Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Day 1 Banner Summit/Copper Mountain

Sunday November 30th 2014

Its been a while since my last blog and I will try to make an effort to Blog on Backcountry Snowboarding/ Splitboarding in Idaho as the winter progresses. Plus some big trips coming the next couple of months.

My day began with a 430am alarm as I volunteered to take my mother-in-law to the airport so my wife could sleep in a bit and I could going touring for the day. After a 6am drop off at the Boise Airport I drove on over to my friend Jason's House for Coffee and meeting about our plan for the day.  We spent 30-45 minutes talking about our Route for the day, Avalanche Hazards, and our overall "Decision Making Framework". This was my first time skiing with Jason so I really wanted to make sure we where on the same page when it came to "Zones" we would completely avoid and our overall Plan.

Choosing a Backcountry partner is not always about going with someone who is a great skier but more about their disposition.   I have some of super talented snowboarding friends I would probably never ride in the Backcountry with simply because they are too quick to make hasty decisions.  I would rather turn down a risky line with moderate Avalanche conditions than become an incident report. I digress...

After coffee and several pee stops we reached Banner Summit around 1000am with temps in the single digits. Well Hello winter. I had to reach in my bag and put on ever layer I brought.  Once we started to move temps started to warm rapidly into the 20's.  The climb up the SW ridge is easy to navigate and straight forward especially when 5 or so people have already laid the skin track for you. Thank you Chris and Sara!

We took our time and skinned up to around 8500 feet just 500 feet shy of Copper Summit. The SW low angle bowl was pretty wind blow which helped make our decision easier and check out the N Trees.

We rode lower angle trees 25-35 degree pitches down to the drainage and out to the road.

The coverage for the first 1000 feet was excellent with 6-9 inches of newer snow that was a little creamy as the warmer temps where helping to firm up the once blower pow from the morning. Once we hit the 7500 foot level we could really feel the hard crust layer beneath and plenty of more hazards such as logs, low growing baby trees and stumps to keep you honest.

Overall a great first day in the Idaho Backcountry to kick off the season.

Disclaimer!!! I am not a Professional analysis or an Avalanche Forecaster . Just my general observations that I discovered on this day.

Snowpack take-away: I did dig several hand pits along the way, but really ran out of time to do a full pit profile. Around mid-elvations we found anywhere from 2-3 feet of snow. 6-9inches of newer snow (within 48 hours) was sitting a solid crust/ice layer. 1/2 inch thick or so. Below the crust was weaker snow that seamed to be a bit rounded and less faceted than I had suspected from the early snow from October. I sure hope its on its way to fixing itself. We are currently in a storm cycle this week so it will be interesting to see how all this new snow starts to set up. 

feels good to skin

Copper Mountain

2 Thumbs

Screen Grab

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Opening Day. Soldier Mountain, Idaho

Soldier Mountain is a small "mom & pop" ski hill just an hour from my house. These gems are fading with all the big budget ski resorts. I love supporting and riding at these types of small operations.  I bought a season pass and by my second time coming through the lift line the lift attendant all ready knew my name and was waving me through. I true locals spot. Yes there is only 2 love seat style Slow lifts but the terrain is pretty fun with most people staying and the beating path. Just like any small ski hill, if you can look behond the might find some good stashes. This was my first day riding here and I found plenty. The snow was heavy wet hot pow, but better than no pow.