Saturday, October 27, 2012

First snow of the season.

The storm came in late Sunday, and through the next several days it snowed off and on.  By Tuesday, some folks were already out on the hill enjoying the start of the new season.  I waited until Thursday, in part because I had a window, and in part, because I enjoy some sun.  I had made plans with two separate groups, figuring if someone dropped out, I would still have a partner.  Kind of a good thing I did, as I got a text from one, in the early morning hours, that they would not be able to make it.  No worries, glad I double booked.  The drive up was quick, with a little drizzle and some concerning warm  temperatures.  Funny thing is, I lost my second partner when he showed up at the trailhead with no boots.  Fall turns can be funny like that.  We, in part, are practicing for winter.

Being late fall, there was still a little bit of color on the mountain.

The drive up was pretty easy, and super beautiful.

Like this is rough to look at for a few hours.

The hike up started in low clouds.  By mid way, the clouds lifted to a general grey.

But across the valley, things were beginning to open up.

What is one to do.  Even at a resort, it is just silly to travel into the back country by ones self.  So I did what any self respecting earn his turn guy would do.  I saw someone up the hill just a hundred feet, so I stepped in, and skinned up at a good clip.  As I caught up, I chatted a bit, and found a riding partner.  Good work.  The climb was perfect.  The early morning's low clouds began to peel away as bits and pieces of glorious sun shine broke through.  The air was warm, but still crisp.  It was a fantastic morning.

It snowed a bit along the Sierra Crest.

Hiker checking out the cornice he just caused to slide.  It went from about five feet back.  

There were plenty of folks out on the hill.  Taking a gander at Monte's, before they head further in.

Clouds lifting off Round Top and the Sisters, with Buckboard starting to get some sun.

The sun was starting to have its way on Zachs, but this guy enjoyed his first turns of the year.

Glove Rock shows itself.

And this crew is on a mission.

After a quick break and change over at the top, it was decided to hit Monte's before the sun completely turned it into cream cheese.  The turns through the rocks at the top were nice and chalky.  The runout into the bowl was just a tad crusty, but not too bad, then the snow in the bowl was perfect chowder.  Just thick enough so you could really drive in without fear of hitting bottom.  Perfect for deep, fast carves.  Then it was time to climb again, as the snow turned from super fun, to something else.  A quick switch, and it was time to skin back up and take a look at the shadowy side.

(My) first turns of the season.  Woot woot!

Meanwhile, down the ridge a ways, two groups were converging at the Wall.  The folks on the right had hiked from the top of 6.

It looked good.

Through the cliff band, and just getting into the good stuff.  #3 hit some nice snow.

The forth rider, just dropping in and about to negotiate the rocks.  Early season gnar.

Looking into Cham.

Actually considering Ski School, but alas, the gut was dry.
Headed over toward Sentinel Bowl, taking the high line to get a view in to Oly, Cham, Patrol, Ski School and Jims.  Gnaraliscious.  Spied a group heading up the main gut of Sentinel and decided to head down to them.  Fun chalk was found on the shoulder of Glove and honest to goodness powder was found in the Rabbit Trees.  Honest to goodness.  And then it was time for a another slog up, with a another group of folks.  And it ws decided, while I could not ski through Ski School, I sure could skin up to the exit and then hit Fireball.  I think that is what it is called.

So, yeah, it snowed a bit.  Warming over the weekend will melt a good bit of it away.  But we have a good start.

Tracks laid, and another group on there way up.  It got pretty hit up on Thursday.  Stoke level high.

These guys opted for the porn (that is powder, turning toward corn) snow of Sentinel.  

They were pretty stoked on their first turns of the season.

So, if you are a pro, or ski like one, these lines looked ready.  

Looking out toward Spur wishing I had a bit more time to play.

High above the kirkwood Meadow and Route 88.  Smiling.
Took the third run in.  The top was more chalk, but as I got down into the slot in the trees, things turned softer.  Variable at first, but then it was perfect cream cheese, with a little powder still on top.  Ahhh.  And while I did find some bits and pieces of fun skiing below mid mountain, the warming air, the increasing shadows and the thin coverage made for some interesting skiing.  A great first day of the season.  A few resorts have started to open up.  Kirkwood set the date at the 21st.  With some more snow, they might be persuaded to open.  They did have crews out there preparing for snow making and packing down the lower runs.  Anticipation and stoke run high.

Not a bad looking gnar face for late October.  Nom.  nom.

Looking back up at the tag I just laid.  

Again, October is stunning.  Unfrozen lakes and fresh snow in the early season.  

Bye bye.  We will be back soon.
So, while it is not really yet Game On!, it is coming soon.  More snow possible next week and into early November.  At this point, we don't need a whole bunch.  Just something to cover up the old tracks.  Okay, a bit more than that, but you get the point.  Wax up them skis.