After the previous week of boarding with friends in Utah, I couldn’t let the momentum die. But I was surprised by week’s end how much it would catch up with me in this gap between the beginning of meteorological Spring and astronomical Spring.
Returning home Sunday evening, Goddess and I made Tuesday plans to board together at Silver Mountain in Idaho. We had never been. As we were getting things together Monday evening, I looked at conditions in the region. Conditions in Idaho looked pretty good with spring conditions, but the full-fledged winter conditions in British Columbia looked even better.
We had never been boarding up there, so we punted. What a great decision!
Especially as the drive there was but 45 minutes longer than our planned drive into Idaho.
The image at the top of the post is also from Red Mountain. After a week of looking forward to the powder dump in Utah that did not arrive until the morning we headed to the airport, these conditions were exactly what I was looking for.
And since we had never been, we decided to stay the night in Rossland and have a look around. It’s a fun little town, very walkable and full of very welcoming locals. A couple of days later, we found out that one of those locals had an amazing encounter with one of the real locals of Red Mountain.
Returning home, I started making plans to get to Silver Mountain on Thursday. Unfortunately, Goddess wouldn’t be joining, but that would give me the opportunity to explore and report back.
But that morning, I punted. Again.
Once I got to Silver Mountain, the temperature was well above freezing and it was raining fairly steadily. So I kept driving.
That’s one of the best things about living here. The mountains are close enough together that if one’s not quite right, keep driving a bit. Another might be better.
Once again, I chose well, as Lookout Pass was snowing lightly on top of the snow that they had received over the previous two days that they were closed. The runs would be soft and untracked.
The conditions did not disappoint. But I was surprised at how fast those conditions changed as the snow stopped and the sun peeked through the clouds. It warmed up and the snow, even in the protected areas, started getting a bit wonky.
Snow started falling from the trees and created pinwheels down the steeper slopes (although nowhere near as big as in the linked pic). Inbounds, that’s not much of a worry, but a sure sign to stay out of the backcountry. Snow doesn’t like a rapid change in temperature, which weakens it. In the backcountry, they’re a natural avalanche warning.
The small cohesive balls of snow started rolling as soon as I sat down on the edge of the groomed run. I was trying to decide which line I wanted to take through the trees, thinking that the powder in the shade would be great. Those cohesive balls told me that it wouldn’t be as light and fluffy as I hoped. I enjoyed watching them, understanding what they were telling me, but I wasn’t too concerned, being inbounds (although that is never a guarantee).
But did that stop me?
Seriously? Is that a question?
The snow was good, but after a few turns through the trees, as I slowed to pick my next line, I looked around at all of the tree wells around me. With the snow becoming cohesive, they are less of a danger, but still a danger, especially as I was by myself. Goddess’ voice sprung into my head with her usual admonition when I head off into the trees by myself on a deep powder day —
The conditions weren’t good enough to play there, so I worked my way over to an ungroomed run, creating pinwheels with each turn and dodging them as they chased me all the way down the run.
But by lunchtime, I was cooked. Sitting there thinking about where I wanted to explore next, I realized that I was in the middle of the seventh day of boarding out of eleven. It was catching up with me, so I got a few more runs in, then headed home early.
A couple of days later, as I write this, I am almost recovered and thinking about what a fantastic couple of weeks I was able to enjoy with brothers and Goddess. It is these weeks that make me extremely thankful for what I have and where we are.
Hopefully you are in a similar place, now matter how you are doing it.