Friday, February 7, 2014

We Take What We Can Get.

A fantastic start to the season.  If only it were November.  But those of us dependent on the whims of nature to get our good times in, can't really complain to much.  So, when it snows, we go.  Well, sometimes.  With such a dismal season, it has been over a month since I put skins on the skis and went out for an adventure.  Sure, I've made a few turns in between.  Hit a few bumps.  Spent hours with my little guy out on the bunny slopes.  Even did a little off piste adventure skiing within the ropes.  But there was not much that made me scramble to make the time to go out for a hike.  Then we got eighteen inches.  Woot woot.

Boot packing a thin cover coolie.  Loads of fun I tell ya.

Still a beautiful day for a skin in the woods.

Once back below tree line, we found what we were looking for.

Being that the Super Bowl was happening, we made some grand plans to work our way back to the Super Bowl.  Usually a good long day tour, we headed out with our version of an alpine start.  I think it was before 9AM when we left the car at the pass.  The forecast of partly cloudy with a chance of afternoon flurries seemed a bit off.  The wind was blowing, snow was falling and the visibility we similar to looking through pea soup.  A few yawns later, we found ourselves on the shoulder of a pachyderm, along with two other groups.    The good news is that it looked like the prior days tracks had filled in nicely.  Suffice to say, the knee deep turns through the open bowl felt pretty nice, even if it was skiing by brail.  We were amped to get back to hiking and work our way back to our goal.  We knew we had some good work ahead of us.  What we did not know was how much work that would be.  After a few minutes on the skin, we rounded a ridge and got our first look into the valley we were headed.  We soon realized we could not continue to skin around the slope, as we were blocked by a series of couloirs.  The option of skiing down to the valley and skinning up the opposite slope did not seem viable with the lack of snow covering the boulders on the bottom 800 feet of slope.  So we hiked our way up one of the couloirs to see what options we might have at the top.

We found a few fun, if slightly sharky slopes.  Court finding a deeper stash.

The snow ghosts were all over.

Ashley and Marvin enjoy a tandem run.

Guess what we saw.  Pea soup.  And more super difficult to navigate terrain between us and our goal.  We decided to head back and get on top of the other shoulder of the elephant.  Hell, we found good turns there earlier.  With the weather much stormier than forecast, we figured it was best to give up on our goal for the day and stick to where the snow was good.  Thing is, once we started down the slope, we noticed this aspect was starting to develop a thick skin.  And the rocks were still just under the surface.  We poked our way down through the fog, had lunch at the bottom, and changed our plans again.  We were headed for the trees.  Where we could see.  If nothing else.  Turned out, that was the best decision we made all day.  Hell, we were even able to get some pictures, finally.

Fresh snow, good turns and visibility.  Bliss.

So blissful, Court decided it was time to get inverted.  These are his bases.

Here are his top sheets.

Once back in the trees, we found some cut up pow, and a few stashes of fresh pow.  We explored around a bit, finding more than a few fun slopes and features to hit.  Some still looked a touch thin, but it was not hard to avoid the sharks.  A few small hits were enjoyed, and at the bottom of our first run, a kicker was found.  While most of the landing was completely bomb holed, there were a few spots left to hit.  Then we were on our way back up again, with hopes of finding a slope back down to the car we left at the bottom of the pass.  Good times were had.  While the snowpack is still super thin, it is much better than it was all of the winter so far.  And more has fallen, and more is on the way this weekend.  It is pretty much not game on for low tide fun.  Get on out and enjoy it for your self.

A good heavy spackle, with a finish of light, cold pow made for perfect conditions.

And at times, it even felt deep.  

Deep enough to jump off an overhead hit.  Good times.

more pics of this adventure at