What a difference a week of snowstorms will make! First skinned up to A-Lakes a couple weeks ago, then went back up after last weeks storms with a couple friends. This place is good to go now. Ironically, the snow down low was skiing much better than the snow up high. Previous to the storm, everything in the trees was recycled sugar, and most everything above treeline was leftovers from last season or bullet prrof wind slab. Now, above treeline is a mixed bag that needs to be closely evaluated, and below treeline is mostly good.
Someone who got up before us dug a couple pits (we followed their skin track up in lieu of breaking our own), and if the pit diggers are reading this, take a level2 avy course or take it again! The pit locations were in terrible spots and not even representative of the slopes nearby that you’d ski (sorry no pics, didn’t want anyone to confuse my knowledge with someones lack of). Now that I got that out of the way…
The skin in
First skiable pitch, we should have hit this right off the bat, but part of the tour was to get up high and assess higher conditions.
Up above the lower lakers. We really spread it out coming up this for safety’s sake… is a mild slope depending on how it’s approached, but it was a little rotten in places.
Plenty of pow in the gulley
more pow in the gulley
And the good old Stage Stop (which was closed!), my buddy was happy to know he was welcomed 😆
Nice job. It looks like Ullr is thinking about letting up his relentless teabagging of CO.
It’s funny (or maybe not) how many pits that I’ve found which have zero representation of the slopes that get skied. It’s like guys are digging pits at convenient locations with no real thought about what they’re doing. I just hope this doesn’t every result in someone getting hurt or worse.
I’ll make the claim that East Portal contains the best stash of steep tree skiing in the FR, hands down. Dont think its at A-lakes though, its at a different spot. Its the goods, 1,500 vert of 40-50 degree old growth loaded with rock features, pillows, drops etc. And holds perfect snow. Found it a few years ago. Best FR riding on storm/high danger dayz. Well worth the 2 mi. skin in!! Glad to see you all out that way.
Thought I’d give a more recent update on JPW. Was up there last Thursday w/Kingpine for some fun pow turns, but didn’t take many pics. Then again on Saturday with some other friends for another great bc tour. Snow was still holding up good on northern aspects, but most everything above treeline was pretty hammered by last weeks winds, and I imagine most southern faces are pretty good and baked by now thanks to the warm sunny days. I’m really enjoying the warm sun today :bananas: compared to the cold windy weather we started the year off with!
Skinning up. That shadowy tree’d face in the background is where Kinpine and I shralped the pow last Thursday.
The pic of James is from the north side. Shoulder to lookers left can be accessed by the Ute trail which wraps around to the mini parking lot east of James via Mammoth Basin Rd. Shoulder to the right is accessed by the Continental Divide Trail and the Rogers Pass trail from James Pk Wilderness/East Portal, but can also be accessed via Winterpark side too.
This old pic is taken where the Divide trail meets the Ute trail at about 12,800 ft. and looking north.