Sunday, December 09, 2012

Brutally cold and windy ski

Skiing toward the Kings Hill high point on a blustery Sunday morning
As I write this the wind is howling, kicking up the abundant snow that fell Saturday, making my warm living room feel quite cozy.
I couldn't resist some backcountry skiing today although the air temperature was minus 2 when I got up.  I began to doubt my sanity when we dipped into the Memke Hill gully and the temperature also dipped to minus 18.
There was a major inversion with the clouds hanging low, trapping the cold air beneath a scenic blanket, illuminated by a sunrise above that blanket.
Luckily, it was above zero, but just barely, at Kings Hill Pass where we decided to ski.
Two skiers on AT gear scoot across the Kings Hill ridge line
We worked our way up the road to Deadman, cutting back and up to the north when we hit the open slopes, heading for the summit of Kings Hill Mountain (8,008 feet) and on to a power line corridor the snowmobilers like just above the Weatherwax bowls.
We skied down a portion of the powerlines until we hit the snowmobile debris and headed back to the top where we were met by two young downhill skiers on all-terrain gear who seemed surprised and glad to see us.  They were just behind us on the way up the hill.
Then it was back down through the trees where were found mediocre telemarking in what is normally a pretty good area to ski.
What put a damper on the day was the cold weather, gusty winds and very dry snow that made sliding difficult.  Otherwise, the snow seems to have set up pretty well.  There's about a foot and a half of new, fluffy powder on top of a great, solid base created by rain on top of snow.
We did a few more turns below the Deadman Road and decided it just wasn't worth it and called it a day.
We skied from the Pass to Kings Hill mountain and telmarked down

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