet; I’ll bust out a few more sensational blogs before the season is over. I’m just preparing you for the inevitable!

PS-Still love my Zags!

 

Katie Ross

Snow Tires

Has anyone seen the forecast for this week? One to three inches Tuesday night, five to nine on Wednesday, one to two Wednesday night, and one to three on Thursday. Holy powder! Pray, chant, dance or do whatever you do so that this forecast stays the way it is, Schweitzer Fans! Is there anything better than some late-season powder? If there is, I don’t know what it is! Already conditions are great; I rode Kathy’s Yard Sale yesterday, and except for a little mogul mishap (I could have sworn it wasn’t a flat landing…), it was awesome. And as we all know, Kathy’s isn’t really a run to take unless there’s good powder to be found. And there was, Schweitzer Fans. Oh there was. Even though my poor backside is a little sore from the spill I took (darn flat landing), I am eagerly anticipating this forecast (fingers crossed it doesn’t change too much in the next few days)! It’s like waiting for Christmas when you think you know what present you’re getting, and you’re just waiting to see if you were right or not.

Unfortunately for me, this is really the only day I have time to go get my snow tires taken off. Yes, I was blessed with the studs this year. They help on the icy roads (I think) but they kill my gas mileage and are super loud. I have to make a trip home this week, and I don’t want to drive that far with studs on bare roads! But Katie, you might say, would you really get your snow tires taken off right before a big snow week? Yes, and I’ll tell you why: I call it the Law of Katie.

If I get my snow tires taken off, we will get more snow. It’s that simple. The amount of snow we get is directly proportional to just how much said snow will be a pain in my rear. No snow tires? Nine inches! Running late to work? Three inches! Miss getting a spot in village lane and have to park in Outer Mongolia, aka the Gateway lot? TWELVE INCHES! Just kidding on that last one, but seriously. I’ve practically got it down to an equation.  I’m sure many of you feel like this happens to you as well; it seems to be a pretty common phenomenon. However, I know we all want that snow!

Therefore, out of respect for all of you, I have decided to take one for the team and go ahead and get my tires changed today. It’s a huge sacrifice, I know, but I feel in the end it’ll be worth it. On Thursday when I’m swishing sweet powder I won’t be thinking about the perils of driving down the hill that day. No, I’ll be enjoying the feeling of freshies and of knowing I helped make it happen. You’re welcome, Schweitzer Fans.

 

Katie Ross

PS-Go Zags!!!

Netflix Tattoo

Greetings, Schweitzer Fans! I hope you all enjoyed your weekend! It was another great one up here at Schweitzer. As I look out my window I see beautiful sunshine; spring is upon us! I hope everyone gets a chance to make some turns this week. The season is winding down; we have to take advantage of our days!

Now, to business. The radio calls I make every Monday morning to inform slathering Schweitzer Fans about our conditions are usually pretty entertaining. However, even I could not have anticipated the story I heard from the DJs at KICR: apparently, there’s a guy out there somewhere who tattooed “Netflix” on his abdomen and in return, they gave him free Netflix for a year. A year?! I thought to myself. –Expletive- that. They would have to give me free Netflix for life. And my friends. And my family. And my dog. I mean when you think about it, a tattoo lasts for life, so why shouldn’t the free Netflix? They are essentially getting free advertising for life from this guy. Every trip to the beach, every gym shower, every amorous encounter will be tainted by his Netflix flesh-billboard. Ick.

The DJ’s talked about how great it would be to get free skiing for life at Schweitzer with a Schweitzer tattoo. But since I already get free skiing here (suckers!), they put me on the spot by asking what I would get tattooed on myself if I could get it free for life. Now, before I relay my answer, please keep in mind that in addition to spring forward I was up at 3:30am this morning. I also try my best to never take situations like this too seriously. So, my blurted-out, creeptastic answer was, “Unnhhh Bagel Bites.”

Now, obviously this was not a serious answer. I would never get a Bagel Bites tattoo. Unless serious money was involved. Like five or six figures at least. I quickly relayed, since I was live on the air, that I was just kidding and I could never do that because not only would I be stuck with a Bagel Bites tattoo, I would probably weigh about 200 pounds, which would not look great on my elf-like frame. Everybody cracked up, we said our farewells and I went about my snow reporting business.

