Another day of deep, flawless snow on steep (snow shouldn’t stick to this, but it is) terrain, and gin clear sunny skies; perfect conditions, but beyond that I’m struggling with how to summarize it.  The skiing has been at such a high level over the last 12 days that I feel like I’ve just finished three imperial stouts, an unblended lambic and a rauchbier beer in quick succession: I’m suffering pallet fatigue, my senses are dulled.

Charlie on Run 2

Charlie on Run Two

Charlie and I decided to brave the cold (-10) and inspect the snow Super Bowl was holding. As we were getting on our way Robertson called with the news he was taking his fellow PJ’s to the pass on a training mission, we immediately promised to meet him on the hill.  Parking at the Corn Biscuit lot their car, a black suburban with white Air Force plates,  was unmistakeable, and after 15 minutes of skinning we caught them as Robertson was in the middle of teaching rudimentary snow shelters.  Next up was the beacon search, and I volunteered my beacon, hiding it in an alder.  So now that I’ve sacrificed my personal time in the backcountry to assist the training of our armed forces, I was given a license to shoot anyone questioning my patriotism.  Watch out.

our armed services, learning to enjoy cold snow

Our Armed Services, hard at work learning to enjoy cold snow.

Once my beacon had been found Charlie and I took off up Davis Creek.  Charlie was leading the whole way, which is nice because I’m notorious for setting stupid tracks.  I’m fine at finding a safe route, but put me in the lead and you will get kick turns straight into dense alders or needlessly lost vertical.  But to get back on track, the other day I was reading Andrew McLean’s ode to skin tracks where he concludes,

Skin tracks are a reflection of the people who put them up, and like reading a good book, a tight skin track makes you want to meet its author. “Hmmm, three people swapping leads with no breaks, full heel pegs, tight switchbacks around the rocks, nice cornice stomping and they avoided that fat pillow – must be Derek and Co. Very nice.”

My first thoughts were that I must have an awful reflection, and that he is obviously not going to be reading this. I’m normally embarrassed to think about anyone following the tracks I put down, the idea of someone studying them from across a valley is horrifying. However that may be coming to an end as today Charlie and I came across the worst skin tracks I’ve ever seen, and I have decided that I have no need to ever be embarrassed again.  They were awful, someone had strangely decided to zig zag up the awful turns left from a person who’d chi-town swiveled down a flat apron.  They were bad enough to put doubt in my mind that they could have been made as a joke.

After the crazy zig zag we hit Davis Pass, and Super Bowl looked untouched (except for 3 turns so far left as to not make it in the photo above), so we continued on as planed.  The cornice at the top is huge this year, and it really limited our entrance options, but Charlie found a nice roll over in a chute that held creamy bottomless powder.  The quality of that first run prompted us to change our plans, we headed back up for a second run, taking a line I’ve skied again and again with Seany B.  Again, we found perfect, this time with a little sluff added in for extra fun.  It’s been shockingly good skiing lately, even though there isn’t that much snow yet, hopefully it stays this good until August.  I’ve got some POV footage from the day, but it’s not really up to the standard of the skiing.  I had the whole thing on a little crooked, so you’ll see i’ve had to rotate it.  Oh, and someone quoting Camus posted a video of  our good friend Hornbeck, and since we support all west Michigan skiers I’ll pass that along as well. More to come

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