Day One – First Turns of the Season (14 Oct 2014)

(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.
Brittany Konsella skiing first turns 2014-15

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.

Ben McShan skiing
Ben smiles with the first turns of the season.

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.
skinning up road for first turns

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 πŸ™‚
Ben skinning for first turns of the season

Some of the favorite chutes were looking mighty stacked.
jenga chute in october 2014

chute near mount owen in october

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.
skinning for first turns

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.
broken backcountry ski pole

We dropped into our selected chute for our first true turns of the season.
first turns of the season Ben McShan

The snow strip between the “morraine” pile skied surprisingly well.
Ben McShan first turns of the season

It was very creamy snow in the bowl.
Ben McShan first turns of the season

Ben McShan first turns of the season

Lower down, we found and especially nice pocket of creamy goodness.
Brittany Konsella first turns of the season

Brittany Konsella first turns of the season

Was it worth it? I think the smile says it all.
Ben McShan first turns of the season

It’s been mighty warm out there the last couple of days. Here’s to hoping that we return to winter soon!

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things,Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate πŸ™‚ Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

Latest posts by Brittany Walker Konsella (see all)

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things, Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate :) Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

6 thoughts on “Day One – First Turns of the Season (14 Oct 2014)

  • October 17, 2014 at 11:25 am
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    Looks like fun, way to go! I think that is actually a colluvial fan rather than a moraine.

  • October 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm
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    Ah! I knew someone would know the name for that sort of thing πŸ˜‰ Thanks Mike!

  • October 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm
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    But, I just looked it up, and the formation we found is not a “fan” shape really. It’s eroded into a sort-of “rock chute”… where the rocks are pushed to either side and there is a hollowed out part in the center (like short half pipe). Snow filled in there due to it’s concavity. Hence, the good skiing.

  • October 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm
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    That’s a good point. I guess I was generalizing, the fan isn’t just the hollowed out part, but really the apron as a whole. The hollowed out part is just evidence of the erosion that produced the fan. I wonder what the geologic term is for the rock chute in particular! πŸ™‚

  • October 17, 2014 at 6:04 pm
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    I talked to the geologist in our office about it, he doesn’t know a name for that particular thing, nor is he sure if there is one. But, if there is, he’s sure its a French word πŸ˜‰

  • October 17, 2014 at 6:39 pm
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    Très drôle, Mike!

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