Sunday, February 03, 2008

What I Did With My Saturday Morning

I had previously written about how I thought skiing at ski resorts was overrated. This point was solidified once again yesterday morning.

I went touring with my buddy Matt. This time our destination was the Kessler Peak trees up Cardiff Fork in Big Cottonwood Canyon. It was a beautiful bluebird day and the snow was going to be phenomenal. Last week the Wasatch Mountains were pounded with several feet of new snow.

As we began our tour we came across a small side slope that had some sparsely spaced trees. It looked nice enough that we decided to take a small detour and give it a run. What started as a small detour turned into a large detour as we pushed onto the longer slopes above.

It was probably the most grueling skinning I've done. Whoever broke trail decided to break a steep one instead of mellower switchbacks. My skins had a hard time getting purchase on the track and I'd often find myself sliding backwards after working so hard to get up. As Matt said "we are definitely earning a lot of vert today".

The skin track took us to the shoulder just below the summit of Kessler Peak, just to the side of "God's Lawnmower". Instead of skiing the more mellow swath of God's Lawnmower (it honestly looks like someone too a gigantic lawnmower straight down through the trees) we opted for the steeper slope on the south-east side of the shoulder through the pines. It was money.

Hands down the best turns of the year. Knee to thigh deep blower. Face shots abounded and there were many whoops of enjoyment. It was the kind of snow that makes you bear the powder grin from ear to ear.

It wasn't without incident though. Partway down Matt and I each pulled out small sluffs of new snow. After Matt pulled his he stopped and was hit by it and there was enough snow that ran that is came up to his waist. As I was skiing I saw that he had pulled one, noticed that I pulled one and skied out of the way. (In the image the one Matt pulled is to the right of the ski tracks and mine is to the left). We both were fine and didn't face any real danger from them, but it was definitely one of those moments that reminds you that you have to careful and on top of things 100% of the time in the backcountry. We did have a short discussion of what happened and how to avoid it again in the future. We then skied big open slopes back to the main skin track.

After a couple minutes of rest we headed back up to ski the small slope that we had first set out to ski. Even on the smaller slope, the skiing was still amazing. Hands down it was the best tour of the season so far.

1 comment:

The Millers said...

I'm jealous!