A ragtag band of skiers joined forces on Saturday for that rarest of rare days: sunny and warm (up top at least), windless weather lighting up stable snow and knee-deep high-quality powder. Moving up through the clouds towards the yellow glow of the sun pushing through the gloom was a surreal and soul-feeding experience, but it paled in comparison to the quality of the skiing.
The day started out a little rough, with our group turning around from our first objective on the strength of a vague bad feeling (mine) which may have been unfounded in regards to snow stability (though the massive crown face we saw on a NNW aspect on another peak later may indicate otherwise), but was validated when one of our telemarkers clicked out of his bindings when we hit the parking lot to move to another spot, and snapped the binding effortlessly in half. He didn’t even notice it had broken until one of us found the broken piece lying on the ground. That poor soul had to drop us at a more northerly trailhead and head back to Girdwood to get the binding fixed, and we ended up skiing a fairly well-traveled mountain instead of the silent untracked paradise we were seeking, but we all agreed that a few laps on Tincan Proper were preferable to being stranded way out on Kickstep or Pastoral with an inoperable binding.
The snow was so good on the first lap it resulted in some extremely inspired skinning on our part as we wanted as many laps as possible that day. I got a bit of a laugh on the way up the second time as my partner, who is even smaller than me (long legs make a difference, don’t think they don’t), was pushing the pace in a way she hadn’t done on the way up the first time. There was just no way to go wrong that day and though nothing can beat perfect powder in the alpine, I got a respectable amount of deep powder turns in the trees, too – a few hip deep pockets are stashed out there for the farming. Even the parking ticket on my truck didn’t do much to harsh our glow.
The rime feathers on top of that perfect powder are now getting buried by heavy, wet snow and a massive warm front is moving in. Goodbye to the perfect, light powder for now, but it’s only November and it will be back. I don’t remember getting skiing of that good quality in November before, so I hope this bodes well for the rest of the winter.
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