Winter Returns to the Northern Sawtooths

How quickly things change! Less than a week ago, we were lamenting the recent dry spell during an adventure ski tour in the Sawtooths. Weeks of dry weather, temperature inversions, and worst of all, strong north winds, left us with uninspiring ski conditions. We don’t get poor ski conditions often in the Sawtooths, so we tend to be babies when we do.

Beginning Friday night, the snow began piling up in the northern end of the Sawtooths and especially on Banner Summit. During our Level 1 Course on Sunday, we found 8-10″ of new snow in this area, and despite the warm temps the snow came in light and fluffy. Another 6-8″ of blower fell last night, and I decided it was time to take a break from office work and our busy schedule of avalanche education (just finished our third Level 1 and currently prepping for our fourth and fifth!).

It was a quiet day on Banner Summit and as I broke trail alone through snow caked trees, it felt SO good to have winter back and to feel soft snow under my skis. I found 18-20″ had accumulated on the old snow surface, and while the stability seemed decent on sheltered slopes, strong northwest winds were having their way with all the low-density powder, blowing it into drifts and slabs on exposed slopes. As I racked up the vertical in low angle glades, all I could think of was how good it felt to be back in the game!

And now I’m ready to go back to work….