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2012 Timberline Ski Trip (February)

From Mr. Grabham

Most of our camp outs can be described as "on the wild side", but when a camp out begins on a sunny 80 degree day, progresses into a tornado warning departure, a near white-out blizzard arrival, and then finishes with several inches of snow all on the same day...THAT IS WHAT I CALL WILD! The important thing is that we all arrived safe and sound and ready to SKI!

Timberline is always one of my favorite experiences of the year. I hope that the boys agree. We arrived in less that ideal conditions, but with some effort we got all the boys outfitted with their equipment and settled into their bunks late Friday night. We briefed them on how the next day would go and they...I can't exactly use the words "settled down" here...slowly drifted into quiet conversation and antics for the remaining hours before reveille.

We drew the short straw and were given the earliest breakfast time of 6am. When the quiet conversations of the previous night turned into "IT'S TIME TO SKI! at 5:30am more than a few scouts were at instant attention to begin the excitement of the day. We quickly dined on a hearty breakfast of reconstituted eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast, potatoes, and gravy soaked biscuits. The quantity of food is what is important at Timberline because you can certainly burn an excessive amount of calories during the day.

After breakfast we traveled back to the bunkhouse to gather our belongings and attempt to cover every square inch of exposed skin with multiple layers of any fabric we could find. The weather report said that it would be a high of 23 degrees with 20-30 mile an hour winds. It is always interesting to look out the window and see the snow blowing completely sideways. With the wind chill the temperature was near zero. We were in for an interesting day. Scouts were delivered to lessons and the remaining ones hit the slopes.

Considering the fact that the weather has not cooperated with the ski season at all this year, the conditions were actually not bad. The scouts did not seem to notice the cold and just kept going and going and going. The adults on the other hand took turns in the lodge in an attempt to heat their chilled bones and aching joints.

A welcome break for lunch brought a pleasant sight of lots of smiling scouts and then back to skiing. A merit badge was taught and several scouts showed their exemplary skills. All of the class participants did an amazing job, even the ones who were first timers. Around 4:30 the slopes transitioned into night mode and of course most of the scouts just kept going.

We broke for dinner as a troop and then they went right back at it. Several of the scouts skied until the snowcats chased them off the mountain. The adults of course kept an eagle eye on the scouts from the comfort of the glass walled windows of the dining the heated building. Lights out was called at 10pm...and they begrudgingly fell fast asleep once the lights were turned out.

Sunday morning brought a new sound when the alarm went off at 5:30am...snoring. Lets just say that molasses moving uphill in the wintertime would have beat our scouts if it was a race to get ready. That could be from the fact that most of them were frozen from sleeping with the door wide open. We don't know if some of the scouts decided to play a mischievous prank or if a pesky poltergeist wanted to see them shiver. IF it was possible to award an indoor order of the polar bear, then these boys would have earned it.

The previous days physical exercise proved too much for most of the troop and we were slightly late to our breakfast. But we did finally make it and then a decision had to be made...To Ski or Not to Ski? that was the question. The majority of the boys and most of the adults set out for another half day of skiing. If the weather conditions from Saturday were less than ideal, then Sundays weather was just simply awesome.

The snow blowing equipment did its job over night mixed with the natural snow and everything was covered with a glorious powdery snow. The skiing was awesome, the kids performed at their best and we simply had a great time. By 11 most of the troop was back to the bunkhouse to begin the arduous task of sifting through the unsightly tangle of 35 boys belongings strewn about the room. They managed to find most of their stuff and dutifully packed it away to begin the long trek home.

We ended with a lunch and then were off to the rendezvous point. The trip back seem to be shorter, or maybe we were just too tired to notice, but everyone made it back safe and sound.
As I said in the beginning Timberline is one of my favorite trips the troop takes. The boys get an experience that not everyone gets to try and hopefully they are better because of it.

Timberline presents the unique opportunity to try a new hobby while having a blast with your friends. One of my trips up the lift was seated with another scout from days past. He was an eagle scout and what he told me just solidifies the experience. He said that he was introduced to skiing through his troop and now it is one of his favorite hobbies. I trust everyone is recovering and looking forward to another trip soon.