Kendall Adventure Zone: Pure Quality
Headed up to the Kendall Adventure Zone on the 11th to seek out protected powder and good views. Got an early start through the Commonwealth and set my own skintrack under brilliant, windless blue skies. Hot sun and recent rollerballs on the south-facing traverse under Kendall peak confirmed that today would be a good day to stay in the shade. I poked around a bit at the entrance of the Zone, and decided to keep it mellow by skiing skiers left Silver Twin to start. A quick pit and a few cautious jump turns at the entrance confirmed that the snowpack was stable and sluff would be manageable.
Just below the couloir, fans of debris looked like a challenge but proved soft and forgiving, with the occasional firm bit buried beneath. This was the most fun skiing of the day- fast, light turns on packed powder in the shade.
At the bottom I debated my plan- I'd wanted to try climbing the north Ridge of the Zone and cross over the PCT south of the Katwalk and ski the Commonwealth back, but sun and debris made it less enticing than a second lap- plus, from the bottom I had a great view of the small, unnamed couloir skiers left of the Twins, and so set the first tracks of the day uphill, which included a classic and very slow wallow up the Twin I'd skiied down.
The second lap was even better than the first, and getting fresh tracks down a couloir and shooting out a ski-edit-tight exit is awesome. At this point, a dozen or more people were in the zone and the uptrack was an easy cruise.
Heading down from the Zone also netted some unusually fun skiing as well and I opted to make a trip out of it and head down to the Gold Creek Snowpark, grab a beer at Hyak, and ride the lifts back to West. There were still steep and deep pockets on the slopes above the Kendall Lakes, the snowshoe trail was wide, easy skiing, and cutting the corners at the switchbacks revealed some fun pillows, powders stashes, and great glade skiing. Plus, I got a real kick out of seeing a dude with an authentically old-school vibe casually splitboarding up the road with a lit cigarette in his mouth. Hell yeah dude.
Rollerballs under Kendall Peak South Aspect
Twins are left side, numerous ski tracks at this point. Main Vein right, unnamed funnel-shaped couloir center, which was a great ski. This one named?