Now that I’ve had a few hours to think about it, I think there might be a few things I’d get a very small, very coverable tattoo of if I could get free stuff from them. One would be Nordstrom. Holy cow, if I could shop at Nordstrom free for life I’d probably get that tattoo on my forehead. (Just kidding…or am I?) Another might be Sephora. I spend an obscene amount of money there. (Coincidently, even though they started putting Sephoras in JC Penny’s quite a while ago (an interesting move, I must say…), the JC Penny’s in the Bonner Mall is probably THE ONLY ONE IN THE WORLD that still doesn’t have a Sephora, at least the last time I checked. So I end up spending even more on shipping. Curse you, beauty product gods!) Although I suppose all those beauty products are also sold at Nordstrom, so that’d be two birds with one stone. Another would be the name of the sickest boardshop I could find, and then I could get free gear for life. Also, a really great winery and/or brewery logo could potentially grace my pristine hide if they would give me free libations for life. And last but not least, our intern Matt’s contribution: Amazon.com. Maybe he really is smarter than the rest of us…

Treat Yourself

Greetings, Schweitzer Fans! Who’s got their sunglasses out today? Easy temps and not a cloud in the sky today! As I’ve referenced many times before, today would be a great day for goggle tans. What better way to mark your skiing prowess than a two-toned face?

Earlier today as I whiled away the morning snow reporting, I had a flashback to one of my favorite YouTube clips of all time: “Treat Yourself” from the show “Parks and Recreation” (YouTube search “treat yourself”. You will not be disappointed). In the clip, two of the characters discuss how they take one day a year to treat themselves.  What do they treat themselves to, you might ask? Clothes (treat yourself)! Fragrances (treat yourself)! Massages (treat yourself)! Mimosas (treat yourself)! Fine leather goods (treat yourself)! It’s the best day of the year!

Now, all the above treats all sound pretty good to me, but this is a snow blog so I thought I would remix this business to match our surroundings. Ready?

The Schweitzer Fans’ Treat Yourself List

New goggles-What better way to treat yourself than with some new protection for your peepers? Goggles aren’t just protection though; they’re one of the first markers of your steeze. Are you classic all-black? Wild camo print? Hot pink? Go crazy with this one, Schweitzer Fans.

Skis/board-Obviously this is a rather large treat, but if you’ve got the means, why not?! With how much technology changes every year, there’s always something new and exciting to try out. Update your quiver and treat yourself at the same time!

Skins-If you’re a backcountry maven or a hiking fiend, skins might be a great treat for you. Just make sure you know how to use them! (I really don’t, so I’m going to leave it at that).

Beermosa-Not exactly as luxurious as it’s more famous cousin the mimosa, but the beermosa is the drink treat of choice for the ski enthusiast. A little bit of beer, a little bit of mosa. How can you go wrong?

A trip somewhere epic-I am dead serious about this one. Getting out of your comfort zone on a ski, heli or cat trip would definitely be my number one pick for a treat. What better extravagance than getting out there and making memories during an epic ski adventure?

These are just a sampling of the many ways a Schweitzer Fan can treat themselves. Maybe sign up for a private lesson, or indulge your palate at the Chimney Rock. No matter how big or how small your treat yourself day is, the point is to take some time to appreciate yourself and this great place we live in! See you on the hill, Schweitzer Fans!

Powder is Back!

Who’s ready for some powder, Schweitzer fans?! The long-awaited storms have finally arrived and dumped over 14 inches at Schweitzer! Even as I write this, the skies are white with flying frozen precipitation. I don’t know about you, but I was so happy to see it I didn’t even mind scraping my car off the last few days. Whatever snow dances we’ve been doing, they’re working! As I watch people go by my office, all I see are big pow smiles.

Even though this is the first big snow we’ve had in a while, I think everyone can agree that conditions have stayed pretty darn good in the interim. We’ve been blessed with a good number of sunny days this season, and I always say if you can’t have snow, you might as well have sun! I have actually seen quite a few people with some rockin’ goggle tans. I must admit that seeing the sun out on the hill makes me almost as giddy as fresh snow. Almost. There’s something about seeing that big bright ball that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Probably because it usually isn’t that frequent of a winter visitor here! Well fellow sun worshippers, we’ve had our fun, and now it’s time for the powder hounds to have their turn.

