Marc's Public Blog - Skiing / Snowboarding / Snow


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This is a collection of my blog entries about snowboarding.
You can find all the pictures I've taken here, and read below for the more recent trips that I have recorded in blog entries:

Table of Content for snow:

More pages: April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 April 2015 March 2015 December 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 December 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 March 2011 February 2011 December 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 December 2009 March 2009 February 2009 December 2008 April 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 December 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 December 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 November 2004 April 2004 March 2004 February 2004




2017/04/21 Spring Skiing at Heavenly
π 2017-04-21 00:00 in Snow
Neither Arturo nor Johannes had gone to Heavenly this year, and it was about to close most of its lifts after this week, so Arturo offered a day trip there, which we both graciously accepted. We left around 05:30 and arrived by the nevada border by 09:30, parked, and took the gondola up because the connecting california lifts were already closed.


how's that cindaquil?
how's that cindaquil?


we actually stopped at mid station for a look, which I had never done :)
we actually stopped at mid station for a look, which I had never done :)



We then had to follow the sun and started down at stagecoach and went up to dipper as things got warmer, and eventually moved to sky express. The snow was spring snow, we had to avoid the ice in some places and sticky slush in others, but overall the snow was good on groomers and ok elsewhere. And for snow, there is lots of it.






lots of things were closed of course
lots of things were closed of course


Thanks to Arturo for getting us there, that was fun.

See more images for Spring Skiing at Heavenly
2017/04/09 Flight to Mammoth and Attempted 2ft Powder Day
π 2017-04-09 00:00 in Flying, Snow
It had been several years since I last went to Mammoth, and I was looking forward to finally going there with fresh powder. I carefully watched the forecast several days early including saturday when the storm was hitting the resort, to make sure that the top of the mountain would stay closed and I'd get fresh tracks the next day if I went. I got up early (actually I woke up before my alarm) and by 04:45 started getting ready. Got to Palo Alto Airport at 05:15 and then started loading up the plane, parked the car, and got in the air by 06:00 for a beautiful easy flight:







By 07:15, I landed at KMMH, taxied to parking, found my rental car waiting for me on the tarmac (courtesy of Hertz), but sadly it was a 2 wheel drive with crappy tires (the front tires were not even M+S, they turned out to be crappy summer tires). Driving up to the resort, blowing past several chain control signs, took virtually all the driving skills I had. While I was barely able to drive up in the snow, I knew if I ever had to stop, it would be super unlikely that the car would get traction to restart at all (especially uphill), so I drove slowly with some distance with the car in front of me so I never had to stop when the traffic slowed down. Maybe in hindsight I should have gone to Eagle Lodge at much lower altitude, but powder-wise this was not a good idea, it was the wrong side of the resort and the top connecting lifts would be closed for a while. Yes, I should have had chains, but Hertz refuses to give or rent you chains because they're worried you may put them on wrong :(

Despite the driving challenges, I arrived at the main base around 08:15, had to find a far away parking spot and walk to the ticket counter to get my pass. I eventually got to the slopes around 08:40, which wasn't too bad.

snow all the way up to the base
snow all the way up to the base

the top of the mountain stayed closed until about 11:00
the top of the mountain stayed closed until about 11:00

strangely, there was no line at the gondola
strangely, there was no line at the gondola

that's because everyone got out at mid station waiting for the top to open (that took 2H)
that's because everyone got out at mid station waiting for the top to open (that took 2H)

every other lift had 15mn+ lines
every other lift had 15mn+ lines

and lines
and lines

and more lines
and more lines

while the gondola to the top wasn't open yet, but that's a lot of tracks down for a few ski patrol runs. Mmmh...
while the gondola to the top wasn't open yet, but that's a lot of tracks down for a few ski patrol runs. Mmmh...

sadly, the 2ft of powder were pretty packed by the wind
sadly, the 2ft of powder were pretty packed by the wind

line at the mid station gondola. It was better go to all the way back down and get it there
line at the mid station gondola. It was better go to all the way back down and get it there

