Closed for winter
Station closing day came early this year. A forecast for bad weather here on Friday led to a late announcement on Wednesday that the last flights of the season would come and go on Thursday. All of the remaining summer folks who weren't planning on staying for the winter were sent scrambling to pack their bags, clean up their rooms, finish up last minute projects and say their goodbyes.
So on Valentine's Day, plenty of hugs were shared as we assembled to see the last plane off. Skier 93 landed early at 1pm and a steady stream of parkas filed out from the station to the flight deck. They didn't waste any time loading up the plane so goodbyes were quickly said and the last passengers hauled their orange carry on bags to the awaiting LC-130.
Following tradition, Skier 93 did a flyover of the station as we waved goodbye. We started walking back when the announcement came over our radios that the pilot called and said he was going to do another, probably because the contrails left a murky haze and we weren't able to see the plane too clearly on the first flyby. It was worth waiting around for a few minutes more as the plane roared by in a low pass, dipping its wings at us in a final farewell.
And now we are once again left here at the bottom of the world for another polar winter. This year we have a crew of 60, including 11 women. It's a good mix of seasoned veterans and fresh new faces. Some in the crew have been here all summer and some just arrived 2 days before closing. There are many names and faces I don't know here but I'll have the next 8 months to get to know people.
The next month will be busy as we prepare for the long winter, moving supplies in, shutting down outlying buildings, taking down skiway flags, marking routes with other flags. This morning we're going to move in the last pallet of our freshies that we received and will enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables for hopefully a couple of months until they run out or rot.
So, let the winter fun begin!