Notes on my Shutdown 2019 (Skiing); trying to make the most of a bad situation. I know many are living paycheck to paycheck in order to make ends meet. I fortunately have no dependents and a bit saved so was able to make the best of the situation.
[All the photos are taken from my cell phone and post-processed in Lightroom, unless otherwise noted.]
Wyoming and Montana
December 31, I followed instructions in my furlough notice to shutdown and put my out of office message on my phone and email. I promptly made plans to fly our the following day to join another out of work fed. We skied in Jackson Hole Wyoming for three days. I randomly met up with a DC friend at a Backcountry Film Festival at the JH Opera House! We stayed at the Jackson Hole Hostel and met some cool people on a ski meetup; we joined them for a few days in Montana, skiing at Bridger, Red Lodge and Big Sky (two days). Red Lodge and Bridger are amazing and mountains I never would have put on my to-do list otherwise. Bridger has a cool “beacon only area,” not to be missed (good thing I brought my avalanche probe, shovel and beacon on the trip). I also caught up with a mtn biking friend from my days in NJ over dinner! [Furloughed days skied 7]
On the mountain I received a phone call from one of my friends from DC who moved out to Seattle he and I schemed a plan to possibly meet while I was 1/2 way across the country. I found I could fly Alaska Air and have a 12 hour lay over in Seattle for no additional cost! I met up with them and checked out their digs for ~12 hours!
DC & Pennsylvania
Jan 11, I flew back to DC for three days for my Liberty Ski Patrol shift (Fri-Sun).. boy was it amazing weather there; almost worth comming back for.. and then promptly drove up to New England by way of Philly (staying with another furloughed fed friend and attended restaurant week, ran 3-4 miles up the “Rocky Steps” and checking out free museums open to feds in Philly). [Furloughed days skied 7+3=10]
Jan 15, I stayed with my sister in Boston for a night and the drove up to the White Mountains of NH for some back-country skiing. We hoped to skin up Tuckermans Ravine but given sub zero temperatures we chose to instead skin up two Granite State Backcountry Alliance routes (Doublehead and Maple Villa) and ski lift service in the afternoon at Black Mountain one day and Cranmore the second. [Furloughed days skied 10+2=12]
We drove back to Boston (so my sister could get on with regular life given she had work obligations). We also met up for breakfast with a friend from college living on her boat in frigged Boston!
Jan 19, I drove back up to NH in order to chase a 2′ snow storm with the hopes of skiing with a fellow patroller in Maine but, the roads were tooo snowy to make it up there! Instead I skied at Cranmore again and had an epic New England snow experience. I then stayed at a hostel in Conway and met two guys with AT setups and we planned a backcountry route for the following day. A friend from DC happened to be in NH with ambitious plans to summit one of the high peeks in the Whites though the weather may have hampered her plans but, we did get to meet up a beer and a token evening snowshoe. [Furloughed days skied 12+2=14]
That evening I drove in windy conditions through Crawford Notch in NH up to another Hostle in Vermont; Grampa Grunts which was basically an empty frat house. The rooms were clean but the party room evidently had just had a large college rager! The next morning it was -20 and my car was telling me it didn’t want to start; the caretaker helped me jump the car but the mountain was no warmer. I skied Jay Peak and made frequent visits to the lodge to warm up.
That evening I spent the night with a colleague’s parents and in the morning we snowshoed around their land! I scurried to Mad River Glen for a few runs before the incoming rain storm the next morning. MRG was giving out free week day passes for shutdown feds. Score!
[Furloughed days skiing 14+2 =16 days]
January 24: The next day given the rain, I headed to Montpeiler and met up with old colleagues at Conservation Law Foundation and later found myself at Skinny Pancake; catching up on life. That evening @ Skinny Pancake, Blue Grass performer showed up for a music performance which was part of a weekend long event called Spice on Snow. I stayed in MontP for the second act that evening and ran into a law school classmate at the event!
That evening I met up with another government co-worker from Philadelphia and the following day (Jan 25) three friends from DC for skiing at Sugarbush. The Bush was giving out free tickets so we skied for two days at Sugarbush.
Near the end of the ski day we found out that the government was opening so made plans for a quick return to DC by way of childhood home in Stockbridge MA.
[Furloughed days skiing 16+2 =18 days]
WY: Jackson Hole (3)
MT:Red Lodge,Bridger, Big Sky (2)
PA: Liberty (Patrolled 3 days)
NH: Cranmore (2), Black Mountain, three backcountry routes
VT: Jay, Mad River Glen, Sugarbush (2)