Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stalking the elusive autumn winter

I may not have been successful hunting elk this fall, but on Sunday, I did manage to hunt down some winter.

Of course, a good guide helps. Enlisting the services of those guys who found some stash of winter in October, I joined a group of four other dried-out ski-holics this Sunday (a day reserved for sacred rituals ... even Animistic ones) heading high into this San Juans in search of those elusive autumn tracks.

It was there. Cached up a distant alpine valley hid the stems and seeds of this season's sparse storms. It took only an hour or so of skinned-up climbing to summit -- a chance to also work on the dimming remnants of summer tans in the October glare.

From our lunchtime perch, we could look south and see the long line of the La Platas behind the close-by ragged ranges of San Juans, and then turn north and see the gray and flat table-top top of Grand Mesa, with the brown cloud of metropolitian Grand Junction stuffed up against its western edge.

Then we skiied. That sacred ritual thing ...

It was thin in places. There were rocks. P-tex will have to be applied, edges honed, and at least one core-shot repaired. There were patches and strips of wind-blown crust. But there were also several tasty carves through even, forgiving, relatively deep packed powder, and the day was topped by a long, zipping run out on fast Fall corn snow through an exhilarating obstacle course of boulders and krummholz brush.


This hunt was much more successful.

See more pics in the slide show below.

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