Thursday, January 17, 2013

Carson Pass to Kirkwood. 1/12/13

Beautiful sunny morning for laying down a skin track.

Saturday was the window for me.  While it would make a long day to drive up to the Sierra, take a moderate tour, and then drive back home, it sure seemed like it would be worth it.  In fact, the original plan was to use the lifts at Kirkwood to assist in some side country play, but when I arrived, the air was cold, the sky was clear and the winds were calm.  Seemed like a waste not to go venture out on a real tour.  After multiple calls and texts, Rick and I were in Courts brakeless car, headed out to Carson Pass.    The plan was simple.  Follow the established skin track out toward the saddle between the Sisters and the Saddle.  Problem was, even on a Saturday, with fantastic conditions, and at our late start of 9:45, no one had yet been out.  Amazing.  And that is how we knew the skiing would be.  So off to the top of Life on the Edge we traveled.

And if the weather and snow conditions are not enough to get you stoked, the views will help.

The first few turns off the top were a bit crusty, but once in, they transitioned to buttery.

An entire face, all to ourselves.

Good to the last pitch.

One good pitch skied, and we were back on our skins.  We spied a number of lines we thought about hitting, but time and fatigue sent us toward a closer route home, down Sally Alley.  While the top was pretty disturbed by the wind, once down a hundred feet, the snow started to act more like powder, and by the time we were at the last 800 feet above Emigrant Lake, it was more like blower powder.  Good enough for me to beg for another round.  We headed back toward Kirkwood, grabbed a lift up Sunrise and headed back out for one more short nearby lap.  Good thing we stayed close, as we made it back to Ironhorse (and the way back to the car) at just a few minutes past closing.  Oddly enough, the one run we did inbounds was superb.  Sure, not untracked powder, but really good skiing.  Did we make a mistake working hard on our tour.  Hell no.  I don't get very many all day windows, and there is nothing quite like a hike in the great outdoors.

3, 2 1, dropping.


And for Mike, a stomp, and ski away shot.

Creamy goodness.

And blower to finish off the final 800 feet.

Taking a rest and enjoying the view, before the final push back to the resort.

Late afternoon huck.

And right into a deep carve.

Perhaps the best part of the day was at the end.  I drove Court back to his car, and the sky decided to catch fire.  What a perfect treat, as I turned back west, and watched as blues, turned to oranges, to reds, to pinks and then to a deep cobalt blue.  I was headed home to my family, tired and content.

Late day sky is alight.

The drive back to KW was not too shabby either.

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