Short Ski Tour
December 10, 2006
Reports of bad backcountry conditions left us with low expecations for the day, but we decided to park at Alpental and head on up toward Chair Peak and see what we could find. On the optimistic end, we hoped conditions would allow a Chair Peak circumnavigation. On the less optimisticl end, we figured we could take laps at Alpental, or if things were really bad, get breakfast at the Pancake House.
We did not do the circumnavigation route because we were having beacon issues (random switching to search mode -- not to worry, it's been shipped back to the manufacturer) and time issues (needed to be back by 3 or 4), but we did end up in one of Chair's upper bowls after following a recently made skin track up a steep chute through clouds floating in and out. Part way up the bowl, we dug a couple shovel tap pits and found some marginal conditions in teh snowpack. Loose powder below a sun crust 12-18" below wind-deposited new snow. We were on a pretty mellow slope, so we took a run on it, and it turned out really nice, so we took another run on it, then headed out. After picking our way through the trees, we found our way into the chute again. We skied one at a time down the chute down to the lower angled slopes below, where we found more nice new snow on a firm crust. Far better skiing than we were expecting. Coupled with the occasional, unexpected views we were granted, it turned out to be quite a fantastic day!
+ Pete's post on TAY