Heliotrope Ridge Skiing

November 10th, 2002

It was again time to make our yearly pilgrimage to the mecca of early season skiing: Heliotrope Ridge. Emily and I joined Phil and Greg and we all piled into Greg's mobile early Sunday morning.

Seeing as the first real flakes of snow had started to fall in the middle of the week, I figured that there would be snow everywhere and that it would be really cold. But to my surprise, the trailhead was entirely snow free, and reasonably warm (40s). Greg handed me my hefty skis off of the ski rack and commented, "Oh, training skis!" But no, I'm not jealous of their freaking sweet lightweight Randonee setups.. not at all!

Surprisingly, there were only two other cars in the parking lot. One of skiers who were long gone, and another of Canadians intent on going ice climbing in the icefall. They figured there wouldn't be enough snow to ski, we figured there would be way too much snow to ice climb!

What do you think? The Coleman icefall under 15-20" of freshiez!

Hiking in with only ski gear went pretty quickly and we were soon plodding our way up the moraine. There is a obvious flat spot atop the ridge where it is easy to start skinning up. The people ahead of us had already kicked in a skin track, so we followed suit.

Greg and Emily hiking up the last bit of the moraine ridge.

The snow up to this point was just awesome: Deep and light! But as we climbed higher up onto the glacier the snow became thinner and wind compacted. Still, the first turns of the season (for me at least) were near!

As you'll see in the following video, the technique wasn't all pretty, but we were skiing powder, and having a ball!

Windows Media Player format with sound, 614K

On the way out we skied down the moraines as far as we could, and hit plenty rocks. But we couldn't resist, the snow was soooo nice and powdery! Thanks to Phil for providing the last scene in the video.

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