In Search of Snow
I don’t need much of an excuse to break the many month draught from making turns, and when a friend is in need of a partner to keep his streak of consecutive months skiing alive, it feels like an obligation to ski. Rummaging through piles of gear in the shop to rediscover my gear felt foolish when the snow could be the distinct color of dirt. To increase the adventure we decided to pull a mountain bike approach instead of driving for an hour on a bumpy mountain road.
From Ashcroft we ascended several thousand feet over just a few miles on a dirt road covered in loose rock that often moved more each pedal stroke than my bike. Once again I was thankful for and my Hagan X Race skis being so short and light and my Dynafit RC1s folding down to easily fit in my pack. Even fully loaded I felt no more awkward than I typically do with two wheel mechanized transport.
Through much pushing of our bikes and gasping for air we reached the 13,000 foot mark where the very tips of the mountains truly did glisten with snow and saw the glorious white snowfield of Montezuma Basin nestled between the 14ers Castle and Conundrum. We donned our ski boots on the last rocks where the scree meets the snow and started the boot pack to the top of the run.
As wrong as it looks something feels so right about tromping up through boot deep snow with shorts on. Reaching the end of the snowfield and the apex of the journey it was time to ski. The snow was smooth and creamy, proving that the cold wet cycle in the valleys had rewarded the mountaintops. The pockmarks had been filled in and covered with a consistent snow layer 3-4 inches deep and the turns were fun for any month of skiing.
One 700 foot run was all we took back down to our bikes. Looking back at our cinnamon swirls one last time we began our bumpy descent back to summer, that will in a few months will seem as distant of a memory as snow in August.
- Doug Stenclik