I've got ten days in the mountains on snow, shredding, hanging out with great people, etc. So I thought I would check in with a Kobernik style (albeit less temp grades and more pow shots) breakdown of the season so far (from my perspective anyways). My mind feels clear and I feel more focused than previous years. Kids are getting along, the wife still loves me and work is good. Took my son up to the site of the "not currently proposed ski link tram" for our first hike-in overnighter. Why in the world would we want to protect this place? Our season so far has been a pretty typical one. We had some early October snow that stuck around in some of the Notherly facing sheltered slopes, while most had melted away on the E/S/W facing aspects. The snow that did stick around had enough time to rot out and is now the current weak layer. Reports of over two feet was enough to motivate me out the door for my 1st day on Nov. 1st. Digging around in the upper elevation it was easy to find the new/old snow interface as it was conveniently highlighted with a nice dust layer. I started my day with a SEfacing line that held no October snow. My goal was to slowly find my way into some Efacing maybe NEfacing aspects, I had no plans for Nfacing. Made my way up to the Efacing aspect, it was super loaded looking. Dug a pit more in the flats so I wouldn't expose myself too much. Wasn't completely confident with what I found. It was my first day out so I didn't push it and backed off. Instead I went for a walk and was able to get some huge collapses in the Nfacing areas and find some fast supportable low angle pow else where. Nov. 8th: We got a little more snow and most reports were despite poor snow structure the snow pack seemed to be dormant and lacking energy. I headed out hoping for a more ambitious early season line I've hit in the past and seems to fill in early (e.g. windloads). I got a late start and almost skipped digging a pit before committing to the more exposed upper elevation terrain. Luckily I didn't because I found a very reactive snowpack. I was getting such active results I decided to dig a 120x30cm ECT which flew off the shelf. Digging pits are fun when your getting these kind of results but needless to say I turned around and went and poked around some other aspects. Nov. 17th: We got another big storm about 2ft that surprised everyone. I got to finally get out with mar123, KR and vtbackcountry. It was fun to spend a day dorking out on snow with friends. It was a good day to have a crew as nobody was sure how the old snow would hold the new, although I think we had all written off upper elevation windloaded lines.(Photo: Doug McKay) We found a couple cornices to test an Efacing line and made the go decision. Snow was burly, upside down and deep. I think I managed to eek in two turns down the whole slope. mar123 KR vtbackcountry It was a good day (Photo: Doug McKay) Nov. 22nd: We got a little more snow and reports of huge wind event from the East that was on it's way. It was a race to get the pow before the winds do. We were able find some good snow on a stable aspect off the ridge. The wind was filling in our lines in-between laps. TonyP Nov. 23rd: That night the winds switched a bit and picked up scouring exposed upper elevation slopes and adding a nasty wind skin to most everything else.(Photos: Ben Girardi) Our expectations were low and the focus for the day quickly became less about turns and more about exploring new zones. We lucked into a zone I had been meaning to explore for some time. I think my buddy thought I was nuts I was full of so much joy that we had found such a beautiful zone, with no one around, on a day you couldn't buy good snow. (Photo: BenG) So many temptations. I had been putting alot of holes in the snow since the 1st. I just made it part of my routine. The snowpack had settled for the most part but the snow structure remained the same. Recent wind loading and poor snow structure trumped our pit results and we skipped some fun Nfacing chutes for Efacing pow turns. (Photos:BenG) Nov. 29th: Yesterday, was my tenth day out. Blogs are being written about how bad the current snowpack is. Resort triggered slide and wind effect. I've just stayed consistent hitting the same zone over and over again. Finding solitude and good snow everytime, some days doing more skinning than riding. I headed out yesterday to hit Efacing cornslush and follow the sun. Ironically up at the ridge before you drop over the side I noticed the pin holes on my bindings were looking thin. The zone was calling and I justified commiting. I hit my first line and made my way up into the deepest part of the bowl and snap, my binding pin hole blew. My heart sank, there was no way to boot out of this zone it wasn't really an option. My kit includes a few zip ties, some straps and a couple extra pins. Luckily I was able to use one of the wires attached to the pin to jimmy it so I could skin out. Thanks to the boys on call, who were ready to help me out. Anyways, long. It has been good times so far and it's fun to write about. Finding good snow (let alone enough snow) to ride and solitude is hard enough in the early season, plus only 2 core shots and a broken binding so I'll take it. Take care.
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 8:05 am Posts: 1515 Location: 395
Sucks the snow is sketchy, but at least you have snow. The Sierra are hurtin' and there's nothing until almost half way into December in any forecasts to get excited about Looks like we're going for the trifecta of shittiest season's ever.
Looks like you have an excuse now to splurge on a Tesla system!
I meant to convey our current snowpack is "sketchy" in that it is thin, rocky, variable sun crusts and windskins. Our generally speaking, current snowpack has gone to sleep for the time being. I would absolutely love to get on the Tesla system, the bum thing is I tried to order the bindings I can afford and they wouldn't be sent till January 17ish. Stab through my heart, I think I might end up throwing some old Burton Customs on some plates despite the fact they are super uncomfortable for skinning, just to get by. Take care and positive vibes to the Sierra.
Sorry Method I didn't want to bore everyone with too many details. I think that one was ECTP23 whereas my standard ECT's were pretty consistent around 17. I was trying to more describe the energy I was finding in the pit. Thanks, take care.
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:25 pm Posts: 42 Location: Backside, Wasnatch
Very well done. Excellent stuff and much appreciated. Your observations and pics (worth a 1000 words) are very helpful to me, and hopefully those like me who aren't able to get out as often as we'd like. Here's hoping you all have a great season.