Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Snowed In

I can't really say that I have been snowed in before at Valhalla Mountain Touring. We have so much safe tree skiing close to home, that even when the avalanche danger is High, we can still get out and have fun safely. But the pineapple express has something to say about that right now. Just a few hours to the west, the coast is getting pummeled, and people are building arks, leading their animals 2x2 to safety. At just under 6,000' feet of elevation, we are weathering out the storm as all snow, and with night falling, we should just squeak it out as all frozen precip.

However, since we finished our ski day yesterday, it has snowed almost 45cm in about 18 hours. Strong winds have been afoot as well. Waking up this morning with the warm temps and big dose of 'Sierra Cement', we knew we were in for some interesting times. But when you are at a ski lodge in the backcountry, what else are you going to do, post to your blog? So being the good troopers that we are, we set out, at an exceedingly slow pace, but eventually made it up 1200' vertical to the top of some glades right above the lodge. I don't think we could have done it with out puppy power though. My 1 year old mutt has been genetically engineered (read cross breeding) with long legs and big webbed paws, and he has lots of energy to burn. So with our old skin track just barely visible, I gotta give Benny credit for breaking about 60% of the track. At least someone earned their kibble.

On the way down, it was point 'em straight and lean back, and leap frog each other's tracks. And that was on 30 degree slopes. Anything steeper would have been too sketchy! At least it has been an amazing last 2 weeks of non stop cold smoke, and now we have a super fat mid-winter snowpack. The cold front is coming, and we should get some nice fluff laid down on top of the heavy stuff. I guess right now we have too much of a good thing. It's like eating a few too many nachos, time to sit on the couch and digest...

Here are some shots from the last stint of cold smoke to keep you psyched! Thanks to's Tommy Chandler for the shots!

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