Gondola towards top of cloud nine had a bit of powder (only enough for one run though)
Gondola towards top of cloud nine had a bit of powder (only enough for one run though)

snow was good up high, but by 9000ft the powder quality went way down :-/
snow was good up high, but by 9000ft the powder quality went way down :-/

hike up the ridge to santiago bowl/hemlock bowl and chair 14
hike up the ridge to santiago bowl/hemlock bowl and chair 14

The next morning, driving up was easier, the road was mostly clear. I also only drove up to Mill's Café, which put me at the lifts I wanted and is actually easier to get back to, than the main lodge. Some people actually camped there:


The next morning was already spring skiing. Not bad, mostly no ice or slush, which is good, but virtually no powder left anywhere:



During those 2 days, I got some nice pictures of the surroundings:


airport I went to
airport I went to

looks nice to ride :)
looks nice to ride :)


this reminds me of heavenly]



On the way back, saw one of the Alaska planes bringing in a load of passengers:



good way to see the mountain
good way to see the mountain

Mill's Café where I parked, and main lodge at the end of the road
Mill's Café where I parked, and main lodge at the end of the road

Facelift Express
Facelift Express


I hiked up the hill to ski down that face a couple of times
I hiked up the hill to ski down that face a couple of times

2017/03/21 Slightly Warm Storm at Kirkwood
π 2017-03-21 00:00 in Snow
I arrived a bit late on tuesday thanks to the Tesla supercharger being down. I had to drive around Folsom, and by then I was worried that Carson Spur would close, so I went around via South Lake Tahoe.
When I finally got to kirkwood, all the charging ports had ICE cars parked in front of them. Doh!


I Emailed vail about it, and thankfully they fixed that a day later:


The first day, I only got on the slopes just before 14:00, got a single ride on Cornice, and then it closed for lightening :( The snow was super wet and not run to ride though. Technically it was snowing, but it felt more like rain...



The next day, we had snow all day until 18:00, which fixed the crappy snow underneath. It was cold and very wet, but the snow was good. Back side opened by 13:30 adn was worth riding too. The wave didn't open though, which was great for the next day:

damn, that's a lot of snow in that drain under cornice
damn, that's a lot of snow in that drain under cornice


big rock skier's left of the wall, filled with snow
big rock skier's left of the wall, filled with snow

snow and snow and snow
snow and snow and snow

backside, here we come
backside, here we come

The 3rd day was finally the blue bird:




enough snow on the wall, you can get down anywhere
enough snow on the wall, you can get down anywhere




so many tracks, too many people :)
so many tracks, too many people :)

I went down eagle bowl, again, no one :)
I went down eagle bowl, again, no one :)



the wave opened early in the morning
the wave opened early in the morning

choose your way down :)
choose your way down :)


again, too many tracks :)
again, too many tracks :)

fawn ridge was beautiful
fawn ridge was beautiful

I lapped it 5 times and got fresh tracks each time
I lapped it 5 times and got fresh tracks each time

wee...
wee...

chute off the wall, snow had been blown off
chute off the wall, snow had been blown off

By 14:00, the snow was however starting to turn. Somewhat slushy in places, and funny thing was other places had powder that was icing up (palisades), so I counted my blessings for all that snow with no crowds and went home:


Carson Spur
Carson Spur

See more images for Slightly Warm Storm at Kirkwood
2017/03/06 Mountain Collective Tour: Telluride
π 2017-03-06 00:00 in Snow

After Silverton, it was time to go to Telluride. Telluride is about 10mn away as the crow flies, but more like 2H by road since you have to drive all the way around a bunch of peaks. While the snow the day or our travel didn't materialize much, or even the night before we went skiing, the day we did go skiing, it was there. That was along frigid temperatures (-20C wind chill). Even then, anything not north facing was pretty crappy under the fresh snow that wasn't deep enough, but by the end of day, we got enough new snow that things were pretty good. By mid afternoon, the sun came out, and it got warmer:



oops, I got stuck in a valley and had to walk out
oops, I got stuck in a valley and had to walk out


the lift run looks nice
the lift run looks nice

it's called the bad idea run because you get stuck without a slope at the bottom, so I went :)
it's called the bad idea run because you get stuck without a slope at the bottom, so I went :)





