Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wolverine Ridge - March 2013

With winds hammering much of the region last week and the warm sun creeping higher into the sky, we didn't know what kind of conditions we would find when we set out to explore Wolverine Ridge this weekend. As the parking lot is 3 minutes from our place and sunset is at 8 PM, I spent the morning unpacking and by 2 PM we were skinning with 6 hours of daylight to work with. Rachel welcomes me to the rainforest in winter:


Not sure exactly how to approach the ridge, what we wanted to ski, and taking our time to observe snow conditions, we gradually approached the ridge. Afternoon sun just starting to peer into view:

Photo: Rachel Ertz

As we neared the top we followed the route our friend Mike had set the previous day. Rachel on the staircase to heaven:


At the ridgeline we contoured to the northwest to our intended line, Wart Face. Not willing to commit to big sluffs high on the face, we worked our way down the ridgeline at first. Rachel eases up to let her sluff flow by:


The face opened as we descended, so we worked into the heart of it. Rachel surfing the smooth Alaskan cream:


With the shadows growing longer and plans to return to the zone the next day, we called it a day. But, before Sunday arrived, a 1 AM wakeup call from a friend got us out of bed for a beautiful northern lights show over the water:


Sunday, our friend Mike came along to show us around. Rachel and Mike with Wart Face in the shade on the lookers left. Peter's recent tracks on lookers right:


Remembering the fun, steep and exposed turns we'd had on Wart Face the previous day, we headed back there for our first line. Having inspected the face the day before, we were able to drop into the center of the face sooner. Mike works the middle of the line:


And finds the goods lower down:


We headed further northwest for our next line, planning to approach it from below. Shortly after taking the picture below, two skiers and a dog appeared on top and quickly dropped into the line - giving us no time to reach a safe zone. It was actually one of the more ridiculous things I've ever seen: after airing the cornice immediately behind his owner, the dog spent no less than the next 100 yards cartwheeling wildly down the line. Eventually upright, dazed, and with no idea where his human companions had gone he briefly confused Mike for his owner before dropping into a steep convexity immediately above Rachel. I love dogs, but behavior like this makes me extremely leary of skiing with them.


After a brief detour to retrieve a sliding helmet we were on top of our second line. Mike dropping in (notice the random dog tracks in the corner):


Building speed lower down:


Yep, that was smooth:


A short skin brought us to our third and final run of the day. Mike heads toward town:


Wind protected goodness:


The line maintained its pitch quite well, Rachel working it:


Great weekend with great people, hard to beat the access and sustained pitch of this area - I can't wait to explore it more!