Sunday, January 15, 2012

West of the Divide: Cadotte Creek turns

Beautiful, warm January skiing

Our new area had some elevation in it
It's been dry and the wind has been blowing pretty steadily, but we found some great powder and linked some of the longest turns of the season Saturday just west of the Continental Divide on Cadotte Creek.
Cadotte Creek is accessed about five miles west of the Rogers Pass on Highway 200.
We skied up the road to the Cox Ranch property and then hooked up a west fork of the creek, climbing to a high divide some 1,200 feet above the valley floor that offered tremendous views of the Rogers Pass area and the Flesher-Rogers stretch of the Continental Divide Trail.  To the west, the big hulk of Red Mountain the highest peak in the Scapegoat Wilderness and Bob Marshall complex.
I was a tad skeptical that we'd reach ski-able snow given the low elevation of this area (starting at 5,200 feet) and the lack of recent snowfall.
However, this area held good pockets of powder sheltered from the sun and wind.
There were about 4-5 inches of powder atop more than a foot of hard-pack base.
This is clear-cut country, but quite beautiful.  Mark Hertenstein ribbed me about saying that, but there is no denying how pretty this country is despite the clear-cuts. New and diverse trees have grown back, but there are plenty of open patches to accommodate our skiing. The area is large enough that there will be plenty of reasons to return.
It was pretty mild, with temperatures around 32 degrees.  We took advantage of this to practice our search and discover practice with our avalanche beacons.

Skiing with the kids from Sac
Kids lined up to ride the Showdown 'bunny' slopes on Friday.

I had a ran opportunity to help students from Sacajawea School on their Friday trip to Showdown Ski Area.
About 100 students hit the slopes, most of them for the first time.
Showdown instructors did a great job processing the kids, passing out equipment and giving instructions.

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