Friday, January 2, 2015

Sweatin' it up White Pine

Shreddin the Gnar, or whatever (all quality photos courtesy of Jake)

Ski season is upon us. After last year's debacle involving a massive avalanche and my life almost ending, I seriously debated whether I should continue skiing. Despite my hesitations, I retrieved my lost skis, poles, hat, goggles, etc once spring arrived, enjoyed a summer of running and climbing, and sure enough, winter arrived and I'm skiing again. I didn't do a good job at getting rid of my bad skiing influences, i.e my friends, so they inevitably peer pressured me back into, although it didn't take much to bring me back from sobriety.

I haven't had a plethora of ski days already like some folks out there, but have had some very enjoyable outings so far. We had a great powder day up Beartrap fork after Christmas skiing the trees, and a boney but still quality day up on Kessler though Court's lost ski in the depths of the East Couloir did put a damper on moral, mostly Court's. Luckily he has like 9 pairs of skis.
Court skying off a short drop in the East Couloir before losing his ski in the Bermuda Triangle

Court skiing in Beartrap

Managed to capture the stumble. 

Today was the best day of the year so far, despite the unpredicted sweltering temps. With this last week being terribly cold and windy in the valley, I was prepared for severe bone chilling skiing as we headed up to ski some safe south facing terrain, another one of the classic north side LCC chutes, White Pine. White pine couloir is the last of the major couloirs on the north side I have to ski. Needless to say there was some confusion among the brethren when I said I wanted to ski "White Pine", as that can refer to the trailhead, drainage, the actual lake area, and countless other minor chutes all bearing that name. After clarifying, and making a somewhat annoying pit stop for Pete, we found ourselves skinning up the appointed couloir.

However, after about and hour, and after booting a steep tight section(much exertion), Jake, Pete, and I were baking in the hot sun and being blinded by the solar flare reflection off the snow. We trudged on and up, skinning through lots of firm and breakable crust. Despite us whining as we sweated our guts out and pondering whether this adventure was worth the loss of our future eyesight, the snow ended up a lot like Ebenezer Scrooge: quite crusty at first, but softening significantly with time.

The turns ended up being a lot better than expected, and we enjoyed mostly soft, dense turns down another aesthetic line.

Whenever I get tired and hope someone else will break trail, Jake is conveniently a ways back

Pete with his usual "coat around the waist" stylish skinning 

Boys navigating a short steep choke 
The straight leg technique is an excellent way to break your legs upon impact

What Pete lacks in stylish gear he compensates for in jumping grace.

Does it get much better? Maybe a burrito and Dr Pepper at the car

White pine is another classic, easy access, 3000' "out of the gate" couloir that has a bit of everything. Some steep tight chokes, some open mellow terrain, and a big cliff at the bottom that must be negotiated via a quite narrow chute to the west. Fun!

In other news, little Timbre is 6 months old!

A few weeks old 

Cute little kid. 6 months. When she isn't crying she's a treat.