Project Bengal – The Adventure Begins

December 28 (Mammoth & Kirkwood, CA; Jackson, WY)  —

I spent the week before our shakeout trip in Florida for depos and swung by my mother’s place to help her start clearing out the house (she’s going to sell it).  She needed help clearing out the house because she is a McElligutt/Adji-level packrat and has kept every award that I have ever received, such as this one:

Making my parents proud

I returned to LA after midnight on Wednesday night/Thursday morning.  V had spent the week in San Diego with Mark getting Tigger ready.  This included taking Tigger to the beach for a cleanse at Dockweiler RV Park on the way back.

Tigger at Beach

We spent Thursday running errands and getting ready to hit the road.  We waited for traffic to die down and then headed north.  Pancha was ready for whatever came our way.

P in TiggerWe drove north towards Mammoth until we were exhausted and then pulled into a truck stop for the night.  We both slept like the dead and woke up to find that it had dropped to single digits during the night (the pipes in the truck stop itself had exploded).  We were nice and toasty and Tigger had no problems.  We then continued on to Bishop and received some beta from the shop with which we had taken our Avy class.  After hitting up one of the best bakery shops in the world  (Schatt’s Bakery in Bishop) we found a trail and did some of this


until we arrived in view of the Minarets and then made our first turns of the season as a storm started to approach.2012-12-21_14-10-58_148

After realizing that the storm was going to be massive, we revised our plans and decided to head to Kirkwood as opposed to staying in Bishop and skiing more backcountry.  The back road to Kirkwood from Bishop is beautiful but rather sketchy in a storm.  Tigger handled herself well (we know the real Tigger is a he, but even the real Tigger has no penis and our Tigger feels like a she).

As we approached Kirkwood, we had to find lodging.  Kirkwood used to be one of the most skier friendly — and more accurately, ski bum friendly — places around.  A couple of months ago, Vail purchased Kirkwood and, as everyone knows, Vail sucks.  So much so that for the first time in history, Kirkwood (Vail) has banned RV’s from staying overnight in Kirkwood’s lots.  I had read on-line that one of the bars at the base was allowing RV’s to park in their lot for $25/night.  I called the bar, and the guy on the phone would not give me the time of day.  By now it was late and absolutely nuking, and we were dreading the drive back up the pass to the state park at the top (our back-up lodging option).  V decided to give it the old college try and put on a tight sweater to go talk to the owner of the bar in person.

We got a spot in the lot.

During the night, winds were gusting up to 70mph.  Tigger continued to be awesome.  We got up in the morning and skied the only lift running due to wind holds.  Nice, low angle powder turns that helped us start to get our legs back.  Sunday (the next day), the winds were so bad (70-100mph gusts) that the entire mountain was shut down for most of the day.  We remained inside and watched movies (DVD/TV combo), Hulu on the iPad or hit the bar for Jack and Jacks.  We kept our skis in the ski storage.2012-12-24_12-28-19_619

We woke up Monday to a perfect bluebird day and a gorgeous view out our back window.

We also woke up to a snow report of over 5′ (five feet!) of untracked snow given that the wind holds the day before had kept almost the entire mountain closed.  We hit first chair with one of our new RV buddies (for the record, ski bums who camp in RV’s are a really good bunch of coconuts and truly core — a few were doing it with their whole families).  Our buddy (who’s a 15-plus year local) showed us around all day and did not mind waiting for us (read “me”) since he also tele’d.  He was curious why my back heel never seemed to come up.

At about two, we were shot.  We also were now a day late on getting to Neal and Nancy’s for Christmas so we hit the road.  We first had to dig out Tigger.



We then took turns driving while the other person slept in the bottom bed.  We did not want to drive over Teton pass in the middle of the night so we stayed at a another truck stop and woke up to a Christmas morning view before going over the pass.  We arrived at Neal and Nancy’s early Christmas morning to a wonderful brunch.  Tigger got a nice view of the Grand Teton

Tigger and Grand Teton

and we got a guest “cabin” larger than our house in LA.

We’ve had a great time here with Nancy, Neal, Elisabeth and Olivia.  Pancha has made herself right at home:

P in Cabin 1

We leave here tomorrow to head back to Tahoe and are stoked to spend New Year’s with Eug, Sonya, Deep and Gina.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday and we look forward to catching up in the new year.