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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  April 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  April 6-13, 2013, Valhalla hut, Selkirk pow fest
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Author Topic: April 6-13, 2013, Valhalla hut, Selkirk pow fest  (Read 1714 times)

Posts: 70

April 6-13, 2013, Valhalla hut, Selkirk pow fest
« on: 04/15/13, 08:49 PM »

Our group of 12 headed in for a week of touring at the Valhalla hut which is located in the Valhalla subrange of the Selikirks and reached via heli from the hamlet of Burton which sits on Lower Arrow Lake south of Nakusp BC.  The week before the freezing level soared and everything slid.  We were concerned that a trend back to cool weather would leave us scraping about on a hard crust…

Day 1   On weather hold all morning.  Finally at 1PM the first Heli ride in with the group organizer and two others.  And then back on weather hold for the rest of us waiting to get in while the lucky first group is skiing laps at the hut.  Finally at 3PM the flying resumes and the remaining 9 skiers plus hut keeper and sling of food and gear are flown in.  It has snowed 10cm during the day at just below freezing, adding to 20cm of goo that fell the day before onto a sun crust from the "Big Easter Thaw".  Before night falls we get one lap on a treed south facing slope and conditions are soft, if heavy.

Day 2   The morning brings -3 C with another 10cm and snowing hard.  We head out and dig a pit on both south and west aspects and find remarkably stable conditions with cold dry unconsolidated storm snow above the goo and a CT20 on the crust.  Powder skiing everywhere as we break into 3 groups and ski the areas near the hut.

Day 3   Temps are holding low and 10cm overnight promises for another banner day.  The groups are remixed and then spread out to farm the same areas as day 2, finding everything untracked again!

Day 4   Even colder and some clearing at last and another 10cm fell overnight bringing the storm total to 50cm on the previous week's crust.  Pit results reveal continued good bonding, so we head for the alpine, cresting an 8000' pass between Woden Peak and Mt. McKean.  Skiing the backside of the pass is creamy sun warmed snow, the run back down to the hut perfect sunshine and powder.

Day 5   Snowing hard all day with temps hovering at 0 C, most opt to take a day off and chill out.  Those that head out keep to safer low angle protected slopes and find skiing conditions to be OK if heavy.

Day 6   Temps drop overnight to -4 C and it keeps snowing off and on.  Storm total is now 80cm.  We do a larger tour "Under the Rhino" and find perfect pow everywhere, skiing 5100' of vert.

Day 7   Continued temps below -3 C with clear skies expected to last til noon sends us up into the alpine again, this time the other side of Mt. McKean.  Finding big, sweeping open terrain up to Sunshine pass where the weather is starting to close down, we head over to the col next to the Rhino and proceed to ski the upper alpine bowl that leads into "Under the Rhino" and a total 1500' drop before the snow turns heavy and we stop. This same run in Jan-Feb could be over 3000' drop on the right day…

Day 8   It dumps all night and the temps drop below -6 C.  Storm total is now over 135cm, 110 of which has fallen while we were at the hut.  Everyone heads out to ski laps behind the hut except for the first heli group which is on standby in case the weather clears.  The storm continues all day and the runs are all over-the-shoulder faces shots complete with "can't follow behind" contrails and back of the head snow cones.  Finally at 4 PM the storm stops, the heli flies and everyone gets out in time to head for Nakusp for Dinner…  Not bad for the last day of the season at Valhalla hut!

* Descending_the_east_side_of_Mount_McKean_in_the_Valhallas.jpg (40.19 KB, 768x1024 - viewed 617 times.)

* Skiing_Under_the_Rhino.jpg (46.98 KB, 926x502 - viewed 606 times.)

* Valhalla_Hut.jpg (180.52 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 618 times.)

Squak MountainEars
"We hear there's powder up there"

Posts: 70

Re: April 6-13, 2013, Valhalla hut, Selkirk pow fest
« Reply #1 on: 04/17/13, 02:42 PM »

Did I mention the last day was deep?

* Diana_in_the_pow-64kb.jpg (60.25 KB, 1000x966 - viewed 421 times.)

Squak MountainEars
"We hear there's powder up there"
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