154″+5″=159″ at Wolf Creek

Since a lot of terrain hadn’t opened over the weekend, we came back to Wolf Creek today.  They had received another 9″ in the last 24 hours, so we knew it would be worth the drive.

We met up with our buddy, Pat Romportl, and skied lift line on our first lap to warm up our legs.  It was still deep, even after a weekend full of skiers.  After that, it was time to hike.  We skated, push kicked and walked out to one of Jon’s favorite spots on the mountain.  It is a bowl that gets wind loaded and stays consistently deep, even early season.  Ski Patrol had thrown shots all around the area, tinting the snow black with gun powder.  We each took turns slashing trenches across the gray face.  It was so fun, we had to do it again.  And again.  On another lap in the same area, we watched as ski patrol dropped the rope for the peak.  The patroller tossed out warnings that a lot of the area below the summit had slid to the ground, so it would be wise to pick your line carefully, unless you wanted to down climb.  We boot packed up to the top, the wind ripping across the ridge, biting our cheeks.  When we got to the top, we didn’t even take a moment to catch our breaths, we just buckled in and dropped, one by one.  We hugged skiers right of the peak, hoping to avoid rocks and bare ground, but even in the trees below the peak, avalanches had stripped the mountain naked.  It was nerve racking, cutting across the slide paths to reach a ridge deep enough to ski down and out of harms way.  Once we had all gathered together again, we dropped to Alberta Lift and got to hike up to one of my favorite spots at Wolf Creek.  It is commonly called the shoulder, because it is the ridge that leads up to the peak.  Nobody had been up there yet after this storm cycle, so it was filled with 52″ of glory.  We boot packed up mid way, then dropped our skies and buckled in.  We let Pat go first, since he hadn’t skied 159″ of storm snow yet this season.  This was actually only his second day this year on skies.  He disappeared in the white smoke his turns kicked up.  Next was my turn, and I took a line to the right, picking up speed at first and then digging in deep turns through the trees, snow splashing up around my shoulders.  When I reached the bottom of the pitch, I glanced behind me and saw Jon doing tele turns, disappearing, then reappearing, a huge grin spread across his face.  We had to do that again.  And again.  And again.

By mid afternoon the last three days of lift accessed, storm snow skiing had taken a toll on our legs, so we decided to cut out early, leaving Pat on his own.  Skiing everyday is hard work. : )

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