We saw a bunch of snow and cold temps last week, burying the singletrack too deep for tires but still shallow enough for running. There were reports of high-quality powder up on Teton Pass on Thursday and Friday so I figured I would scope it out later in the weekend. Maybe 24 hours too late.
I spent the bulk of Sunday at Pioneer Park with Dave Bergart, staking out the nordic track for the season and cleaning the summer's bramble out of it with a brush hog. Once we had the track in reasonable condition (and realized it was hours past lunchtime) I scrambled home, stuffed a PB&J in my mouth, put Rue in her cave for a nice nap, and loaded the truck with the tools I would need for taking advantage of this season's first snow of sufficient depth for making turns.
I failed to make note of the 50° temps or light drizzle at my house. Or the bare ground in my neighborhood that had been 2" deep in snow 24 hours earlier.
Never let obvious clues stand in the way of a bad idea.
Up at the Teton Pass parking lot the typical bro scene was chattering away, but instead of stories about sick air they were going off about how good the snow was next to that one tree. Hmm.
Refusing to lose my ill-advised ambition I threw on my stuff and headed south. (Knowing the quantity of jagged limestone beneath the snowcover of the roadside Mt. Glory hits I chose to seek out the grassy slopes of Edelweiss Bowl instead.) I dodged piles of dog poo out the service road toward the radio towers, and the top of the season's first run. It's been months since I felt the freedom of carving turns in fluff, and it will probably be a few more weeks before I feel it this season.
Forging ahead, I stepped back into my approach skis and started up Edelweiss. The brave soul who put in the skintrack thoughtfully avoided the inevitable bushwhacking and log-hopping in the woods by cutting switchbacks straight up the gut of the bowl. Given the quantity of grass and brush exposed above the soggy snowpack, this seemed like an entirely appropriate choice in current stability.
And the turns? Much like the last run, with more brush. I typically save bushwhacking-on-snowboard until really late in the season, but it appears that this season will be book-ended by it.
|The water droplets on the lens are from stuffing the camera deep into the snowpack on a poorly-executed turn. It wasn't raining that hard.|
No, the brush wasn't actually that thick. The turns required more effort than normal to keep things headed downhill. Which was fine, given that the goal of the whole thing was to get a workout.
And at the bottom of the bowl, after wallowing in soggy snow and my early-season cynicism, I realized that I loved it so much that I skinned back up for a second lap.