Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Springtime in the Rockies

Nothing beats ending an active spring day like sitting outside on the porch in Canmore. Spring is my favourite time in the mountains: The trails have mostly melted, the snow quality and stability can both be excellent.

Skiing in the spring is equally capable of delivering your best day of the season, or your worst. "Freak" storms commonly bring in 30+cm's of the white stuff (you know the storms that always seem to happen on the weekend, cancelling any long bike rides you have planned). This isn't your Kootenay or Coastal cement, this is pure Rockies blower. True Rockies skiers have waited through a thin, unstable snowpack for this time of year!

On the flip side, freeze-thaw cycles create crusty, death cookie conditions but can lead to a stabler snowpack if there is a good overnight freeze, though stability deteriorates during the day as snow melts.

As a kid, I spent a couple of spring breaks west of the Divide skiing slush and dodging rapidly expanding patches of ground only to return to wintery conditions. We made a video of one such day, if only SRT would post it!!!!

What inspired this post? Well I am in Canmore right now. I've been mountain biking on dry and tacky trails, and checked off a couple of lines in the Dive (Milky Way, Steel Pipe, Galaxy 6) all in the same day. All I have left to ski are Cream (now open, just needs one more storm), an aesthetic couloir looming above sweet and low; and Starb$'s, a steep rock riddelled face.

Will the Town Gully get skied this year?

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