(Last Updated On: May 24, 2015)
We’re on a broken record here, but so is the weather. For the past month or so, it seems to snow every single day. And while this sounds great for skiing, the snow is falling with some asterisks. For one, the snow line has been high- meaning the good snow is above at least 11,000′, if not 12,000′. For another, all this snow and cloud cover have been keeping things a bit warm for a good solid freeze at night, so at times the avalanche danger has been somewhat high. But the real kicker has been the visibility- with all the good snow above treeline, it sure is nice to have sun, not fog, for the descent. But like I said, it snows every day, or at least it’s cloudy.
So, as they say in the Pacific Northwest, BC, and Alaska, we’ve been window shopping this May. All you can do is hope the sun peeks out for a few minutes- in which case the skiing has been tough to beat. The thing with window shopping is that it’s tough to put to much effort into it- no one wants to slog and suffer for hours just to get shut down. When the sun finally does come out, it’s going to be fun- with huge snowpacks up high.
Yesterday, I wanted to keep it really simple- which meant a quick skin up the ski are to ski the Headwall, with Chris Miller and Alex Reidman. The storm clouds rolled in like clockwork, even producing some lightning and thunder.
The Headwall looked smoother than it ever is, with the moguls of the lift-accessed ski season long since buried. Personally, I’d place it as some of the best conditions I’ve skied it in (Or maybe it was just that I was skiing it with brand new Dynafit-free skis).
Today, we decided to try a little bit bigger of an area: the North Bowl of Purple Mountain. Access up the Slate river is great right now- except the snowline is creeping higher up the valley so there is a bit of hiking to get to snow. Tom Runcie, Colin McKernan and I made quick work of the climb, and found ourselves on the upper ridge of Purple. There are a lot of lines up here, and it’s actually one place I’ve never skied. It’s a tough call where to maximaize the fun factor and the vertical, but this looked pretty good to us:
Crested Butte was looking good too:
As was Mineral Point:
I didn’t have a great angle or great light to get any great photos, but the skiing was great- once again smooth effortless snow. Tom:
The South facing terrain on the other side of the valley was contrasting nicely with the white snow we were skiing.
Looking at the weather forecast, the pattern might be ending sometime this week, but we’ll see. Just about everyone is ready to quit window shopping and go shopping for real 🙂
My New Skis 🙂 Get them while you can, they’re gone next year: