Sunday, January 24, 2010

Advantages of a long dry spell

So it hasn't dumped in a while. That's painfully obvious on the ski hill, but thank goodness we started this snowless hell with some soft snow where it counts. Can you imagine if a rain crust had preceded the last couple of weeks? There are good sides to everything. 1) Stability is getting good. 2) We're less likely to get stuck in a rut skiing pow at the resort every day 3) Getting around in the mountains is quick and efficient. 4) Bigger lines are ripe for the picking. 5) Lots of cool animal tracks to check out.

Our group of three also spent Saturday in the Middle Fork and yes, the skiing rocked. Most lines facing NW through East were buttery pow once you got off the wind hammered ridges. 7500 to 5500 ft had a good coating on whatever firmer snow lurked beneath. Bits of pow held out to maybe 5000 ft but after that you're cruising the crust. That's Jess dropping off Nyack ridge up above.

The old facet layers are still there, but we found they only reacted with substantial force. The upper slab has consolidated to the point where the obvious old facets are about 60 and 50 cm down, respectively. Obviously this can vary, it's just what we saw. The only recent avy activity appeared to be some natural cornice releases. We dropped a moderate sized one and saw only sluffing.

Anyway, lots of good skiing out there, but watch out when it starts dumping again. The top few cm in the Middle Fork is pretty sugary which is fun for now but sure to be touchy with a big dump. The same goes for Canyon Creek, which I'm sure we all know has also been skiing pretty sweetly. By the way, I agree with Chris' comment that the Middle Fork is hardly a secret and letting people know where the good skiing is isn't gonna get the Great Bear get all tracked up and bumped out. If someone has it in them to slog through all the brush and whatever to go shred some powder, good for them. It's too big out there to worry about it.
Have fun.

1 comment:

  1. Don't worry -- even when you say "Middle Fork" that has little meaning to me since that covers a fair bit of area. The pictures are pretty tho.