Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bountiful Ridge 03-03-2012

The season is winding down, or at least transitioning from powder to corn. March can mean the end of winter (2007, 2008), or a bonus month of cold and snow. I’m hoping for another month of winter. That said, there are always powder days in April, May and even early June, but one must hit it as the snow is falling.

This winter has been frustrating at best. Not the endless powder days of 2010-11. 2011-12 has shown all conditions: no snow, sugar snow, sketchy avalanche conditions, too many work days and partners with alternative objectives (i.e. low-bar objectives), resulting in numerous missed opportunities. I miss the days of hard charging for multiple laps on perfect powder slopes.

Today we went up Bountiful Ridge, a local hill that I’ve skied since the mid-70’s. It’s a challenging objective for its grunge features: longish approach, oak brush and relatively low elevation (5,500 to 8,500 ft – laps on the top 1,000). Today it didn’t disappoint, the oak is still thick, the trail still long, but the snow was stable, soft and deep. And the turning was sublime (who the hell uses that word?).

I skied with a neighbor (Byron) who was on AT gear for the first time - ever. New boots, new skis, new skins, everything so shiny. Other than a few learning-curve-quirks, he did great. It’s good to find new, young, fit partners. Hope I didn’t scare him off with the hellish pace through the oak-brush. Hey, it was a ‘powder-no-friends-day’.

52-inches of stable snow at 7,200 feet.

The goods, after the trials of the approach, many great ski options.

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