This 2006 – 7 ski season has been nuts, in a good way, but still nuts. In early November I hiked Baker in shorts and t-shirt. Two weeks later we drowned in 240 cms of unconsolidated powder in almost that same spot. Since then Vancouver has had a solid 12 days of sub 10 degree weather giving us the opportunity of skiing Peak to Sky and getting Roger’s Pass like powder off the local mountains. Not that I’m complaining but we’ve been blessed with a whackload of snow this year.
The New Year started off with a bang as we got dumped on yesterday. After being ”blessed” by 30cms of snow yesterday, the skies proceeded to really open up. We woke up to 60 cms of snow on the ground in the valley! It was still puking as we cautiously poked our head outside the door and made our way up Standard Ridge to the ridgeline. The winds, strong at valley floor started moving to “small dog” warning status as we got higher and higher.
More snow on the skintrack made for tough trailbreaking
It was totally “kleine Hundewindwarnung” weather up top as we were buffeted by 80 kmh winds gusting to 120kmh preparing to drop over the ridge onto SW slopes towards Daisy Lake. The snow was awesome, with face shots and snorkel turns the whole way down.
However, the wind and low visibility was making for unsafe travel conditions. We could sense the high alpine slopes towering above us get steadily more and more windloaded as the storm brought snow down on us at a race of between 5 to 8 cms/per hour. So we retreated back to the hut – taking a turn down Full Frontal Glades again.
Sharon retreating to the hut.
Pat finds a nice spot of snow on our retreat
Danielle having an “oh my god” moment
We got back to the hut in time to see the roof slide and disclose a 80 cm crown. While we were having lunch and trying to dry out a bit another 15cm fell in about an hour as the storm really tightened the screws.
Fortunately Ron’s family has persuaded him that shovelling snow would kill his back and he was thankful that he had the snowblower handy to try to keep the worst of the drifts under control.
Fighting the losing battle ~photo Pat Mulrooney
While the others opted to dry out at the cabin we made cautious tracks over to Home Run Bowl to see if 60 (now 90 cms) of 5.6% density snow could be skied. First we had to break trail there. Ugh. Well it was worth it and then some.
Zdenek dives for the bottom in Home Run Bowl
Louise – “this is a long way from Denmark”
Jack diving for the bottom and finding gold in the pow
We skied till dark and the snow kept coming down harder and harder. These next few pictures are terrible and have convinced me that I need a fast low-light lens but I’ve put them in to show what every turn was for our three glorious laps.
Zdenek and Jack drowning in the white fluffies
It was back to the cabin and our turn to cook. Ten pounds of prime rib, roasted potatoes, yams and carrots and triple chocolate fudge cake capped off a heck of a day!
Mellowing out while waiting for food to cook
To top it off, the skies cleared later in the evening and the full moon peeked out on a snow-covered winter wonderland. What would tomorrow bring?
Moonlight over McGillivray Pass
Looking north towards Standard ridge and Home Run Bowl from the cabin. The cornices are newly formed.
McGillivray cabin’s windows glow invitingly warm.
Day 4′s route
Day 4′s elevation profile