Cold and white on Rendevous Mountain

Rendevous SummitFrom the Wiktionary definition: ass over teakettle, sometimes ass over teacups:

  1. (idiomatic) (US) Tumbling upside down…

It’s our last day in Jackson. One inch of new snow is enough to bring us back to Teton Village for lift tickets, hoping for more snow during the day. There is more snow, but it comes with more wind and cold too. Pockets of powder tease us, but much of the slopes, especially the bumps, are blue ice.

Ann has not yet been to the summit of Rendevous Mountain (the top of the old tram, not Rendevous Peak). She’s been handling the poor conditions well, so I agree we should do it. When we reach the Rendevous chair lift, the operators take a minute to come out of the booth, telling us we’re the first customers in 45 minutes. “It’ll make you a better skier,” the liftie says, “but be careful up there.”

There is no contrast at all today, features on the snow are essentially invisible. The thermometer reads -5 Fahrenheit. A stiff, constant wind bites us. All we can see is white.

Ann sees a little “easiest” sign (a black diamond), so we go down there beneath the lift. Unable to discern anything about the snow visibly, I find I have to start a turn and wait, sort of falling upright, until my edge catches on something and slows me down so I can try another one.

Ann beats me down by hundreds of feet. She accomplishes this by crossing her tips in a pre-turn snowplow, which quickly becomes a textbook demonstration of the phrase ass over teakettle. She tumbles over head first, slides past me, and assumes every possible orientation as she continues downhill. I keep thinking she’ll come to a stop, but she doesn’t. One ski comes off, then another, then she disappears into the white.

Heart pounding, I slide sideways after her, collecting her skis and a pole. To my relief I see her by some bushes, and she waves. When I reach her, she tells me she’s okay. I have her check her body more carefully, still good. From here we traverse the mountain to the Casper restaurant for a break.

While Ann sips a mocha I try a couple more runs, but it’s just not too fun. Our last ride together we descend in a gully, where the wind has deposited some powder. It’s an enjoyable finish to the day, at least.

2 responses to “Cold and white on Rendevous Mountain”

  1. i was so hoping the video was of the ‘ass over teakettle’ part.

    i’m glad everyone’s ok.

    this. is why i don’t ski.

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