Reed Finlay gets set to lay down a fat smear turn in the
big snows on Friday morning. The crown of the natural avalanche can
be seen in the upper right corner.
I had plans last Friday to try and ski a pretty cool line I’ve been looking at for long time now, but the reported 18″ of new snow in the mountains easily had me and my partners thinking of Plan B. Pure powder skiing was in order, so we headed to Wimpys for an afternoon of breaking trail and skiing. I wasn’t sure if I’d be up Wimpys again this year, but I was psyched to get the big skis out again and ski some softer snow.
Bryan gets the ripple effect going in the lower slopes of Wimpys.
We passed a guided party on the way and started breaking trail through at least a foot of powder at the Maverick turnoff. It was an effort, but we soon found ourselves beneath the steeper slopes of Wimpys, where you feel like your actually making progress with each step…instead of the long, drawn out slog of the valley floor. It looked like the guided group was following us. Man, we sure made that guide’s life a lot easier today. Anyway, we each had a pull in front plowing our skis through some of the deepest snow I’ve ever seen in the park. At points, it was an easy 3′ of the lightest powder you have ever seen and we saw evidence of at least one natural release that ran all the way to the bottom of the gully below Albright from about 9000′.
Another ghost sighting on Wimpys.
After reaching the top, it was obvious that things could be a bit tricky on the descent in regards to balancing the avalanche hazard with the ability to actually ski through such deep snow. We decided to head for the gut, with the plan to stay on the far skier left side and out off the actual gully. As I pulled into a safe zone after skiing the upper section, a small pocket ripped out and made me even more aware of the avalanche danger.
Reed stands on top of the crown face of an avalanche on Wimpys.
We leap frogged down the slope and stopped above a steeper section where it looked like a good starting zone for an avalanche. Keeping my speed up, I lead through and sure enough triggered a small slide that ran for about 150′ before stopping on some lower angled terrain. Bryan made it through next realatively unscathed. 😉 But Reed got another slide to release on the skiers left that looked to have gained momentum down a north facing couloir and could have done some damage if one of us had been caught in it.
At times, it was hard to make turns in the snow and it was all you could do to just keep your tips up. I thought to myself…it’s really about time I get a pair of Megawatts. It was hard not to reap the rewards of our efforts of breaking trail and we pulled in next to the skin track for another 2500′ lap.
The sun started to pop out a little on the way up which felt good on my face, but I was a little afraid the guided group would come skiing around a corner and trigger something above us. I turned up the music to distract my thoughts and was at the top after not too long. The lower slopes actually skied a little better that day and it’s great to see the snowfall total this season break 500″ over the weekend. I can’t wait to see the snowbanks in the park once they finish plowing the road. Better get your ski-bike ready!
Those last photos are sick! It looks oh so good. Conditions in the Absarokas were touchy too with good sliding surfaces. Just glad we are still getting storms. Spring is going to be amazing this year!
Got to love that mid-March fluff! Nice pics. Repeat after me -There’s no place like home.
Looks like more of the same this week! 😀
what camera do you use?