The next day was sunny and we went for the left over fresh snow:


sadly, lift 15 wasn't that good when it opened, not deep enough
sadly, lift 15 wasn't that good when it opened, not deep enough



a bunch of nice EX runs
a bunch of nice EX runs

great view on the aircraft carrier style Telluride airport, highest commercial airport in the continental US
great view on the aircraft carrier style Telluride airport, highest commercial airport in the continental US


another nice tree run that ends up on a path and a road :)
another nice tree run that ends up on a path and a road :)


nice view of telluride town
nice view of telluride town

2017/03/03 Mountain Collective Tour: Silverton
π 2017-03-03 00:00 in Snow

After Aspen, Arturo drove us to Silverton. My first time was absolutely awesome, 4 days of endless powder. My second time, I went with Arturo, but we got unlucky: temps were way too high and we got more ice than good snow :(.

This time was a bit in the middle, we had originally planned 3 days but were only able to do 2 and the snow was just good enough, when you picked the location carefully, the first day where we went guided skiing.

Subaru blocked the access road for a bit while they were shooting a commercial with a drone
Subaru blocked the access road for a bit while they were shooting a commercial with a drone

we went to the advanced group directly, the briefing was 'brief'
we went to the advanced group directly, the briefing was 'brief'

we didn't waste time climbing for 30mn from the lift for our first run
we didn't waste time climbing for 30mn from the lift for our first run

snow down looked good, but it wasn't that great the sun had already started baking it
snow down looked good, but it wasn't that great the sun had already started baking it

silverton guides keep things tidy to use the snow as long as possible
silverton guides keep things tidy to use the snow as long as possible

each run got us back down to a road where a bus or van would come pick us up
each run got us back down to a road where a bus or van would come pick us up

while we were hiking up, some lucky folks got heli rides
while we were hiking up, some lucky folks got heli rides

The 2nd day, we were signed up for an all day heli tour. We ended up leaving late due to the avalanche danger being high, as well as very strong winds in the morning, making heli flying a bit more interesting. The first ride was damaged powder, but the last 5 runs we went to the next mountain across where the snow was still pristine and the north facing or tree protected snow was still in good shape:

your ride has arrived
your ride has arrived






our guide had a nice board, the church of snowboarding :)
our guide had a nice board, the church of snowboarding :)

the snow that day were really wanting to slide
the snow that day were really wanting to slide






The last 5 runs were pretty good considering, not awesome alpine from top to bottom due to the conditions, but still good and fun.

On the way back, I got a few shots of Silverton


2017/02/28 Mountain Collective Tour: Aspen-Snowmass
π 2017-02-28 00:00 in Snow
After Canada, I joined Arturo on his US snow tour. He started in Salt Lake City, where I unfortuantely missed a very good day in Snowbird, and anotehr one in Canyons. He then met me at Snowmass where I managed to fly in just before a good storm hit, and planes started getting diverted or cancelled.


The first day, we went to Snowmass from our ski-in, ski-out hotel, and enjoyed a good 9" of fresh powder, and then more snow as the day went by. In the morning, we could feel the bottom crust a bit, but by the end of day, not at all:

hello, my name is Arturo, and my snowboard is that long
hello, my name is Arturo, and my snowboard is that long

we took the tow rope to the top as soon as we could and had a good ride up the cirque
we took the tow rope to the top as soon as we could and had a good ride up the cirque

more snow falling, sweet
more snow falling, sweet

did I saw more snow?
did I saw more snow?

I'm stuck, come help me, I'm right here!
I'm stuck, come help me, I'm right here!

OMG, too much powder, this is dangerous, I might fall!
OMG, too much powder, this is dangerous, I might fall!

look at my fancy new mittens, aren't they pretty?
look at my fancy new mittens, aren't they pretty?