Now that we’ve returned to the promised land of soft, fluffy pow goodness, I hope everyone gets a chance to call in “sick” one day this week! Sometimes, taking a day to swish around in some freshies is seriously the best thing you could ever do for yourself. Call it a mental health day- as in you will go mental if you don’t get some pow turns in! Don’t feel guilty, Schweitzer Fans; we’ve all had those days! Fortunately we live in a place where we can get our pow fix pretty quickly if we’re jonesing for the sweet stuff.  Isn’t it wonderful to be able to escape to this magical world of snow and smiles?

So what’s your favorite powder run, Schweitzer fans? I can honestly say I’d have a hard time choosing. Debbie Sue is always choice, and for trees I like Chair 4 and Kathy’s Yard Sale. And If I’m being honest (which you know I always am), Crystal is one of my favorite powder runs. There’s always fresh over there and tons of little areas to discover and play around in! I guess what I’m saying is, get out there and explore! It’s a whole new game out there with all this new snow; the runs have been recharged. Maybe take advantage of the stability pow brings and try a run that’s a little out of your comfort zone. For me it would be Australia or something similar. Looks like that’s where I’ll be headed tomorrow!

President’s Day Wrap-Up

Wow, what a weekend! I hope all you Schweitzer Fans were able to partake in some of our Winter Carnival festivities. Both Pardi Gras and Laser Floyd had great crowds and a rockin’ vibe. It was awesome to see so many people enjoying the mountain and letting loose. The smattering of new snow we got this weekend also really refreshed the trails. I rode a bit both Saturday and Sunday nights, and I must say I was a happy camper.

I really think Laser Floyd, in particular, capped off the weekend well. I had definitely never seen anything like it! The crowd was amped, the drinks were flowing and the laser lines were crisp. I was a little distracted by the 120lb dog I was babysitting; people kept commenting on how the dog must weigh more than me, and I must admit, he dragged me around like a tin can tied to a bumper. So many people, so many smells…Anyway, what I did get to see of the show was pretty spectacular. I’m not sure how many of you turned around at all, but the lights were reflecting and making patterns on all the village buildings. Combined with the little bit of smoke reflecting the lights, the overall effect was pretty sick. The music was pretty sedate, however. If they felt like kicking it up a notch, I think Laser Beyonce would be a solid choice. Beyonce always gets the party started.   

After such an epic weekend (and more in store today for all you with the day off, lucky ducks!), I felt like I’d aged a few years when my alarm went off this morning. I’m definitely one of those people who can never get enough of sleeping! However, once I hit Schweitzer Mountain Road and turned the radio up full blast, I was awake and ready to knock out some snow reporting. As I made my weekly call to my favorite radio station (who shall remain nameless; I can’t be seen playing favorites. Tough, but fair, that’s the snow reporter motto), they enlightened me with some interesting President’s Day trivia-Who was the first president to wear long pants instead of knickers? I must admit, I was stumped. I almost guessed Lincoln, because I know I’ve seen depictions of him in long pants, but quickly dismissed that choice as not being early enough. As I was thinking, trying to take my time and come up with a good response, one of the DJ’s got impatient and shouted out the answer-Thomas Jefferson. I was a little perturbed, as I had thought for years that he was president when knickers were still en vogue. How I could have been so wrong, I’ll never know. The DJ’s were also commentating on the fashion of men wearing powdered wigs back in the day, but I had a good response for that one: “they didn’t know a whole lot about nutrition back then, so maybe they weren’t very healthy and therefore had bad or little hair”. Ha! I thought to myself, a smart, direct answer. Way to kill it, Ross. The DJ’s response? “I think they were just cross dressers.” 

While I feel that both these answers contain a certain validity, at the end of the day it was just the style back then. In a couple hundred years, radio DJ’s (or whatever the futuristic equivalent is), will ask unsuspecting snow reporters obscure trivia questions like, “Why did kids like rock either really baggy or really tight snow pants in the early 2010’s? Who invented the helmet GoPro? And why, oh why, did people wear pants and coats in matching, screaming-loud patterns?” And the poor snow reporter will be stumped, because she’ll have no idea why people chose to look so ridiculous (by the future’s standards, I mean) hundreds of years ago. It is crazy to look back on this holiday and see how far we’ve come! I think next year we should have a presidential-themed party up here (wigs optional).



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