Saturday, December 6, 2014

B.C. Skiing - Mill D North to Powder Park, December 5, 2014

Skis on, skis off. This is 1/8th mile from the trail head at the Spruces Campground. In 30+ year of back country skiing I've never seen four years in a row of such light, early seasons snow. Worse, other than last year, the norm for March is to now come in like a lamb, acting like May and not late winter. Winters are getting shorter.

In a normal December this stream bed is the ski run out of Mill D North (Big Cottonwood Canyon). . .  

 . . . and this sign is covered.

Upper Cardiff Fork and the infamous Cardiac Bowl, as seen from the Desolation Meadows in Mill D North Canyon.

Desolation Meadows.

About an inch of new snow yesterday covering the skin track. I'm skiing my old, heavy, skinny skis (BD Arc Angels with Fritchi Bindings). I didn't want to risk damaging my "A Kit" in this thin snow pack. That said, I never hit a rock today, but I did ski through a lot of grass and brush that is normally covered this time of year.

Did I mention a thin snow pack? Try 15 inches in the Desolation Meadows at about 8,700 feet in elevation.

Look closely for the ski tracks through the sage brush. The southerly aspects like this slope were soggy and wet. I'm guessing the skier who set these tracks did so just after the last storm. It would have been totally crappy skiing today.

View south from the top of Powder Park. The open bowl in mid-picture is Cardiac Bowl, the peaks are Mt. Superior and Monte Cristo (upper Cardiff Fork).

Same view as above but zoomed (Cardiac Bowl, Superior and Monte).

Re-skinning for a second run, I planted my ski in the snow and hit the ground in a pathetic 15 inches of snow.

Ski edges in deeper snow years stripped the bark of this young Douglas Fir.

My first-run turns in Powder Park. The snow offered surprisingly great turning! I went to Powder Park for its grassy slopes, hoping I wouldn't hit rocks.  Powder Park is also generally safe skiing avalanche-wise, it tips the scale in the low to mid 20's (slope angle that is). OK, boring skiing, but it beats working on a Friday afternoon.

My two runs nested in upper Powder Park.
Exit run out of Powder Park. The skin track in lower Mill D North was a nightmare as it was hard, icy, brushy and too fast for such a thin snow pack. Normally the brush is covered allowing for turning into the hillside to dump speed. But I made it down without mishap, all the while thinking I could easily cave-in my head on one of those trees.

1 comment:

  1. Nice day out. Jackson is doing well, but we are still grim. I skied Cutler - more like hiked and was able to squeeze in a few turns here and there - but mostly hiked. I have spent more time riding my mountain bike, the trails are dusty in some locations... This weather is appalling. Maybe it is time to move further North? Or a lot further South... At any rate, here is hoping for improved conditions.