Here's a good end of day run at Snowmass during the snow storm:


Overnight, we had another foot or so that fell, which was great news for our trip to Aspen Highlands:




in line for the snowcat
in line for the snowcat


got a nice little lift up the ridge
got a nice little lift up the ridge

and then you walk more to get to the bowl
and then you walk more to get to the bowl

nice bowl, though
nice bowl, though



I've been pushing Arturo to learn poles, he was a quick learner :)
I've been pushing Arturo to learn poles, he was a quick learner :)


Here is a good run down the highlands bowl, good powder:

The 3rd day, we went back to Snowmass, blue bird with a bit of powder left in some places:




took the tow rope back to the top and we went to the very other extreme
took the tow rope back to the top and we went to the very other extreme







then a hike up to the side country south of the resort. Great at the top, pretty bad at the bottom
then a hike up to the side country south of the resort. Great at the top, pretty bad at the bottom

good views
good views


Aspen airport
Aspen airport

pretty good powder down, until we got to the rope boundary
pretty good powder down, until we got to the rope boundary

I took an early entrance in dikes from high alpine
I took an early entrance in dikes from high alpine

good snow, except for the rock hidden underneath and the one that shattered my phone when I fell on it
good snow, except for the rock hidden underneath and the one that shattered my phone when I fell on it


2017/02/28 Colorado Mountain Collective Tour: Aspen, Silverton, and Telluride
π 2017-02-28 00:00 in Snow

Like last year, I went to join Arturo on his Mountain Collective tour. I flew to Aspen to join him there, and we had 3 good days at Aspen Highlands Snowmass 101*|thankfully my plane arrived in Aspen just hours before the storm got in and the airport got shut down 102*|quite frankly, visibility was marginally, we didn't get it by much 106*|snowmass village

Our second day after Highlands, we went back to Aspen to see art museums and galleries:









nice police car
nice police car



go to Aspen, get high :)
go to Aspen, get high :)







Arturo and I went back to the nice but overpriced french restaurant
Arturo and I went back to the nice but overpriced french restaurant

After Aspen, we drove to Silverton, nice drive and scenery:






giving that Arturo was there, we had a required stop at Orvis Hot Springs :)
giving that Arturo was there, we had a required stop at Orvis Hot Springs :)

and after driving the million dollar highway at night, we arrived in Silverton
and after driving the million dollar highway at night, we arrived in Silverton

Silverton is really just alive during the winter thanks to the ski resort (it gets more traffic during the summer thanks to the tourist steam trains that go to it):








the train tracks are under the snow somewhere :)
the train tracks are under the snow somewhere :)

this train isn't going anywhere until spring.
this train isn't going anywhere until spring.

Once done with Silverton, we drove to the nearby Telluride, which is just on the other side of the mountain range, but an 1h45 drive around to get to it via road. Gave us the chance to see the million dollar highway during daytime:


sadly Arturo did not let me drive :)
sadly Arturo did not let me drive :)







Ouray
Ouray

Ouray has ice climbing but it was not open for business when we came
Ouray has ice climbing but it was not open for business when we came

Eventually we got to Telluride, where we were lucky to get snow on one of our days

we went to visit its airport with the highest commercial runway in the continental US
we went to visit its airport with the highest commercial runway in the continental US








And after some good snow in Telluride, it was time for flying home, got a few nice shots (click on them for location):






2017/02/20 Mountain Collective Tour: Banff's Sunshine Valley, Canada
π 2017-02-20 00:00 in Snow
After Banff's Lake Louise Resort, we finished our tour with Sunshine Valley, another resort 45mn away but affiliated with Lake Louise.


Sunshine Valley is a bit more towards Calgary and definitely an interesting set of 3 mountains which start with a long ass gondola ride (20mn or so) to get to the real snow village where most of the lifts are. The day we went was family day, so driving in took a while with a long line to the parking lot, but at least we got a spot in said parking lot, not everyone did. Thankfully the lines at the lift were not that long (<5mn in singles line), despite the crowds.


many many cars
many many cars

after a long gondola ride, finally arrived to the real base
after a long gondola ride, finally arrived to the real base

got 4 inches of powder in the last 24H, not bad
got 4 inches of powder in the last 24H, not bad

backcountry gate that required an avalanche beacon
backcountry gate that required an avalanche beacon






