Home > Trip Reports > December 20, 2001, Mira Heaven, Mt. Baker

December 20, 2001, Mira Heaven, Mt. Baker

WA Cascades West Slopes North (Mt Baker)
Posted by ema on 9/16/02 10:24pm
Got my new Miras mounted the other day. I picked them up from the shop and leaned them up against the wall in the corner. Told them I didn't really have time to go skiing just yet. They just sat there purring.

Within 12 hours I was driving the Mt. Baker Highway to where the plowing stops. The ski area claimed a couple of feet of fresh with low temperatures and blue skies, and they were telling the truth on all counts There was 18-36 inches of dry powder, lightly wind-affected with hints of slab here and there. Of course, I waited around for a while, hoping that Ron J. would happen along to break trail for me, but eventually figured it was me or no one. There were no tracks leading uphill out of the ski area, and trail-breaking was arduous. Eventually another solo skier caught up to me and took over for a hundred vertical feet. He was then kind enough to pretend that I was in better shape than he (this after 10 weeks running in which I was by far the slowest of whatever people I skied with) and I resumed.

Rutchblocks released at 4 on a north aspect right under a ridge, 5 on a south aspect, and everything felt surprisingly stable underfoot. I dropped into some south facing glades I'd been meaning to check out, eventually finding myself on steep timbered ribs between 45 degree chutes. Way below I could see lots of avalanche debris, and a place where a slope had released sympathetically. It seemed a good idea to turn around and head back up. I then skied a little north bowl, then an east glade, and returned through the empty ski area. All aspects were stable in the 40 degree range, with short rolls a bit steeper than that. I saw a couple of places where natural slabs had released a couple of feet deep in the storm snow, plus some scattered point releases. There were also some larger releases buried but still visible to size 3.5, presumably from last weekend's rain.

The skiing was truly spectacular: perfect snow on a perfect day. There were a few hints of what will become a sun crust facing south, but on other aspects it'll stay sweet at least until it warms up this weekend. With the visibility good, this is about as nice as it gets in the PNW.

The Miras were great: easy to control yet lively, kept me high in the snowpack while breaking trail, and even carved well on the bits of groomers I skied on the way back to the car. The fat tip got bounced around a bit in cut up snow, but this was totally controllable. In general, they seem to respond really well to being skied hard; this was especially noticeable in bounds today but might carry over into weird snow conditions in the backcountry.

My Piste Stinx are now my rock skis.



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2002-09-17 05:24:52