Chief Joe, Mideast Chute

We received a nice little refresher of snow, and I’ve been wanting to get in a good chute for a while. Chief Joseph has plenty of those.

The chute is just east of the summit

The chute is just east of the summit

Boot top powder skied really well throughout

Boot top powder skied really well throughout

Fun line and great day in the mountains!

Fun line and great day in the mountains!

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Hurricane Point, East Chute

Hurricane Point

Hurricane Point

Hurricane Point as it’s called on some maps, or peak 8,457′, greets me every morning over coffee. I’ve been up there a couple of times, and the ascent isn’t much fun. I’ve been wanting to ski the big chute cutting down the center for some time. Continue reading

Elkhorn Mountain, South Couloir

This is the Wallowa Mountain’s Elkhorn Mountain(9,233′), not Elkhorn Peak(8,931′) located in the Elkhorn Mountains. Unique name, Elkhorn is.

I’ve attempted this line at least twice (maybe thrice?) and every time conditions haven’t quite aligned. Last time Tysen and I tried the whole chute was filled with debris. I’ve been dreaming about this one a lot. 2,000 vertical feet, sustained pitch, ski right off the summit, it’s got it all.

Elkhorn Mountains south couloir

Elkhorn Mountains south couloir

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It’s ski movie season

Ski films have been coming out of the woodwork the last couple of weeks. I enjoy watching anything having to do with sliding on snow but I always look forward to what brothers Jonah and Noah Howell of Powderwhores bring to the table. This seasons effort, Elevation, looks to be another classic that will get plenty of screen time in this household during those excruciating fall days awaiting snow accumulation.

Maybe one of the reasons I enjoy their films so much, besides the cinematography, deep snow and big airs, is that they share the same views and mindset on the backcountry as I do. They put it into words much better than I could-

 Before resorts, lift tickets and overpriced pizza, there was adventure in skiing. Before the mountains were harnessed with lifts, bound with ropes and scarred with designated runs, they were wild. Actions with consequences were chosen and the individual was held responsible. No liability forms or waivers. The lifts came and made the mountains small, tame and in time, boring.

We were sold that THIS is skiing. And we obeyed.

With this resurgence into the backcountry we look for real adventure beyond the tightly wound, firmly stretched orange and black ropes that “protect” us from knowing freedom.

The backcountry is the imagination unleashed and you get out what you put in. There are real boundaries and limitations though; avalanches, exposure to the elements, conditions and fatigue all challenge one to grow in knowledge, patience and fitness. The joy comes in discovering these limitations, moving through fear and exploring beyond. Putting in the perspiration and inspiration leads to ELEVATION.

The only other film I’m curious about is Sweetgrass Productions Valhalla. I really enjoyed the visually stunning and soul touching film Solitaire, though after watching the trailer for Valhalla I’m not sure if it’s a ski film or an acid trip. Still has my curiosity piqued and looking forward to it.

Still some summer left but it’s time to be thinking SNOW!

Eagle Cap, East Side

eagle cap

Emily and I headed into the Lakes Basin last weekend to ski Eagle Cap and check out the area. Emily spent a lot of time in the area last summer for work and loved it. I had never been out that way so I was excited to see some new country.

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A few photos

POW

Emily enjoying the soft snow

 The snowpack across much of the west is scary right now to say the least. Low angle skiing has been, and will probably continue to be, the norm. The good news is that the snow has been excellent. Here’s a few photos from the last week. Continue reading

Review: ON3P Vicik 2011/2012

Viciks

 Length: 186

Dimensions: 134-104-124

Turn Radius: 26m

Effective Edge: 162

Weight: 2180g (4 lbs, 13 oz per ski)

Mounted: 22 Designs Axl’s -2 cm from the recommended line

After skiing ON3P Caylors the majority of last season, when I looked for a slimmer, hardpack type ski, ON3P got the nod again.

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