No Wind, Mild Temps and Pow - Is this the Rockies?

Words By: Simon Coward

Well, another Monday Funday rolled around and reports for treeline and above seemed very promising on 93 north.  So with that in mind Ali and I made the trek again from Calgary out to the parkway in search of some low elevation suffering and high elevation goodness.  That, is exactly how it played out, the lower elevation climbing was still grim to say the least (we took off from the Num ti Jah parking lot), which, even on the climb up left us pondering how the ski out would be, though that is a problem to be dealt with on tired legs at the end of the day, so we pressed on.

At treeline we were greeted with a fantastic scene, lots of fresh snow, beautiful views back over (the still unfrozen) Bow Lake, and very little wind affect.  With that in mind we carried on up towards Cirque Forepeak across the big low angle powder slopes.

It looked like there had been a little traffic up there over the weekend, though, those of you who are familiar with the zone know it would take a team of 500 to even make a dent on the terrain up there.

We found wind-slabs forming quote quickly at ridge-top elevations, below that the snow was still largely preserved and we were moving with confidence on relatively steep terrain.  A few quick snow profiles mirrored what the avalanche report has been saying.  Strong, well bonded base with the November crust over top and great skiing snow on that.  The November 12 crust layer was supporting our movements with no problem at all.

The travel and trail breaking was really pleasant and, more importantly the riding was fantastic.  We rode a West facing gully feature and also a NW facing line off of an adjacent peak.  Both were supportive, pow filled and we didn't come across any sharky bits.  Average snow depth was around 75cm from a number of probes throughout the day.

As per our last reports, a word of warning, the ski out sucked!  We rode down the skiers right (north drainage) on the left side and it was exciting to say the least.  The upper sections of the creek were actually really fun, once we got a bit lower down it was a full on grovel.  In saying that, the turns up high were more than worth it!

Looks like we have little bits of snow moving through later in the week, hopefully this will continue to top things up and the season will keep getting better.  So far, it has been awesome!

Bulletins look to be being posted regularly now, so make sure to check out avalanche.ca for more info on conditions.