Well, enough of that quiet period. I’ve become too tightly focused on what this blog should be about, with all the big alpine missions over the past year I’ve become too intent on conveying only that. But this thing is really about skiing, year round, also known in winter as just skiing. So here it is, a weekend worth of pow slaying in great conditions we’ve had lately from a variety of mechanized options.
Option 1: Gondola
I missed what was apparently an all-time day at the hill Friday because of the “w” word. I got out on Sunday, with spindly touring legs and low confidence on the tracked out reality of any ski hill. The hill can only be as high quality as touring on the first run of the day, and only if there’s a ton of overnight snow. It sure does build legs and skill though, and that’s what I was after. Then Whitewall opened and I found some nice untracked to open up on. Fun little line with a fast little air. I gotta ski there more!
Option 2: Sled Access
The day after, I tandemed Ryan up Gorman Lake to ski some stuff. We started off with a few half-drop, half-hike runs down a little face with some fun options. Then we went down the valley to the same couloir we hit last year around this time. The climbing was hard, too few big bootpacks recently, but we made it in respectable time. The run down was exceptional, unbelievable consistent faceshots all the way down, minimal sluffing, a real hoot.
Option 3: Sled Drop
When the terrain is conducive, nothing climbs like a wailing 2-stroke. I’ve always somewhat looked down on pure sled dropping, the ski terrain it gets you to is usually not particularly special, and the snow is usually nearly as tracked as the resort. But as with any other place in the mountains, there is always more room to spread out than meets the eye. And sled drops, with an efficient uptrack, are lightning fast, one of our duo was dropping in every 5 minutes, transitions, strapping the skis to the rack, everything all in. I’m running a Tiny Mo Pros rack, incredible speed and versatility, and it stiffens up the tunnel nicely and has engineered weak points in the ratchets, which break before more important bits (like your skis or the rack or tunnel).