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ridehikeclimbski

Ski/Board Run of your life !

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I had a day at Powder Mountain some years back. It had dumped four feet of fluff the night before. Midweek, so few people. Bluebird day. Not even a thought of a cloud. The snow crystals sparkled like diamonds. I made run after run down through the aspens of "Powder Country" --yet another HUGE ungroomed area at that resort. The kind of day that feels spiritual.

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Alta one day when I was about 12. Huge snowstorm, powder past my waist. First day off the east coast hardpack. Had no clue what I was doing and probably spent as much time collecting gear after spectacular wipeouts as I did on my feet, but shit those few moments where it all clicked and I was just floating were so friggin sweet!

 

bigdrink.gif

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Spring skiing in the Bitterroot, we did a "first descent" yellaf.gif linkup from the backside of St. Mary's peak down and out Kootenai Canyon. There was a recently thawed lake in the middle of this big snowy bowl. Towards the bottom I tucked and picked up lots of speed and hydroplaned right over the lake. It was rad grin.gif

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Got lost on a backcountry descent in the 'Daks and ended up hucking down about 200' worth of short ledge systems, only to find that we just ski'd down a "route" we had used to teach a beginner ice climbing clinic a few weeks back. It didn't look so big from the top!

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First of July 1997, Mt Dana at the East edge of Yosemite Nat'l park. About 2500' of vertical with insane views and no crowds. Lot's of Corn. I sucked because it was only my third day on a snowboard, but the hooks of addiction were set deep and backcountry lines became the holy grail after that. fruit.gif

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The year I learned to telemark, I had a season's pass at Brighton. A short (40 steps) hike above the Great Western Chair puts you on top of a broad east facing ridge called Lackawaxen. It's steep (38-45 degrees, with respectable verticle (almost 1000 ft). I'd been making parallel turns on my tele skis most of the season except on the groomers. My gear was a pair of 200 cm kazama Couloir's (still a great powder ski!) and a pair of Scarpa double leathers. We had been receiving snow for a month pretty consistently, and today was a typical blue-bird, Utah powder morning, light and deep. I planned to P-turn the run because I still could not link turns in powder with a dropped knee. I was with another local who I bumped into often, a telemark skier whose name I forget (I once watched him stick 30 ft of air on skinnies and leathers, right into turns). He dropped in first and I watched his 50 or so turns to the bottom. When I dropped in I was committed to the P-turn, but at the last split second before initiating the first turn, my knee instinctively dropped, and my skis entered the kind of turn I had only ever made on alpine gear. The Kazamas sunk into the center of the turn, and as I unweighted they bounced me back out into the start of the next. Again I dropped my knee and rode my skis down the face to the bottom like I wasn't even steering, bouncing and surprised by the incredible ease. I couldn't believe the run I just had! It felt as good as the best turns I'd ever made on alpine gear, but with all the exitement of doing it again for the first time.

 

I've alpine skied once since that day, because my leather boots were in the repair shop.

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Two I have to share

 

January 1, 2000. Blackcomb. First person into Spanky's Ladder (behind 6 Patrollers) - 10" new. 6 patrollers all in a line, looking at me as I enter through the gate. I look at them with disappointement-as I figured they would hold me up or poach first lines. Then, almost surreal, the first patrol says to me in a cool Australian accent - "Hey brah - it's all you!"

 

Alta Feb 1998. Storm brought 3 feet of new. I had to take gaping breaths between unweighted turns to keep from choking. cool.gif

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Two come to mind. Emmons route on Rainier. 1000' of ice. 6000' of corn and 1000' of slush. Seeing the faces on a line of climbers we passed on the way down was priceless!

 

The other was "glory bowl" off 22W in Jackson. Perhaps the most amazing powder run with my cousin who lives in town. Nothing like 2500' of turns, when you only have to hike 1000'

bigdrink.gif

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drove up to baker only to find that it was POURING!!! we decided to head up (with everyone laughing at us) and 1/2 way up the lift, it turned into hardcore freshies and we skied about 3 lifts until everyone else caught on. after that, it turned back to rain, but we got in our turns for the day. yellaf.gif

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The first time I skied the SW Chutes was one of the more memorable ski runs I have ever had. My buddies and I had been going out "partying" and skiing quite a bit, pursuing "turns all year" but also just enjoying the camping and the dirty jokes that boys tell along the way. On this particular occasion, half the guys couldn't go so we all fit into one car, a Cadillac with a trunk so large that the skis fit inside it. We didn't have a map, but Doug said he knew the way. We drove around the long way through Yakima, and then headed up washboarded logging roads that took us into the Indian Reservation. I wondered about this, but Doug said he knew the way. We kept complaining that we were lost, and Doug said "I got it." After what seemed like hours of choking on all the dust (it was July and there hadn't been any rain for weeks) we came around a corner to see the same sign we'd passed before and realized kimosabe had taken us around in a circle. STOP! We insisted it was time to stop driving and go to sleep right there.

