Downing Mountain 12-27-12

December 30, 2012 at 17:48 | Posted in Backcountry skiing the Bitterroots, Skiing at Downing Mountain Lodge | 1 Comment

With the best base on the upper mountain for this time of year, we have been enjoying some really good powder skiing and burned tree glade skiing with guests at the lodge. There is about 5 feet of snow on the upper mountain and over the passed week about 6-8 inches of flurries have accumulated on top of last weeks wind consolidated snow. The skiing has been fast and supportive with easy trail breaking and good stability. In the burned trees, we have been discovering hidden ridges and bowls and skiing in the glades all the way back to the lodge elevation. With the run out entirely burned over there is an open slope at the bottom adjacent to the glades, vastly improving the skiing from the passed. Watch out for wearing light colors as they pick up the charcoal as you pass!

12-10-12 Gash Point

December 11, 2012 at 16:59 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I skied Gash Point for the first time this season. Parking at the lower trail head, I skinned in from there through the large quantities of burnt blowdown to the upper trail head where there was just enough snow for good skinning. At the burnt gully there was a base and above at the bench and green trail there was significantly more snow. The trail went to the upper crossing and there was about 3-4 feet there. Above the crossing in the burn there was a good ski base and good surface conditions. A bit slabby from the wind, it was a big fat-ski day and I was cruising on my Voile Drifters and finding the trailbreaking deep and hard. The rollover to gain the upper tree triangle was slabbed up nicely and deep with fresh snow and wind drift. There had been quite some traffic over the weekend, but now the trail was gone here and only seen occasionally in wind scoured areas. I switchbacked up and left to the ridge following the standard approach to  the skier summit, cresting into the alpine on the east ridge. I stopped before the final 200 feet at the rocks and skied the breaking fall line run back down through the trees and over the rollover which I skied adjacent to my skin track with no obvious sign of instability. Traversing the ridge and down through the lower burnt gullys was fun and I grabbed my skin trail for the shush down and out along the creek. From the upper parking lot, skiing was bad with many obstacles. I had to walk two extensive boulder gardens and steep pitches. One more low elevation storm will vastly improve the conditions as will the settling and warm weather we are experiencing today. With another fetch of moisture and low pressure bearing down on us right now, we may luck out and get some more snow throughout the week and end o the week.

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