Cross Back Country Ski

I didn't believe the forecast. Snow? It's the last day of April, tomorrow it will be May. But there it was, two inches of snow on my lawn.

So what to do. It's Spring in my head which means cycling. I would have mountain biked up in the foothills, even with the snow, but my cycling gear was in my car which my daughter took to work.

Plan B: go ski.

I was concerned there wouldn't be enough snow cover at Aspen Grove but was relieved to see plenty.

It snowed on and off as I went up.

I peeled off the road and followed some BC skier tracks which led to a gully. The snow was really sticky, like cotton candy. So sticky I was able to go right up the fairly steep skin track with my waxless touring skis with only a few slips.

As I crested the ridge I had this fantastic view of Elk Point.

I'll pause here to note that on the way up the gully I realized I was heading into the backcountry. I thought I'd just go up a little ways and then traverse my way down. But the climbing was so good, and others had been up this same route, and it didn't look like an avalanche prone area, and hadn't I heard that snow is stable in Spring? And isn't this the chain of rationalizations that gets people into trouble?

So what did I do? Kept going up the ridge.

There is some method to my madness. I could see two skiers up on the ridge. I stopped and asked about the snow conditions and avalanche risk. The experienced guy assured me the snow was safe and pointed me to a good way down.

I went up the ridge a bit further and then started my zig zag traverse down the drainage I had come up.

Although it would have been more fun to make turns, I had fun zipping back and forth across the slope. (If you click on the photo below to get the larger version you'll see my zigzag route.) I tried a few telemark turns but crashed every time.

It didn't take long to get back down to the road. This photo is near the end. Notice the dirt bank and the taller-looking Elk Point.

May not have been the smartest thing to do, but I sure had fun on this last ski day of 2010-2011. Maybe it will snow again, but I put the skis away.

I gained 1800 feet on the climb.

1 comment:

KanyonKris said...

I'm a little surprised no one commented. I thought I'd get at least one chewing out for being so unsafe in the backcountry.