Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Skiing and Soaking, the Eastside Mantra

Today, for something new and different, Jen and I took the lifts up to the top of Mammoth Mountain and then dropped down off the backside into the San Joaquin drainage towards the Red's Meadow hot spring.  During the summer this spring is gated closed (it used to feed a shower house but the state has shut it down), but in the winter they open it up for snowmobilers and skiers to soak.
The ski down was...interesting.  Jen got a good taste of survival skiing in crusty sun affected snow, but it was the end, not the means which motivated us down there!  

After soaking for close to an hour and a half, we finally got our lazy bones out of the tub for the long skin back out through the Rainbow Fire deadfall, battling..gasp...sunshine and gloppy snow sticking to the skins before getting back to the ski lifts at 3:58pm (they close the lifts at 4:00).
Happy hour at Slocum's got us back to normal, and now the next tour gets planned!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Powder Turns

The winter is here, and with it comes shorter days, big snow storms, and an uptick in whiskey consumption.  I have been busying myself ski instructing at Mammoth Mountain an guiding a couple backcountry ski touring courses, managing to get both the major holidays off from work to get out and enjoy the amazing cold snow conditions in the Sierra.

With the very cold temperatures experienced in Mammoth over the last week, the upper layer of snow has had the moisture sucked right out of it, and is a blanket of some of the lightest cold smoke powder imaginable (here).   Jen and I pushed through a foggy New Year's Day morning to drive up to Lee Vining Canyon to ski the slopes below the Dana Plateau, and had a great time making zipper turns down the open glades and treed chutes. 

And here is a link to the short video clip from the day...
Dana Plateau/ V-Bowl Skiing Video

Hope everyone is having fun out there!  Ryan