Friday, January 20, 2012

Back to Wolfie

Crested Butte has received significant snow lately, but because the underlying snow is not particularly supportable or stable Nick and I decided to head down to Wolf Creek Pass on Thursday morning in search of a deeper and more stable snowpack. A couple weeks ago we had great luck down there, and as Wolf Creek Pass had just received 18 inches of new snow we hoped for a repeat.

The nice thing about wolf creek pass is that 1000+ vertical feet of skiing can be accessed with a quick 400 vertical foot skin. On Thursday morning, after just such an approach Nick and I were stoked to be on top of our first run of the day. But dropping into north facing trees we found some of the heaviest snow I've ever skied. It was literally like trying to ski 18 inches of cream cheese, neither of us had ever experienced snow like this in January.

So, we made a quick adjustment in our plans and decided to spend the rest of the day exploring farther out zones on our snowmobiles. 10 miles from the trailhead our luck went south when Nick's sled came to a sudden and unexpected halt.

After about an hour of troubleshooting and the help of a friendly local we came to the conclusion that we wouldn't be fixing this one on the trail.
Having never towed before we figured it would be best to have Nick steer his sled
 
Which may have made Nick...
a bit snowy.

But after all that we still had a hotel reservation in South Fork for Thursday night, so we figured we take advantage of Friday to do some more exploring and play on the remaining sled. 

We headed up to some play meadows that Jordan and I had found previously and were quickly reminded that sleds don't care if the snow is a bit heavy! Photo Nick Matisse.

Didn't quite pull this one out..
 
Nick doing a better job staying on the sled:
 
Photo Nick Matisse.
 
Nick and I even ripped up some tandem pow turns!!! Awesome!
 
Before we knew it it was time to head back to the trailhead. Another adventure in the books, not the best skiing ever, but definitely some memories I will never forget! 

Finally, I'd like to mention one enormous difference between the snowmobile and backcountry ski communities. When Nick's sled broke on Thursday, a more experienced local sledder spent three hours of his day helping us get Nick's sled back to the trailhead. In the backcountry ski world this intrusion into someone else's zone followed by some form of incident would have been met by jeers, scorn, and a decided unwillingness to help. I will always appreciate and value the kindness, friendliness and helpfulness of the snowmobile community and hope to bring it to the ski world.