Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Skiing

I've always loved spring skiing, starting all the way back from the family trips to Jackson and Sun Valley (where I destroyed a pair of ski bases by insisting on skiing across gravel roads and up sidewalks "right to the door of my condo" so I could tell my fellow 8 year old ski buddies I did that) , to a memorable day at Mt Hood Meadows on my birthday when a redheaded friend forgot sunscreen, to one of my first "backcountry" ski experiences of skiing from the summit of Mt Hood in about nineteen hundred and eighty somethin':

I've had the good fortune of skiing a lot of days this year, but typically I don't really post much about them because it's typically something along the lines of "skinned and skied somewhere between 5000-8000 feet of great powder in the central Wasatch", and that's so commonplace that it's really not worth braying about.  And I don't necessarily feel compelled to encourage anyone to go out backcountry skiing in our nice little backyard; clearly there's plenty of incentive as it is, given the reams of people out shredding during/after storms in the heart of the season. 

Spring, however.......is a different story.  I don't feel bad about divulging that there's still great skiing because people still won't go.  Perfect corn followed by great powder followed by some good challenging stuff followed by perfect corn, etc.  And if you don't like the weather, just.....oh my, I simply can't say it!  Too much of a cliche'! 

Here are a few shots from the last coupla weeks since we returned from "real" winter in the Sawtooths:
High above the Salt Lake Valley

Some nice couloirs, protected by the infernal sun (I feel like a vampire this time of year)

Colin:  "Grrrr......is Tom going to shred this coolie before me?"

"Yup,  I guess he is......"
Ash on the summit ridge of Lone Peak, still booting after 6000' of climbing:

Colin in the early turns of a 3000' corn harvest:

And Colter chasing after him:
you gotta love the gang-bang stability of the spring snowpack
I haven't been on my board much this year, but snowboarding on buttery low-angle corn is about as fun as fun gets:

Timpanogos in the morning sun and moon:
We had intentions of skiing the Grunge Couloir tucked into that corner, but punchy snow kept us on the prominent aprons below.
And after a nice little refresher storm we headed up into Little Cottonwood, where we haven't been hardly at all this winter
Danger Diamond throwin' down some fine Wasatch Wiggles
The northern powder circuit of the Wasatch has been called the "sheep pen" due to the midwinter crowds, but after not going up Little Cottonwood Canyon pretty much since the beginnning of the year I gotta say - after hitting Days and Silver Forks and White Pine over a few days this week - it's pretty damn good terrain, and when you are looking down onto multiple 1-2000' runs with nary a track sullying the perfect powderafter a 45 minute hike....it doesn't get much better than that. 

Of course, great spring skiing doesn't come without a price: 
This debris-fest was impressive, and this was below The Hallway, which was a stellar mix of large bulletproof debris and gleaming ice after a quick heat wave-induced avalanche; enough to make any Middle Aged Powder Pussy (MAPP) blanche.....

but another foot just arrived....
remember, if you don't like the weather......

(thanks to Colin for some nice pics!)

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