After back to back 3 day weekends of lift served I was eagerly ready to see if I remember how to skin anymore. Pulled into the lot around 9am with 6 other cars and sunny, blue skies. Coverage around the lot is still adequate. Snow however was not. There was a 1-2" crust with the recent consolidating snow beneath. A quick peek into Edith creek revealed the assaults that had taken place after the last dump. Only place I didn't see tracks were on certain eastern and southern aspects but I'm sure that won't last long.
I skinned half way up Pan Pt via the winter route and booted the rest due to an over abundance of boot tracks. Started skinning again from the top of Pan Pt. Wind was really light and it was hot! Snow was primarly windblown topped with some crust. I couldn't help to notice about half dozen or so tracks in the Nisqually Chute. Since no one posted a tr I'm assuming they are non-tayers? Or maybe just trying to keep it a secret.
Continuing on to the chute entrance I came across 2 skiers and 2 spliters who were breaking during their descent at about 8000ft. Spoke to the splitters named "C" and Kirk. They said conditions got more wind effected up higher. Snow was nice here he commented. Felt like butta. As I started skinning again I noticed some high clouds rolling in from the southeast. The sun had also disappeared behind the clouds and the lighting got flat.
Last couple hundred feet went fast. Soon I was at the chute entrance. Wind was light which was a surprise. Didn't waste anytime getting my gear switched and dropped in. First few turns were cautious. Previous tracks and ski/board cuts were still slightly frozen since the sun decided to play hooky. I can't forget the partialy thawed frozen sluff too. I dodged my balls and picked my way until I came upon some smoother sections boarders right, where I could open up and have some fun on the steep banks. After crossing the gully about 3/4's of the way down, snow turned to mushy butta. Only way to ride it was fast. If you went slow the snow would try to take you down. Instead of skinning out I just booted the small north hill. As I kicked step after step I noticed how the snow here was actually in good condition. Just a slight crust that could be broken thru easily to snow beneath. Some sections had no crust, just nice windetched/windblown pow. The depth varied from 6" to knee deep. Didn't notice any signs of instability either. I was able to get a good footing in the softening crust below all the recent snow and only kicked out the crustening surface layers in some places. May have to come back to this slope.
From top of the saddle it was point and go. Managed to squeeze a few good turns in the upper portion. I eventually ended up on the boot pack and rode it to the car.
Btw the skiers I managed to chat with didn't seem to be enjoying the conditions. They described it as variable windblown with trap crust. Better bring your big guns with ya. Seth's, pockets or anything phat.
« Last Edit: 02/11/05, 08:36 PM by boarddude »
You will know when Americas in trouble when the Mexicans stop coming...Carlos Mencia