Friday, January 23, 2009

Waiting time

Since the last post, we skied one more day around Teton Pass under another blue bird day.

Since it has been over a week since the last storm and that the Jet Stream was way up in the Artic and supposed to go down, we decided to keep going North towards BC. So we left the TETONS...
On our way up, we were invited to check out Whitefish Resort in Montana.It is a really nice resort that was featuring the nicest inversion I have ever seen with an ocean of clouds settling at mid-mountain.There was even some mirage!!! (

The snow was softening in the afternoon leaving a nicespring-like conditions to ski on south facing slopes.

On our way up, we stopped in Fernie to see some longtime friends. After talking with Mat, one of our friends working at the patrol who told us couple of different ugly stories about this year avalanche control, I decided it was not going to be one of the places that we will be doing some backcountry this winter! On Tuesday, we drove up to Calgary, where Amelie has to take a plane to go back. I took my first real day off skiing since the beginning of the trip.

After some shopping, I headed towards Roger's Pass. The last storm that hit Roger's was on January 10th but I was lucky enough to get the permit openings just when I got there. That means that some areas have been close since then because of the Avy danger. What is laying here is not any kind of epic skiing conditions, but rather 20-30cm of soft snow sitting on more firm snow. Not great but probably the best you can get at this time!

There has been a storm lately in California that is making is way to Utah (5-10in forecast). I will see if it worth driving back. I will I might just wait a little bit before driving...
(Here's the forecast for Roger's Pass)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Damn high pressure ridge…

High pressure ridge are really hard to go through as a skibum.

These are the kind of days that you should be doing laundry, clean stuff, do grocery, go on the internet and check random stuff around. But when they last more than 24h, you just figure it is just about to change… Then you realize it is going to be one of those North American high ridge that is going to settle from Arizona to Alaska….

What does that mean: wait for new snow, ski north facing stuff, hang around and meet Jimmy again!

This year makes things really worst: crappy avy conditions. It does stop you from making big tour on high pressure systems, stop you from wanting to move around to a better place since there isn’t a better place to move to get better skiing….

Actually, since the last storm in Brighton, I’ve been celebrating my birthday dinner in the parking lot enjoying one of this such incredible spaghetti and tomato sauce during sunset, skiing the backcountry a little bit around the Wasatch and figuring we were tired of looking for a spot that didn’t have any rain crust and/or sun crust and/or wind crust…

Since Utah was supposed to be dry and that there was more than 7inches following a 12in storm in Wyoming, we decided to move to the TETONS.

God bless the TETONS… I always have the feelings that I don’t spend enough time in the TETONS... (for those who haven’t pick it up yet, TETONS directly translate to TITS in French, so I guest you can figure it’s funny to hear about the GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK!!)

So we moved on the 12th and had some really good turns: no any kind of crust!!! It really felt good to be turning around some good snow again….

Since we were pretty close from the last storm, we decided to check out Grand Targhee, with a 2 for 1 from The resort was pretty tracked out, be there was still some good turns to put in there.

Luckily enough, we ran into Dan Hays, a guy we met 2 years ago paddling in the Northern States while whitewater kayaking!!! He invited us to stay at is place with is really cool roommates!!! We made Victor our homebase for our next days and we decided to stay around the Tetons more than expected!

Jarred, invited us to a day of sled skiing around a drainage near home. Even if it hadn’t snowed for some times, it was still pretty nice on the north facing faces and hooked some nice cornices.

Actually, it is the way it has been for the last day… ski the north facing stuff like and trying to make some good pictures…. For you that don’t understand, it means skiing into the shade and trying to take some picture that will sill have some light in it!

So we have been spending the last days, couch surfing at Dan’s place, skiing Teton Pass or around, cooking salad ( yes, we putted a vegetable in our diet!), burgers and tacos (yes, we sometimes eat different stuff than spaghetti and tomato sauce!!!) and hoping that there will going to call for some snow somewhere… but they don’t.

For all of you in Quebec that are now living in -40 degrees temperatures, pray for snow!!!!

Now gone skiing towards Montana!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Not a bad start!

