It's Greg Hill's fault.
His signature STOKE ski by Dynafit started a chain reaction that ended with a wrecked 4Runner, a broken camera, some nice powder, and two pairs of Greg's Stoke model ordered and on the way to AK. It's a complicated tale.
Geno & BJ on the trail.
Geno and I really had to have them, the Stokes, the Greg Hill ski. After independently shopping, we compared notes, and both found the Stoke's allure irresistable. Hitting the enter key at the online shop put the events in motion for an expensive day.
Geno leads to a glade.
Back to the events. Geno and yours truly independently hit the enter key to send a pair of Dynafit Stokes to Geno & BJ's place, and another pair to Cindy's Ski Hut where Cindy allows yours truly to camp full time.
Fired up with anticipatory stokage, we embarked on a preStoke trip to test BJ's new AT set up. We skin up the old military area at Arctic Valley and make a run in the winter storm. BJ deems her set up worthy of more skinning and shredding. Geno suggests we move up the valley. It's unanimous.
5 Mile Trail - we rode the best of it, about 300 ft powdery verts.
After enjoying the best bit of 5 Mile Trail, we skin back to the 4Runner, load up, and don't have time for the driver to change out of ski boots. Two stuck rigs litter the ditch between us and the parking area up valley about a half mile and 200 ft vertical away, but up we drive anyway. We make it beyond the two ditch divers and upward motion grinds to a stop. Geno and I hop out and push. We're like mosquitos fighting a gale. I knew it was bad when I saw the two tires on my side locked and skidding with the 4Runner sliding downhill backwards and gaining speed.
"Push her in the DITCH!", Geno yelled. Mosquito-like, we pushed the 2-ton sliding mass. 350 lb v. 4000 lb, the winner was obvious. Knocked down by the careening 4Runner, I rolled and dodged the 4Runner sliding backwards down the sloped road.
"LOOK OUT! LOOK OUT!" Geno's got a big voice, and the people digging out the ditched vehicles below heard in time, they scrambled up on the berm. CRACK, the 4Runner nearly missed the 1st rig, but the sidemirror whacked it, broke, and flaccidly flopped on the fender. This set the 4Runner on a slow spin as it slid down the icy road. The spin set the 4Runner rear bumper on a direct course for the 2nd stuck rig, a new red pickup. BAM, the 4Runner bumper bounced off the red truck's rear quarter panel, leaving it one dent richer. Couldn't be helped.
BJ and the 4Runner finally came to a stop near our prior parking spot with the driver's side mirror dangling by its wires.
Thank God, those diggers trying to free the rigs from their snowy traps dove out of the way and didn't get smashed. The two ladies, Ma and Gramma, in the 1st rig were all shook up and wanted to get out of there. Gramma was dressed in pedal-pusher capri cotton pants, slip on canvas slippers without socks, a tee shirt with a light jacket; within an hour of hypothermia in the winter storm. A little heavy with a bad knee, she was afraid to walk down the road, but after getting whacked by the 4Runner, she was afraid to stay in their stuck Bronco. Her daughter finally convinced her to walk down the hill. Geno and I helped Gramma down the road. HONK! HONK!
Another vehicle was sliding down the road out of control, coming right for us! Geno pushed Gramma onto the berm and dove. We escaped, but the poor red truck got smacked again. Surviving the near miss, we pulled Gramma up to her feet, brushed her off, and walked her down another few hundred feet and put her in the warm but dinged 4Runner.
The snowplow pulled out the rigs. Ma and Gramma wouldn't set foot in their old Bronco, so I drove it down to the sledding hill pickup where their kids waited. BJ and Geno taxied Ma and Gramma in the 4Runner.
BJ leads Geno to the pow.
After the bumper car and Gramma rescue episode, we calmed down and agreed: day is young, snow is soft, and we're here. Let's ski. Our exploration above the Ship Creek Trailhead was an emotional respite, a welcome retreat ensconced in powder.
Epilogue: My post ski limp is more prominent than usual with a deep thigh bruise, and my camera is broken. Apparently the camera in the midthigh 'guide pocket' of my pants took the brunt of the careening 4Runner knocking me down.
Smashed side mirror, 2 dinged ditch divers, and broken camera.
And, 2 pairs of Greg Hill signature STOKE skis. An expensive day, but we did find the untracked experience.