Monday, March 21, 2011

Roaming the Idaho woods again ...

I am so glad to be back BC skiing the local mountains. After spending weeks in the mountains of Eastern Oregon and Nevada in avi courses it really feels good to relax and ski tour close to home.

After preparing french toasts for the family, I had a late start and left Boise by eighth thirtish. I was surprised to find the Freeman pull-out vacant. At the switchback, as I was about to start skinning up, Gary and Kelli stopped in their car and offered me a much appreciated company. I continue breaking trail, until they caught-up with me at the top of the meadow, just before the final ramp to the top of Freeman.

During my climb, before my friends caught with me, I had time to clear my head. 2011 has been a year of change; I left HP after 24 years and started working for Transform Solar, I dearly miss touring with Pedro after he left the nest for Berkeley, and I naively packed my schedule with avi course through the whole season. I missed great skiing in February in our area, but I spent countless hours in the Elkhorns above the Baker Valley in Oregon, and I was initiated in March to the Schell range in Eastern Nevada - a true "wild west" experience!

As Gary and Kelli joined me, I realized how lucky and fortunate I am. Without the support from so many fiercely loyal friends, it would have been an impossible year.

And there I was, BC skiing with friends, and meeting new ones (Brian and Jimmy).

There was a combo of sun, rain, and wind crusts at all elevations and aspects. But the wind moved enough snow to create many pockets and lines of very skiable boot high pow. The trick was to "choose wisely". Choosing poorly would have taken you into the instructional snow realm.

The only concern for Sunday was weak layer buried 50-60 cm with moderate stability results. But the snowpack at Mores Creek Summit to large extent seems to be sintering well. I suggest to keep an eye above 7500 feet for a very thin rain crust above dry snow, that has developed "Near Surface Facets" (NSF) below the crust. This surface crust was quite spatially variable, thus it will meant checking every slopes above 35 deg before jumping into them, assuming we get the new snow forecasted for early this week.

The coverage at Mores Creek Summit is extremely good, above average. The area is in great shape late winter pow skiing, and the mid April to May corn season.

One final note, anybody is welcome to post to the blog. Just send a comment asking for access. All it requires is the willingness to share observations, stories, essays, pictures, videos, or relevant data about West Central Idaho backcountry skiing. The only requirement is that it should be a community building contribution. I realize that some folks have a high desire to contribute, but are timid to contribute for many reasons. I promise that many of us will appreciate your comments .... c'mon take the leap!