Friday, September 21, 2018

Patience for Powder

There's an excitement in the air as the new snow falls on the mountain and things begin to feel like winter.  Skiers and boarders have been seen hiking their new planks up 2000 feet searching for small snow patches to link a couple of turns.  And though there is some fresh snow around the mountain, it's barely filled in the old icy sun-cupped base layer.  Please use caution if choosing to ski in these difficult and often dangerous conditions.  We've already had a couple of skiing accidents on the mountain and the culprit has not been lack of skill, but poor conditions. 

It's best to wait out poor conditions and likely injury to shred real pow in the heart of winter.  Going for a trail run, foraging for huckleberries, and maybe even a late-season swim in an alpine lake with a thin wet suit are all more seasonally appropriate activities.

As summer turns to winter our seasonal staff starts to migrate away from the mountain.  High camps will only be staffed very occasionally, search and rescue response to on-mountain incidents will be delayed, and the park's exclusive-use helicopter has also departed the area.  This time of year requires an extra amount of caution and experience to recreate up at higher altitudes.  Remember that there's no official that will be helping you judge when the conditions are too poor to be out and about on the mountain.  You and your party members must be responsible for your own safety.  Make safe decisions so that you can enjoy many winters to come!