Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tom Dick and Harry Peak Windy Ski

On Wednesday of this week Ian Roth and I headed up to Mirror Lake to do some backcountry skiing.  It had been snowing a ton in the mountains and he had a new split board he wanted to get some turns on.  The only reason I agreed during the middle of the week was that the weather looked clear and I thought I could get some wintery drone footage for my website.  Unfortunately, it was far to windy to fly but we had a great day in the woods regardless and got a few deep powder turns in.
Ian came up on Tuesday night to spend the night so it would be easier to leave in the morning.  We didn’t leave the house till 8:30 or 9am after he cooked up some breakfast for us he had brought.  We got to the parking lot at Ski Bowl around 10:15 and were on the track down the side of the road towards the Mirror Lake trailhead by 10:30am.  I got a kick out of the fact that Ian put his skins on to start despite us going downhill from the parking lot.  hehe.  I had my Mavic in the bag with me but by the time we got to the trailhead I could tell from the wind down below that there was probably little chance of me flying up higher on the mountain. :(

We made great time getting up to Mirror Lake in just over an hour of switchbacks.  It was blue skies and a winter wonderland but the wind was brutal, often knocking the heavy snow off the trees above us down onto us!  Unlike last time with Leo and Emily we ended up following a snowshoe route up and around the backside of the mountain to gain the ridge.  This added some distance but it was definitely far easier than trying to punch our way up the face of the mountain through the deep untracked snow.  

We passed a few others on the trail and made it to the top by 1:15pm.  It was so windy at top that we only spent seconds on the actual summit trying not to get blown off or get instant frostbite.  I took out my phone and snapped a few pics using my gloves that have touchscreen capacity in the fingers. No way was I going bare hands!  While Ian strapped into his board I dropped into the severely windblown face of the peak to assess any avalanche danger and pick the most logic and soft route down.  

We ended up traversing the face a bit to get out of the wind blown area and soon found ourselves on top of what looked like a big cliff face.  Ian waited while I scouted out a safe entrance to below the cliff and then we both dropped into a slope protected from the wind with a ton of powder.  We got about 15 turns full of deep dry powder face shots down to the tree line below.  From there we put our skins back on and made our way back around Mirror Lake.  I had contemplated flying the drone around the lake but it was still too windy so we just ended up zooming down the trail on our skis.  

Back at the highway We decided to walk the snowy trail back to the Ski Bowl lot as there was a lot of sand and dirt kicked up onto the trail from the plows that would destroy our skins.  This of course was much easier for Ian in his snowboard boots.  I guess there is at least one advantage to snowboarding…. It was a nice day overall and felt really good to be back on skis again!

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