February 23-25

February 23

After a weekend spent teaching others about snow and a day of rest it was time to get in a few turns for myself. There had been an avalanche cycle after the recent storm and I was interested in finding out what a few of the slides looked like so we headed up White Pine. There were no plans, just out for a walk, but we ended up on this beauty, Red Baldy, before the day finished.

There was quite a bit of natural activity on the east facing. This slide was in middle Boulder Basin.

The route was changed on the up to get a better look at a couple of the slides. The runout from the slide crown, shown above took out a few trees and stepped down into older, January high pressure, snow layering.

From the summit of Red Baldy most of the slides, east facing in White Pine, can be seen.

There was also a natural slide cycle in Red Pine and Hogum, with the naturals in Red Pine, also seen well from the ridge. No investigation was done there, but from the picture, it appears the cycle was within new snow and not as widespread the the slides in White Pine

We skied down from the knob in upper Boulder Basin, removing a bit of litter planted there, climbing and traversed over to the base of Red Baldy. From a distance, it didn't appear the wind damage was as bad as the east facing. A closer look confirmed the suspicion and up we went.

The first run down was excellent, wind packed, settled powder, with no other skiers in the area, a rare treat.

I usually don't lap ski, preferring to take a run and move on, but exceptions are made on some of the big hills, from time to time. This was one of the exceptions. A little discussion about heading over to the Tri Chutes, seen in the background, was quickly dispelled, with the "don't leave good snow for the unknown quality of the next hill."

I threw this in cause I like the rooster tail coming off my friend's proto Voile fatties. Word has it they're a little soft for firm snow, but they seem to handle the powder well.

A look back at the end of the day, showing the three lines each of us put on the hill.


February 24

I was a bit tired from the previous day, but still needing a few to fulfill the job obligations, I took out the little 159 splitboard. Hearing about a slide or two on the Park City ridge line, I went to investigate, starting with West Monitor. Some skiers were in the area, accessing from one of the ski areas, but I stayed on the other side, making tracks on a line I knew hadn't slid out during the winter, in between the ones that keep repeating.

Climbed up and out, traversing south to the next bowl, South Monitor, which hasn't been on a slide cycle this winter. The avalanches had remained within new snow layering and this storm was no exception, allowing a run from the top.

I continued down and climbed the backside of the ridge to access what's called No Name bowl. It has been on a regular slide cycle, with several releasing into older snow layering. I saw a natural in the upper bowl, followed the ridge to have a look when this slide released sympathetically from my walking the ridge. East facing, about 9500 feet and on old snow.

I followed the older slide bed surface down to get a couple of pictures. The old slide and the newer one I triggered connect in the middle of the path, with ski tracks remaining on the shady north facing.

A view of the new slide crown.

Digging into the corner of the newer slide, I found layering, which has been common on slides triggered for the last couple of weeks, a facet crust sandwich, present mainly on east facing, but also seen elsewhere, on northwest facing.

A close up view of the crown with one and two millimeter facets in my gloved hand.

February 25

I was going to take a rest, but received a call from a good ski partner, now with a family, with a suggestion for a good route and off I went again. He's got this little Red Heeler, who looks nothing like a good ski dog, but is tough as nails.

We headed for Neffs, first dropping into West Thayne's, unvisited this winter, setting the theme for the day. Nice little steep chute, followed by an open bowl, for a lower angled finish.

Next up the north chute entry into Neffs. Another nice steep little chute with a good long run out. Stability remained good, tested by the heeler and my friend, gang skiing.

Great cliffs on the sides of those chutes, with the required knowledge needed for finding the proper entries.

Keeping with the theme for the day, we did a little exploring, finding this gem. We both knew it was there but had neither of us had done the run before. Well worth the effort. There's another one just west requiring a bit more scrambling to access before all can be crossed off the tattered list in the back pocket.

A little old school praying mantis telemarkng to remind one of how things used to be, before the days of fatties, BMFRs and everyone wanting to be rough and tough, finishes the run with only the hideous trail remaining for another success.


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