 

In the morning, we headed into Trout Lake for breakfast. The waitress was kind of flirty, and we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before heading up to the trailhead. It was probably nearing ten o'clock before we got there, but we had all day. On up the trail, we stopped to throw rocks at marmots who were raiding somebody's campsite at timberline and then we decided to get even more juvenile so we turned the pack stays around in somebody's pack left there – I bet THAT wasn't a comfortable hike out! On up the mountain, we enjoyed joking with a 75 year old fisherman who was climbing the standard south spur climbing route at our slow pace. There were all kinds of people there: there was a group of girls wearing lipstick, families, and I think Daniel Boone even passed us by. At the summit, we posed for photo's with at least 25 other people, and strapped on the skis.

 

The first part of the descent was all sastrugi, and our friend Phil (who hadn't been on one of these outings before) said "you guys are crazy!" and took his skis off. Down at the false summit we discussed which way to go, and Phil was very concerned about the icy slopes and the fact that you couldn't see over the edge when looking down toward the SW Chutes. It'll be fine, we said, as we started down toward the drop with Phil's eyeballs bugging out. He didn't feel safe going the other way by himself, so he followed cautiously.

 

The top of the ski run has a convex shape to it, so you drop a couple hundred feet as it steepens and you still can't see the bottom. Suddenly, about three hundred feet down, we could see all the way down to a blue lakelet at the bottom and the snow softened so we started to feel that there was at least SOME chance that somebody might be able to arrest a fall by employing the skipole arrest. "You ever done a skipole arrest before, Phil?" "Huh what?"

 

Down at the lakelet, we stopped for a celebration and somebody passed a flask. Looking back up at our tracks, we were all pretty stoked. It had been a fantastic ski run, in great condition, with excellent views; 3500 feet of non-stop turns in one continuous drop. "You guys are NUTS," said Phil. But then it was time to go again, and we found a little finger of snow continuing on down. Our snow finger headed into a pile of rock, but kept going – we were skiing on a six to fifteen foot wide finger of snow obviously overlying a streambed. At one point the snow just about ran out, but at the last minute could hop turn around a boulder and it opened back up again to head rightward onto another short open slope for the last bit of a ski run. Following us down that gully, skiing way to fast and with no concern for the rocks Phil had screemed "YOU GUYS ARE CRAZY!"

 

Taking our skis off at timberline, there was a nice stream there and we sat for a bit in the late afternoon sun. Phil allowed as he'd had a good day.

 

Here's a picture I took on a subsequent trip down the SW Chutes:

swchute.jpg

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hakioawa said:

The other was "glory bowl" off 22W in Jackson. Perhaps the most amazing powder run with my cousin who lives in town. Nothing like 2500' of turns, when you only have to hike 1000'

bigdrink.gif

 

I hit that one day in waist deep fluff. It was bitchin to say the least.

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ok, so it wasnt skiing or snowboarding, but it WAS a barefoot run.....yesterday i woke up to 3 inches of snow on the ground with more thick, soft flakes falling. it was 35 degrees out, but it looked so inviting....i stripped naked and went running around playing in the beautiful snow.....*sigh* fruit.gif

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the southwest chutes is also one of my fav. i am not sure there is another run in the nw that combines the vertical drop, elevation, down the fall line skiing, steepness (could be a just tad steeper imo but i won't complain too much) and the big alpine ambiance the way the chutes do. anyone?

 

as for my other favorites i suspect i'd have to think of those sunny, waist-deep powder days in the selkirks. fortunately they are not too uncommon grin.gif

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j_b said:

the southwest chutes is also one of my fav. i am not sure there is another run in the nw that combines the vertical drop, elevation, down the fall line skiing, steepness (could be a just tad steeper imo but i won't complain too much) and the big alpine ambiance the way the chutes do. anyone?

NFNWR. I hear it's pretty cool. thumbs_up.gif

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