bə-lō'nē mō'gəls(n.pl.) 1. A group of drinkers with a shredding problem. 2. The combination of snow, booze, and metal.


Hiking for Pow (Jackson Christmas Day 3)

After a quick run down (read 35 minutes of riding) from the tram to the base, the conditions just weren't there.  So we headed out to Apres Vous and found some decent cruisers that were still intact.  Again though, cover pushed away quickly and it felt quite North East style.

So, the 11:00 A.M. daily plan went into effect:  Beers at the summit of the Gondy.  Because of the crazy inversion here, the -4 at the base was actually closer to 25 at the summit.  Unbelivable sun too made for an amazing chill session.  Shockingly enough, I got antsy.  I kept glancing behind the Gondy building where the hike up for the headwall is.  A long packed out trail stretching up through the trees and climbing some 1000 feet to the top of Casper peak.  Cupid was content will chilling so I grabbed the board, stripped off a few layers, and started the hike.

Initially, I thought I might only hike up a few dozen feet and take a quick pow turn in the untracked, but easily accessible area.  As I started trudging up it though, the packed out trail - due to skiers boots - made for an easier hike.  It was like a stairmaster from hell, and the altitude didn't make it any easier, but all and all, it was doable.  With my head down, I just kept plodding away.  In minutes, silence and the bowl opened up more and more.  Great powder could be seen and now I realized how I was really up there.  Perhaps an avalanche beacon would have been a good idea...  Don't worry, I'm sure I could count on Cupid sitting at the bar to save me.

Eventually I saw a higher pitch and thought I might make it to there.  After a few instances of this I figured I climbed several hundred vertical feet, and was continuing to make good progress.  Finally though, I called it quits once another super steep pitch started.  I saw a good area that still had a lot of snow and few tracks and shimmied over to strap in.  Now, I noticed just how far I climbed and how gnarly the terrain got.  It also dawned on me that I had no idea which way to go down, and no idea where the cliffs were. 

As Ski Patrol famously told us, "Taste Death, Live Life."  So, with that attitude, I dropped in and make some sick pow turns if I do say so myself.  Then, I realized I was now in it, and was standing in front of a mondo cliff.  Now, I knew I really should have figured out where the safe line is, and had no choice but to unstrap myself and hike up a bit and then over.  The precipice I creeped across got gnarly and gnarly and I had to traverse over some 100-200 feet.  Finally, I saw what looked like a rideable way down.  Though, it was definitely the gnarliest chute I've ever considered going down.

Back into the board, pointing the nose down and making a few jump turns, I launched down the chute and somehow popped out on the otherside.  Finally I had a view of the top of the gondola where I started the hike and make some slow turns through the lower bowl.  Success.

Once Justin got off of work for his ski break, we made a beeline for the hike up Casper we did yesterday.  Today though, the waist high we trudged through was packed where we stepped from yesterday and access was way easier.  The Re-Session was on and many fun rock hits were had.

All and all, a great day of pow and fun on what everyone else bitched about as an awful day of hardpack.

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