Early Season Turns
I woke up this morning convinced a big snow storm had struck the night before. My blinds were only cracked, but I could see a bit of the white stuff coming down. I haven't skied yet this year and the itch to strap planks to me feet and go flying down a hill regardless of the snow coverage is becoming increasingly strong. Unfortunately, when I finally opened the blinds the cloud of snow I was seeing was only a regional phenomenon created by the diligent snow makers from Snow King Resort next door. Looking away from Snow King the skies were clear and blue. If I wanted to ski today, I would need to work a little bit harder then walking out my front door and grabbing the Snow King Chairlift.
Even though early season backcountry skiing can be risky with the normally covered rocks and stumps still poking through the snow, that danger can be minimized by choosing an area that holds snow well and has a grassy slope. Since I know just the place, only 15 minutes from Snow King, I loaded up the ski gear, Mutt and some snacks and headed out for a day of Touring that would hopefully produce a few good Alpine turns as well.
I chose an area that overlooks Jackson Hole, WY and took advantage of those crystal clear blue skies to not only enjoy the exercise and camaraderie with the Mutt, but also the astounding views unique to Jackson Hole, WY. I spent two hours skinning at about 8500 feet. This took me around the rim of a horseshoe shaped section of mountain range. Once I was on the other side of the rim the slope below looked well covered with snow with even a bit of the good fresh stuff on top. I locked down the bindings and headed down hill - First Alpine Turns of the Season!
The snow was much better then I expected. There was about 5in of fresh snow on top of a spungy crust. I never broke through the crust and enjoyed very fast powder. The Mutt wasn't quite so lucky because she was breaking through the crust every third or fourth lunge. There was definitely some paw licking and limping around a little later that evening for the Mutt, but she was good as new the next day.