Words By: Simon Coward
Images: Simon Coward & Alison McPherson
After a few weeks of life admin getting in the way of Monday Funday the regular crew managed to get out to explore the wind slab and facets that seem to be the standard right now.
We rode a couple of lines near Lake Louise and were pleasantly surprised by the riding quality given the alpine nature of the zone and the fact it is largely SE facing. Max elevation was just under 2600m.
We found what you would basically expect, low snow volume at treeline and below where any off trail travel was unpleasant at best, once in the alpine it was a mix of hard windslab, facets and softer newly forming windslabs. The winds were absolutely howling at ridge top, had a few good hunker down moments whilst bootpacking with the skis on the pack!
We did a ski cut and got the top 15cms of facets and soft windslab to move, this (somewhat surprisingly) dragged in some of the older harder windslab further down slope which gave the Size 1 slide quite an impressive look. Also, cleared out some of the harder layer so made for some very fun soft debris riding.
Out of the debris pile, the snow was basically facets on a supportive base, some very nice riding for sure. The upper elevation was a bit grabby for the skier in our group, but boarding quality top to bottom was great.
Virtually no rocks encountered (except on our ski out).
We then went into a sheltered east facing zone at a similar elevation and found even there that highpoints were wind scoured, however, the lee slopes were loaded well and with relatively little wind effect. This made for some outstanding turns in 30 degree ish, very sheltered (from sun and wind) terrain.
A fantastic day out no doubt, a bit of skinning, bootpacking, grovelling on frozen scree, couldn't ask for more (maybe some more snow without wind... ha ha)
Make sure to check the avy forecast and happy snow sliding!