After a couple weeks absence, we returned to ski Downing Mountain and found it as inspiring as ever. With lots of fresh snow and decent stability on the upper bowls, we were able to ski the Crown Bowl in perfect conditions on the final day of long lived high pressure. It was great surface snow, fast and cool with a hot sun at midday. I’m looking forward to more storms, but the blue skies were intoxicating this day. We took a number of laps and then headed out to the front face where we joined guests tracks and made out way down the rock garden into the home runout. It was great skiing to 5,800′ where the snowpack became quite thin at numerous old rainlines and we traversed out Cliffside to the north face back to the lodge. This weeks string of storms will help the snowpack and hopefully help get the canyon tours into shape. I’m getting ready to head to the Mission Mountains where there is more snow at lower elevations or maybe even the Swans.
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.