After getting beaten up for 12 straight weeks, I finally got my 6th class for my M. Sc. done.
To celebrate, I spent the weekend with Tony and Kelsey Holmes at their home in Zigzag, OR.


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Believe it or not, this is the view that Tony and Kelsey wake up to every morning from their front
porch. This is the sun rising on Saturday 10 Dec 2005. Shortly after this, Tony and I retired to
their outdoor hot tub to get our body ready for the day to come.


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Part of the reason I wanted to visit the Holmes' this weekend was to get up into the mountains and play
in the snow. Since Tony was guiding a snowshoeing trip, I figured I could help and get some cross-country
ski time in as well. It turns out that the cross-country idea was dreadful (too much uphill and the downhill
was out of control) so I should've used snowshoes, but hey, what are you going to do? Pictured here are (l to r)
Tony's friends Zack and Mary Veselik, and Tony Holmes. We're just getting the snowshoes set out for the students
before they arrive.


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Here I am before I get my ass handed to me on my skis. This is at White River Canyon Snow Park
on the southeast side of Mt Hood. We had picture perfect weather and decent snow.


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Here's Tony with an extra spring in his step. He was also happy that the weather was as nice as it was.


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Some of the students were trying snowshoes for the first time. It was a good day to learn.


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The first few hundred metres are mostly used by sledders enjoying the snow. Here are a few of the
students getting the hang of the shoes.


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One of the teachers who joined this school group.


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Mary is taking a gear removal break here. I love those green gaiters!
This is right before the largest hill we went up, so the
students learned the "rest step".


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Tony also taught them how to use their front crampons, so here they are climbing up about a 45 deg grade.


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Tony incorporated an introduction to avalanche awareness into his course. Here he cut out some snow
to do a Rutschblock test as the students look on to learn about weak and strong snow layers.


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Tony, instructing from the ledge he dug out for this purpose.


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Tony Holmes, avalanche awareness instructor.


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Tony Holmes, mountain gear extraordinaire (nice toque in the front of the shot!)


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Even though I was falling all over the trail, I wound up leading the more ambitious group up past
the tree line. As you can see, it was a tough day to be out.

Great video of Zack doing a sweet backflip just above the treeline at White River Canyon: VIDEO CLIP


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Tony Holmes and his students for the day with Mt Hood visible in the background.


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One of the teachers volunteered (well I volunteered him!) to be my foreground to capture the alpenglow from
Mt Hood. I blurred the picture a little, but the colour is great.


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It's pretty tough to find a better day than this. Thanks to Tony Holmes for letting me join his
guided trip for the day and thanks to the Valley Catholic School Outdoor Group for not laughing at
me too badly on my cross-country skis.

Now, on to some AT skiing


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So, I got to spend another great night at the Holmes' relaxing in their hot tub, enjoying their hospitality
and being entertained by their 2 1/2 year old Micah and their 10 month old Faith. Waking up Sunday, I headed off
for another day on the mountain, this time with Andrew North as we skinned up the Timberline side of Mount Hood.



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We skinned up to the top of the Palmer chair from the Timberline lodge in a little under 2 hours. Not bad for
2540 vertical feet. That's Mt Jefferson and the Sisters behind me looking south into the Cascades.


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Here is Andrew enjoying the fruits of his labour. He's riding a split board that comes apart for hiking up
and comes back together to go down.

Some of Andrew's pictures from the same trip


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As we were on the way up to the top of Palmer, we stopped to enjoy the bluebird sky.


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Great picture from the top of the Palmer snowfield.


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Andrew "I ride a mean split board" North


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Me, enjoying another great day on Dave Pryor's Koflachs.


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On this particular day, the snow was a little firm, and I was wishing that I had a little firmer boots.


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Me skiing past Andrew on the way down to the car.


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As you can see, I was struggling to keep my skis together, but just loving every minute of being
outside, even if it was with Andrew! (just kidding Andrew)

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