Vail Pass – 11 Days After Snow

January 31st, 2011

Crew: Jordan Winters, Weston Bierma, & our newest member 2005 Arctic Cat M7

Location: Vail Pass North Shore Zone

It had been 11 days since our last major storm cycle and many of our favorite spots had been either tracked out or riddled by the sunny 48 degree day earlier in the week.  It was time to take our new toy out and explore some areas that I had been examining on the map for the past couple of years.  We drove the sled in about 5 miles and parked it near what our expected exit would be.

Jordan Winters knowing that we had found the goods (Photo - Weston Bierma)

Jordan Winters knowing that we had found the goods (Photo - Weston Bierma)

We began skinning up through the trees under light snowfall and flashes of sun through the parting clouds.  Our ascent began on the South facing aspect slowly wrapping around east towards the top.  The snow began softening and gaining depth as the compass rose drew closer to North.  Fittingly we topped out at an area called Top of the World.  The view is usually just that but with a small storm moving in the clouds hid the peaks.   Down below the flat light disappeared amongst the widely spaced trees.  Our grins grew as we peered in over the cornice and saw untracked North facing powder.  The snow pack below treeline had been  stabilizing over the past week so we felt very comfortable dropping into some steep and deep.

Jordan Winters dropping off the cornice and into the North facing goods (Photo - Weston Bierma)

Jordan Winters dropping off the cornice and into the North facing goods (Photo - Weston Bierma)

Weston taking his turn (Photo - Jordan Winters)

Weston taking his turn (Photo - Jordan Winters)

Jodan Winters making another lap (Photo - Weston Bierma)

Jodan Winters making another lap (Photo - Weston Bierma)

Weston dropping in for a second lap (Photo - Jordan Winters)

Weston dropping in for a second lap (Photo - Jordan Winters)

Steep and deep it was indeed.  Considering the fact that we had not had any new snow in the past 11 days to ride knee to thigh deep powder was exactly what we had hoped for.  Now that we have a sled we should be able to consistently find the goods even two weeks after a storm cycle.  We made great turns down the steep glades.  At the bottom we put our skins back on and headed back up towards the sled.  With big grins and a successful day this is a zone we will definitely be returning to.

Jordan getting the deep and about to hit the steep (Photo - Weston Bierma)

Jordan getting the deep and about to hit the steep (Photo - Weston Bierma)

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