The Line of the Week
Skiing A Lunar Eclipse
It was going to take a lot to get me to open that closet door, find my gear from last season, pack it all up and go for a skin in the middle of the night. Even I was having trouble convincing myself that the ski season had officially begun. Thank god for good friends and good ideas.
Like most good ideas, all it takes is that phone call and the planting of a seed. The next thing you know it’s 11 p.m, you’re warming your car, and asking yourself, “What the hell am I doing going skiing in the middle of the night? There’s not even any snow!” One thing for sure is that a lack of snow never stops my good friend Brennan from trying to make turns. And besides, he knows where the powder stashes are on any given day.
I was sitting around this past Saturday in all my laziness and grace when my phone rang. I was deep in my own mind wondering what to do about the evening’s eclipse when Brennan inquired if I wanted to go for a night ski. Chaaaching!! That was the idea I was looking for. I immediately called a few buddies, rummaged around for my ski gear and sat around waiting for responses. I had some friends in town and I let them know that I would not be around that evening to hang as I was planning on pulling an all-nighter in the Sierra’s.
At 11 p.m, Brennan and Gillian showed up, we loaded up my truck and headed up to high ground to begin the evening’s activities. I was well equipped with a stiff hot toddy, some extra whiskey for the later hours and whatever else you carry with you for a full moon, lunar eclipse, ski adventure. Despite the conditions, I even brought my skis!
At the car park our other vehicle showed up. From out of the two-seater truck it seemed like friends kept coming out of the woodwork. All was made perfect when the “Red Lion” himself jumped from the vehicle with his perfect Hacksaw Jim Duggan impersonation, “Haaoooh!!!” The “Home Team” was amped and ready to roll. Brennan and Gillian, Keimtime, D Hurls, Rusty Reams, Mickey and Christi (the rest of the Reams Team), Bobowski and our very special guest and team mascot, Konturi, a Rapa Nui native just off the plane from his home on Easter Island.
All of a sudden it seemed like it was the middle of the day. The full moon was raging and the light it was putting off was astonishing. The temperature was perfect for hiking and the wind was nonexistent. All the yawns that came out of my mouth earlier were replaced with a new found energy. Here we were, a bunch of friends skinning under the full moon in the Sierra’s. The trail was bulletproof ice surrounded by sugary pow. Christi Reams took the cake as she did the entire hike in a pair of Adidas Samba’s.
It didn’t take more then a couple hours before we were above the trees and had a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains. Our view to the west was clear which was important for views of the eclipse to come. It was 3 a.m. We dilly-dallied for a while before we began to get a little cold. We strapped in and decided to make some turns. When I dropped in I was immediately blown away as the snow sprayed off my skis. I was crushing low angle pow turns. We had found the stash and ran a couple laps. As we put in a skin track I looked up and saw the first sign of the full lunar eclipse. A shadow had begun to fall over the moon. We climbed the saddle and hunkered down.
While the night progressed into the early morning the moon waned as the shadow consumed its glow. As the minutes slid away a surreal sensation swept through the sky. The bright shine of the moon had begun to give way to a muted darkness. A slight breeze moved through the Sierra. We sat in silence as the earth’s shadow engulfed the moon and gave it a reddish glow. Before we had a chance to take it all in the sky at our backs began to lighten. The sun had begun to rise.
After a group high five we all began to realize that we were tired. It was time to brave the sketchy, bulletproof, rock laden descent to the car. The sun hit our faces as we crunched down the slope in survival mode. It was the fitting end to a well executed plan with the perfect posse. Not only did we pull off the all-nighter but we skied pow under a radiant full moon during a lunar eclipse.
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The Line of the Week is a weekly photo piece by Ryan Salm featuring some of Tahoe’s finest athletes doing whatever we deem rad. We will be using the term “Line” loosely to describe anything resembling chutes, big airs, pointers or any general madness. All images are the property and copyright of Ryan Salm Photography. All images are only to be used in conjunction with the Line of the Week. Any other usage must be cleared in writing by Ryan Salm.