Short notice trips have usually ended in only seeing Granny, my aunt and two uncles. It's hard to coordinate with the cousins. Just like me, they're pretty busy most weekends. By a stroke of luck, I was able to see two out of three this time around. In three or four trips thus far, my co-pilot had yet to meet the last one. This time around, we were able to string it together over "diet cokes" and "water". Ok, the air quotes only apply for one of those beverages.
This was after another day of growth on the slopes. Strapped and loaded, carving is becoming an afterthought. The muscle memory is there. Now I'm focused on the terrain more so than before, which means that I can avoid trouble spots before they drop me on my back. I still manage to get in over my head every so often. I did a face plant in some powder on a really long green run. Popped up, kept on going. Convinced to push the envelope, I hesitated at the warning sign:
Are you an expert? You better be! Death, destruction, severe injury, yadda yadda yadda.
Ok, so that's not entirely it. I wanted to take a picture, but I forgot. Anyhow, she hasn't steered me wrong yet. I look out over the edge of the bowl. I won't lie; I pooped a little. [No, not really!] It was steep in every sense of the word. I met her sitting at the far edge, where the grade was less than 100%. I skidded down the side into the actual run and didn't do too badly. Had it been a little more powder and a lot less ice, I think it would've been prettier. As was the case last time I jumped a grade, I was more concerned about getting run over by the better riders and skiers. Too bad the conditions deteriorated so rapidly when the sun went behind the mountain after lunch. I would've liked to hop back on that run again to improve. So that's it. My first black diamond. Probably wouldn't be so out west, but if you'd have told me I'd be trying a black diamond by the end of the season, I would've laughed at your joke.
We cut the day short with a blazing fast shot down their longest run that wove all over the mountain. Packed up for a gargantuan pasta dinner with the family. Good stuff.