It was all nice and good until we went side country, I hiked up a short minute to get over a rocky ridge to a snow path where others had been. And honestly it's hard to know after the fact since I couldn't see all the way down when I went, but I believe the edge I was on collapsed when I was trying to get down the cornice, which caused me to fall and land on my back, going down head first without being able to stop.
I remember catching air twice, feeling some rocks, and eventually I landed after the 2nd jump on my back where I took off over some rocks and landed in soft enough snow. My backpack made a hole in the snow and stopped me there. Thankfully outside of being a bit frazzled, I was 100% fine. The only damage was my GPS watch that got shattered against a rock. From what I can tell this is the track I did while sliding head first on my back:


Since in the end, I was perfectly fine, I finished the day with Arturo and counted my blessings...
Sunshine Village is definitely an interesting resort, worth going back to (and they have wifi at the top of lifts as well as pokestops, woot!)

I did better the rest of the day :)


2017/02/19 Mountain Collective Tour: Banff's Lake Louise Resort, Canada
π 2017-02-19 00:00 in Snow
After Revelstoke, we went to Lake Louise in Banff. Nice resort. Just big enough, a nice backside and runs facing away from the sun, which turned out to be good given the high temperatures for february.



nice lodge
nice lodge


oh, they did have that wretched poma lift that flattens your private parts and makes you wait in pain until you get can off at the top
oh, they did have that wretched poma lift that flattens your private parts and makes you wait in pain until you get can off at the top



they also had a bra tree
they also had a bra tree

sadly, a few lines at the bottom of the back valley
sadly, a few lines at the bottom of the back valley

very cool snow covered boulder field on the edge of the resort
very cool snow covered boulder field on the edge of the resort


front side had a good sledding operation
front side had a good sledding operation



2017/02/17 Mountain Collective Tour: Revelstoke in British Columbia, Canada
π 2017-02-17 00:00 in Snow
While the snow we got driving up there from the airport was promising. The road was closed for almost 30mn by the time we were there for avalanche control, which is supposed to be good (new snow), but sadly because people voted for Trump, we got some global warming, and the snow levels were way too high.


Revelstoke is far from everything, and has the grand total of 2, yes, count them right, I said 2 lifts. And because they live in luxury, they are at least quad high speed detachable. You then add a gondola to get up from the river they also called a base and parking lot, to the bottom of the lift, and that's it (ok, technically the gondola is 2 gondolas since they connect instead of being a single gondola that goes all the way up, and there is a magic carpet somewhere). Now, terrain wise there is actually a lot of terrain if you don't have global warming, but a lot less when you're stuck on the top 3rd of the moountain, or only the north facing top 3rd of the mountain,. At that point, if there are even a few people, the sole 2 lifts get long lines, and they did...

The first morning, we were at the resort at opening time, and 2/3rds for the mountain were iced up in a bad way, while the top was ok-ish but anything south facing was still questionable:

low fog in the morning, it probably impacted helicopter operations
low fog in the morning, it probably impacted helicopter operations




it's called the lemmings line, a hike to the north bowl
it's called the lemmings line, a hike to the north bowl

north bowl was actually good for 2 runs, but the bottom was very painful :(
north bowl was actually good for 2 runs, but the bottom was very painful :(


the sun came out in the afternoon and melted all the frozen snow
the sun came out in the afternoon and melted all the frozen snow

downtown Revelstoke
downtown Revelstoke


so we did the other hike straight up
so we did the other hike straight up


a bit of tree on that ice?
a bit of tree on that ice?




For our last run of the day, I actually chanced the south facing run, which had melted just enough to be reasonable. No one had gone there, fresh snow, but not very deep:





The next morning, we went for a bit of morning skiing, not expecting much, and we didn't get much. Solid ice for the bottom 2/3rd, with no sun coming out. We hiked to the north side, got an ok enough run, then a few groomers, and called it an early day given that the conditions were only going to worsen:




Here are more pictures of the city of Revelstoke here


More pages: April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 April 2015 March 2015 December 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 December 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 March 2011 February 2011 December 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 December 2009 March 2009 February 2009 December 2008 April 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 December 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 December 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 November 2004 April 2004 March 2004 February 2004