Friday, January 03, 2014

Starting the New Year right

Katie kicks off 2014 with ski on Silvercrest in Little Belts
If I backcountry ski on New Year's Day I've started the year right.
By that measurement 2014 is off to a good start.
Katie and I got out on Silvercrest Ski Area in the Little Belts on Jan. 1 for the long loop.
Since we were on groomed trail I put on my old, skinny E-99s.
I hadn't worn them in over 10 years, nor had I been at Silvercrest in about four years.
I was amazed at how good they felt, and astounded when I remembered my backcountry trips with them when these skis were "state of the art."
We've come a long way.
The temperatures were chilly, but the skies clear and sunny and there was no breeze and the snow was just as good as it gets.
On Jan. 2 I went out  by myself in search of some good backcountry tele skiing and found it on the Deadman headwaters ---- accidentally.
As I started my day, the winds were howling at Kings Hill Pass as I searched for Mark Hertenstein tracks he had laid down Jan. 1.
The wind had covered them and the snow was getting a wind-icing, making them hard.
I headed straight to the top of Kings Hill and on the Deadman trail, veering to the east at the beautiful, flat and open ridgeline.
I had recalled an easy slope there that might be sheltered and steep enough to pull some turns.
Right on both accounts and the sun popped out to boot!
The heavenly telemark slopes above Deadman
I pulled three runs on this slope, stopping at the tree line before exploring behind those trees.
Below me was one of the most open, beautiful tele slope ---- protected from the wind.
I made my way down about 800 feet in stages, getting tremendous turns in forgiving snow.
This was heaven!
Getting back out of this hole was not heaven, a challenging task that took me some 50 minutes, cutting switchback as I went.
It was here that my shoulder, still recovering from Nov. 21 surgery, began to ache.  I guess I have more healing to do.
I skied back to the pass and headed to White Sulphur Springs where I soaked at the Spa, which made the shoulder feel lots better.
I've circled where I spent time telemark skiing the slopes

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