Trip Reports: March Showers Bring April Powder

Early April began with new snow, a stable snowpack, and a back-to-back guided hut trips. Rare conditions like this are perfect for enjoying steeper terrain in powder, and that’s exactly what these groups were looking for.

Kurtis and Philippe took last year’s Ski Mountaineering Camp, and they returned this season with a couple friends to tick a few more lines off their respective bucket lists. After hiking into the hut, they got right after it with a “warm up” run in KBs off of Skier’s Summit. The next two days saw descents of JC in the Profile Basin and then the Sickle in perfect powder conditions. While skiing these steeper lines in soft snow was user friendly, booting up them felt like swimming uphill!

Next up was a larger group of locals along with friends from Oregon and even the midwest. Warming conditions traded powder for silky corn, and we still managed to find cold, dry snow in the local chutes. Warm temps and sunny skies meant wonderful afternoons lounging in and around the hut enjoying cold beers and reliving the day’s adventures.

Spring conditions means fast travel, and we took advantage of the firm snow to do a recon day into the Monolith Valley for an upcoming womens trip Sara is running. We couldn’t pass up a quick detour up the north couloir on Heyburn, and although the conditions aren’t as powdery as they have been, it was great steep skiing practice for our interns┬áTanner and Lani!

Enjoy the photos and hope you’ve been enjoying some of the great spring conditions!

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The Chutings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

After spending the first half of the winter skiing 25 degree powder due to high avalanche hazard, we’re doing our best to make up for lost time by taking advantages of a stellar spring. The snowpack has stabilized, the Sawtooths are fat, and the weather has been unbeatable – perfect conditions to tackle Sawtooths steeps, chutes, and couloirs. [more...]

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Schooling and Getting Schooled: Midwinter Report

Whew. The first half of the winter is done and gone – where did it go? Read to find out, or skip ahead to the photos!

Avalanche Education

We taught a record number of avalanche courses so far this winter – eight AIARE Level 1s and an AIARE Level 2. Backcountry skiers and riders are hungry for avalanche education, and who can blame them? Skiing in the backcountry comes with risk, and we all need to learn to minimize it so we can enjoy a lifetime of faceshots. We love teaching Level 1s because these courses truly teach the life-saving skills that every skier and rider needs. Rather than delve into snow science factoids, we focus on a framework for making good terrain decisions. [more...]

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Early Winter: Avalanche Courses and Powder…Finally!

It’s mid-January, and we’re full steam ahead on our avalanche education programs and guided ski trips.

In early January, we hosted an American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) Level 2 Instructor Training Course at Smiley Creek Lodge. This 3-day course is for aspiring Level 2 course instructors and was well attended by a number of out of state avalanche pros. SMG owner/guide Erik Leidecker helped teach the program and shared his 20 years experience as a ski guide and avalanche instructor. [more...]

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Trip Report: Backcountry Skills Course 2013

Our Backcountry Skills Course is one of our favorite programs and an excellent way to kick off a new winter season. It strikes the perfect balance between learning and playing, and what better place to do it than at the Williams Peak Hut. [more...]

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