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Monday, May 02, 2011

Last Skate Ski of the Year

I guess I could've titled this post 'Yet More Snow Pictures'. And Zoya does think I have posted too many skiing pictures of late. But today's a significant day - today's the day I put away my skate skiis. After work I went up to the pass and decided to try skate skiing for one last time. It froze hard in town last night so I was hopeful that the crust on the snow would be strong enough to hold me up. And it was - barely. The snow was very soft, wet and slow.

I had to hike a bit to get onto the snow and then it was a slog skating up to the high country because the snow was so slow. I had absolutely no glide. But I did get up there - see bottom 2 photos - and it was quite glorious. The snow is very deep up there and I have a bowl where there is a large area of fairly flat terrain (middle photo). The snow was a bit faster too, and I bombed around in the big wide open spaces and had a hoot.

Then it came time to head down. I angled down across a southeast facing slope that had warmed up in the morning sun, and sank in up to shins. I found if I went really fast I could stay on top but too fast and I could not avoid the alders and stream ravines. It was an exhilarating descent.

I came down onto a spruce tree covered plateau and bombed around a bit more. And then I made my mistake. Rather than heading directly southeast towards the road where the snow had melted out up high (I did not want to take my skiis off and hike if I did not have to), I angled around to the North facing slope and followed the snow down as low as I could go. Then I discovered I was a long way from the road and I had to bushwhack through salmonberries and cross several ravines to get back to it.

All and all it was a fun adventure, and the snow is still good up high. But the time has come to put away the skate skiis. From now on when I hike up the mountain I'll be carrying my downhill gear.

The top picture is a view of the pass from when I finally got back to near the road. The road is just across the creek and on the left. That's Pyramid looming up behind the cottonwoods on the left. Patrick

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