Saturday, November 30, 2013

Eldorado - 11.30.2013

Alyeska finally opened this week, so we figured that our passes were a good excuse to avoid touring in the arctic temperatures. However, I forgot that anyone can look good skiing powder on a reverse-camber fat ski, I on the other hand, look and feel like an inbred donkey when I try to ski ice on edgeless park skis. Looking forward to looking good in powder again, we headed towards Hatcher Pass this morning.

Last weekend we skied the lower pitches of Eldorado in flat light that rivaled any of the alpine stupor I've experienced growing up at Loveland Ski Area; I was looking forward to going back with clear skies. But, as we drove north towards Palmer morning the thermometer climbed from -10 to zero, seemingly benign, but I was worried. This pointed towards the valley inversion breaking down, which meant that the winds aloft were pushing towards the surface. Somehow, we pulled into a nearly still parking lot and spent the day watching the channeled gap winds rushing down the Matanuska Valley towards the low pressure over the ocean.

Snow plumes on the lower hills of the Chugach, not much left to blow away up high:

Heading up the skintrack, we slowly left the crowds behind, but had plenty to watch across the way:


We started with a mellow rib back towards the skin track. Alex:


Laying it over lower down:


And then we headed back up for another set of tasty ribs higher up.


Looking north, people and lines everywhere. A lifetime of lines!


Rachel on the bowling ball as the pitch rolls away steeper and steeper below her:


Working her way towards us as she looks for good snow and avoids Alex's sluff:


With another great lap in the books we headed back up for one last lap in the sunshine.


Rachel topping out, behind her the epic face of Ray Wallace Bowl guarded by the long winter shadows:


The funny thing about the low winter light is that the sun appears to rise in the sky as it traverses the horizon and rises above descending ridges. Afternoon sunrise:


Alex getting his vitamin D.


Rachel:


Not a bad way to finish the day!