Words and Photos by: Rob Hopkins
Today was my first day back on the splitboard after a broken calcaneus benched me for the majority of this season. The recovery process has seemed really slow and has meant that I’ve spent a lot more time in the gym than outside over the past couple months, so it felt really great to get out and stretch my legs finally!
After a late start due to work commitments and a very warm forecast, my expectations were low so I planned to head up to Sherbrooke Lake to see if anything up there was still rideable. Most of the south aspects were looking pretty haggard, and even the northern aspects were looking much rockier than they normally do this time of year, however I was frothing to stand on top of something, anything, so I headed for the little sub peak just north of the summit of Mount Ogden, which often has ski tracks on it. My plan was to turn around as soon as my heel started aching or I started seeing any signs of instability, but surprisingly both my heel and the snowpack held up the whole way.
The snowpack seemed so stable thanks to a crusty and unreactive top layer. Good for skinning, bad for riding. I took a short break at the top to take in the amazing views you get of the surprisingly long Ogden ‘massif’ and the epic south face of Mount Niles.
After a few minutes of gawking and taking pictures I dropped into the rolling terrain that meanders its way down to Sherbrooke Lake, with opportunities to play in channels and lumps providing opportunities to ride almost all aspects on your way down. The north-northeast aspects held some pretty nice and consistent powder, while East, South, and West aspects had that terrible crust which seemed to grab the tail of my board and fight every turn.
Things are feeling a lot more like late April than late March it seems, but if you can stick to north facing terrain it’s still pretty good. That or do some long traverses and enjoy the epic views and warm spring temps!