(Last Updated On: October 16, 2014)
Every fall, the air changes. The prevailing winds persist and carry the scent of fall along with the crispness in the air. Warm hues illuminate the peaks. And as the leaves begin to drop, I anticipate with great angst, the oncoming of winter.
I am not one who usually ventures out on the first storm. I often wait for two or three storm cycles to blanket our peaks in white. But, I also usually lay my first turns before the end of October. And I didn’t want this year to be different.
The first storm came as September transitioned to October. And the next storm came a little over a week later. But, the forecast then predicted an unusually long dry spell. I suddenly realized that if I wanted to seek backcountry turns in October, I might not be able to wait for another storm. So, I took advantage of what snow we did have, rallied a friend, and went skiing.
Admittedly, things didn’t look so hot when we started. The road was slick with a bit of fresh snow, but it was only a couple of inches deep.
But, I held faith that the typical north-to-east-facing zone would be wind loaded with snow. Sure enough, as we rounded the corner, things began to look a bit better 🙂
Some of the favorite chutes were looking mighty stacked.
Others weren’t quite ready yet.
The climbing was tough. Snow had fallen cold, but was being warmed by the sun, making the perfect situation for glopping on our skins.
Ben tapped his pole against his ski to help release some of the glopping snow. “Be careful,” I said. “I snapped a pole once doing the same thing.” Well, sure enough, guess what happened? “Never fear. I’ve done this before.” Tape can do amazing work.
We dropped into our selected chute for our first true turns of the season.
The snow strip between the “morraine” pile skied surprisingly well.
It was very creamy snow in the bowl.
Lower down, we found and especially nice pocket of creamy goodness.
Was it worth it? I think the smile says it all.
It’s been mighty warm out there the last couple of days. Here’s to hoping that we return to winter soon!