On the 4th of January, we skied the backcountry in front ofAlta, named Cardiff. The sun was out and the weather was really nice.

The avy conditions right now are not pushing you into skiing the steep and deep, it pushes you more into mellow and treed terrain. One of the problem it that it looks sketchy pretty much everywhere around North America; BC, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington… it seems that it won’t be a great year for backcountry skiing.
The next day, we skied Snowbird Ski Resort, the ski conditions were improving really fast each run we were skiing, since a heavy storm was coming in.

Snowbird has a lot of advanced terrain with a lot of good skiers, even then, we found countless lines in the trees, mainly deserved by the Tram. It is for sure one of the best ski resorts in Utah for the terrain and the powder.

After all that day of snowing, the road to go back to Salt Lake City (where we usually sleep) was restricted to 4 X 4 or chains, which of course we don’t have…..

So we decided to sleep up in the mountains in our car, it kept snowing heavily throughout the night. As expected, we were woked up by the US Marshalls at 5h45 am, because they were gonna do some avalanche control. They ordered us to enter the closest building to be in a safe place. The closest building happened to be the luxurious hotel of the town, Rustler Lodge. They were forced to accept us for the time of the bombing which lasted a couple of hours meaning we got to appreciate the full all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet with even real maple syrup!!!

Don’t have to tell you that it was a pretty good day to be skiing at Alta with over 24inches in 24 hours. We even tought for some times that the road would remain closed like last year but it finally opened before the lifts. Even if the lifts opened later than usually, and that a lot of the snow was upside-down (heavier snow on top of lighter snow), it was another really good Alta-fix.

Since the Avy danger didn’t really mellow out, we decided to check out Brighton. The overall conditions were really good with the snow from the last storm. The blue sky shows up, so we pretty much skied all over the resort.

Even if the resort has really good slack-country, we stick our turns inbounds… A closed call happened about 100 feet from the resort boundary, when a boarder triggered a slab with a crown around 7 feet deep! He was lucky enough that is snowboard got stuck in the trees and that he didn’t go for the full 500 feet ride.

We were just about to leave the resort when another storm of 8+inches fell overnight. We had planned a day off, but were forced to ski…. Again.
We only enjoy the morning runs and than stopped around lunch.
We are still not decided if we are going to stay around here or move.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Here we go again!!!

So it’s back. That time of the year when you gotta quit everything to go skiing.
Alexis’ knee has been repaired through surgery and he spent most of the summer doing physio. He also used his spare time to build his first skis that will probably be super nice to skis.

I did spend the summer paddling around Quebec, BC and the Northern States. But now, I’m back for a full winter of Snowchasing.
This winter is going to be different from last year since I won’t be skiing with Alexis for the whole winter because his knee is not strong enough to handle 8 days of skiing per week. I will be first joined by Amelie for the first three weeks, than I will meet some friends for around 10 days of skiing in BC, than I will meet my dad for a full 2 weeks in Japan and than…. I’ll see!

We quit Quebec for another drive towards the mountain. After debating about starting the journey in BC or Utah, we finally chose the last option. For this winter, we bought a nice Ford Escrotte 1997.
Hope Amelie will not ditch this one like two years ago in Colorado with my old Escrotte .

We set up a bed in the back to be able to cross fast but we had to stop a little bit past Toronto cause of the road conditions.
Besides this forced nap, it has been a fairly normal traverse: drive, stop for gas, change driver, sleep, drive-eat…

We spent the New Year’s Eve driving across Nebraska! Can’t be more exciting!!!

We spent our first day of skiing around Grizzly Gulch in the backcountry of Little Cottonwood Canyon. The snow wasn’t that deep, the conditions weren’t that great but it was really good to be back.

Today we got our first dump, 9 inches, we took advantage of this to ski Solitude, apart from the slow and forever breaking chair, the ski was nice and the sun was out! Honeycomb canyon was open, leaving us plenty of fresh powder.

We’ll see how things work out. If the snow doesn’t show up (we had 9 instead of the 12-14in forecasted) than will move towards some more powdery land!!!!