Snow conditions are deteriorating around here for both skiing and travel. Skiing on trails puts you in an icy trench with hard walls making a dangerous luge. Forest skiing involves clear water ice balls, hardened tree bomb debris, and the variable surfaces between shady and sunny spots. Open areas have varying crusts that are sometimes a joy, sometimes breakable and trapping, sometimes supporting like an inclined ice rink. Jtack and I toured up a ridge from my house at 2700' to Beehive Mountain at 4700' with the plan that skiing down the snowmobile packed road would be the best skiing we might find today. The top of the clouds trapping the valley are frequently just below my house, but today they were fluctuating up and down about 200' below and above, so the morning fluctuated from sunny and warm, to foggy and cold. Below the clouds the trees were coated with crystals:
The temp at my house was 28 degrees. Once above the clouds, it was a different story with the high temp of 47 degrees on top of Beehive Mountain! The views were great on the way up and from the top.
Teeshirt weather above the clouds:
Mission Ridge in beyond:
My dog, Clara:
View of the Enchantments from the old Beehive Lookout site.
We expected to ski the road thinking that off-piste would be unskiable, but to our amazement, the south slope off of Beehive Mountain was corn!
This lasted for about 6 glorious turns and then turned to mush down to the reservoir
En route to Beehive Reservoir, Jamie's dog, Jack, found a wasp nest. Appropriate!
Once past the reservoir, we were home free on the machine packed road which skied fast and easy. The area was logged this year and there are open trees to ski between switchbacks, which we did, and we found pretty easy skiing!
Fun views from the road:
Looking down on the Mission Ridge Road:
View of Mission Ridge's "off site parking" at the Boy Scout Camp:
The switchback cutting was all good right up until it wasn't. We chose to dive out of the logged area into the dog's hair forest just at the elevation where the crust became breakable and trapping. The last 200' of skiing was a sweaty swearing struggle through alder and over logs, across streams and I even got stuck in an intermittent stream trench with walls about as tall as my shoulder:
Nasty stuck spot:
This tour was better than expected because we got in some actual skiing, and I think a good option now while conditions are nasty, since the road is an escape route in case the skiing is terrible. Here is the route we took. I think parking at the intersection of the Beehive road and the Mission Ridge road and touring up from there would be a great way to do this ski.
Dang, what a variability in weather and conditions. You get the crown for "going after it", Mike and Jtack, as usual : ) Looks like you squeezed every ounce of juice out of this trip.
Under most circumstances 2 grand would be a steep price to pay for six good turns, but this was a good day out. Great views, interesting wildlife signs, future turn prospecting, archeological interest ( Beehive was a FS lookout before it was destroyed) and of course a little vine maple suffering. Perfect!
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