January 17, 2011

Meadow Chuting

Standing above the northern section of the Silver Fork Meadow Chutes on Saturday

We've been in the midst of some interesting weather patterns. Not much new snow since the turn of the new year, and we have out first true weak layer (labeled the "January 8th layer") sitting a few inches down in the snowpack. We're stuck somewhere in-between "If you can see it, SKI IT" and "Proceed with caution." In times like these you try to avoid high-consequence terrain. The Silver Fork Meadow Chutes fit the bill for us this past weekend, as this zone gives you a reasonably safe approach and lots of ski options to mitigate the avalanche risk.

On Saturday we skied with one of Andrea's co-workers, Enzo, who was making his debut on a new AT setup. Unfortunately, since I am still in my rookie season in the Wasatch, I led us slightly astray on our approach from the Spruces to Green's Basin, but we eventually got on track and made it up to the Silver/Days ridgeline. We skied two really nice laps on E/NE aspects in Silver Fork, then back down through the trees to Green's Basin and eventually to the campground, after making a series of survival turns on a 40 degree, heavily treed slope, that put our skiing ability to the test!

It was back to the Meadow Chutes on Sunday, this time making the approach from the Solitude parking lot, which we prefer. Visibility was very poor, and it was raining below 8500 feet. Lower elevations turned to muck! But the skiing from 8500-9500 on NE aspects was still quite good, and we spun 4 fun laps before calling it a day. It was downright WARM out all day, and by 1pm every ski turn was setting off a stream of rollerballs and pinwheels. The snowpack was definitely in greenhouse mode. It will be interesting to see how these next few days play out, and what happens with the "Jan 8th" weak layer.

Saturday Jan 15 - Andrea reaching the Silver/Days Fork ridgeline

Dropping in and skiing the first run of the weekend

The turns were better than we anticipated

Enzo on his new skis

My tracks through the aspens

Track and stats for Saturday... a little over 4000 ft climbed.

Sunday Jan 16 - here's a picture of me (and Andrea's finger!)

Andrea skinning up... hiking in less-than-ideal conditions builds character, right?

We were setting off tons of rollerballs and pinwheels

Andrea in the upper section of the Meadow Chutes, just off the ridge

Stats for Sunday... 4 laps in the Meadow Chutes, ~4500 feet climbed

1 comment:

  1. As usual, totally amazing.
    We haven't had snow here in quite a while. It is very warm so the top layer melts and then freezes overnight. Not fun for skiing. Not at all.