Department of Firsts
Sky Sju has filed what’s perhaps his best descent and trip report ever, Mt Formidable, Northwest Face ski descent (VI D14 R3 ) in one push! I can’t get over this guy’s exuberance and skill, and he’s a darned good writer to boot. Check this sentence out, a classic of alpine introspection: “My sphincter was clenched so tight it could have cracked a carbon nanotube, thinking about cutting a slab out of the bowl and riding it to Cleve Creek…” as they say, laughing out loud…
The Wasatch Powder Keg is on tap for this coming Saturday in Utah. This fine race connects Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons near Salt Lake City. I’ve been told it’s a fun affair for both hardcores and recreational racers alike.
Also, the North American rando racing championships are being held Saturday, March 25 in Jackson, Wyoming. That same day they’re having a big party to celebrate the last days of the historic ski resort aerial tramway. Guess what? Your friendly blogger will be there!!! I’ll be covering the race as a journalist, and plan to join the throngs at the Blues Traveler concert after. The question is, does everyone in Jackson wear Cloudveil, and does Blues Traveler use hardshell or softshell jackets when playing outdoor concerts in Wyoming? Read this blog to find out the amazing truth. Might even do some backcountry skiing while I’m there.
Avalanche Education Opinion
If you’re living in Colorado or visit in the winter, please visit the Colorado Avy Info website and do their opinion survey. They need some direction.
We (WildSnow world headquarters) are now located in one of the hippest places on the planet, at least according to Mens Journal. Please move here and start a business. Some of our local tax-and-spend politicos are talking about raising property taxes, this after they’ve shut out commercial development that would have pumped sales tax money into the town coffers. Yep, all us property owners have tons of extra money we’d love our local government to handle. After all, they know best how to spend our cash, right?
Southern Colorado Snow
Fourteener skiers Sean Crossen and Chris Davenport got a nice gift this past week. A big storm nearly doubled the snowpack in the drought stricken Sangre De Cristo mountains of southern CO, and beefed things up nearly everywhere else. It’s unknown if the Sangres are now skiable, but this makes some descents down there much more likely for our intrepid adventurers.
Ah yes, it’s a great day when my spring SnoWest magazine arrives. Now I can check out those shiny new tickets to paradise, and see what the experts are saying about the machines we love to hate, and love. I saw some good news in the mag.
First, powerful powder-ready sleds like the ones we’d use for backcountry skiing access are staying reasonably light, with a couple at just over 500 lbs (fueled). That’s amazing considering the power these things have, the length of their tracks and their sophisticated suspension. My junky Yamaha Enticer of years ago weighed almost 400 pounds and had a 10th the performance, if that.
Second, the mag has an interesting article about how Yamaha now has only 4-stroke sleds in their lineup. That’s amazing news, considering only a few years ago most pundits were saying 4-stroke engines would never keep sledheads happy. It’s also good news for everyone, as 4-stroke motors are easier to quiet, and pollute less. Whether the snowmachine industry takes advantage of those qualities remains to be seen, but we can always hope (meanwhile, remember your earplugs).
If you’re a ski history fanatic, don’t overlook the Colorado Skiing History Gala being held April 8 in Vail. For information call 970-476-1876. Proceeds benefit the International Skiing History Association and Colorado Ski Museum.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.