The team had an awesome early season training camp at the Asulkan cabin. As the popularity of backcountry skiing has exploded, especially at Rogers Pass, availability of the cabin was limited so we gambled on an early November date.
It's been an interesting season. Snow is piling in up high, but as it has been unseasonably warm, the snowlines are still quite high. So lower elevation trailheads require access on foot and bushwacking before getting to some good skiing.
Travis, Michelle, Matt, and Lori arrived a day early and set forth on the task of breaking trail up to the cabin through isothermal snow. With cell service at the cabin, they were able to update us on conditions and it wasn't sounding too great. Hmm, maybe I should be road biking in Edmonton?
I arrived the next day with Kylee and Mark and although the approach on foot and ski up a barely covered and sometimes steep summer trail was not ideal, I appreciated the deep trailbreaking done the previous day. I also noticed that there was at least a supportive crust forming on the snow that would make the exit a little more pleasant.
Alright, time for the main day. Game on. Travis et al had done some good exploring while we were skiing to the cabin and found an interesting way to access Sapphire Col hut via a couloir south of Leda peak. We went back the next day. Spindrift poured down the couloir and when we did top out, it was windy, cold, and visibility was not great. So we headed back down the couloir.
In the afternoon, we skied towards the base of Youngs peak, then lapped the Asulkan glacier some more in the whiteout. The smooth, windblasted surface provided consistent skiing even if the visibility was not there. It was nice to be able to crank out some easy vertical.
We were greeted on our exit day with some fresh snow, but no visibility, so we just skied out. Skiing was interesting while occassionally punching through the fresh powder and the crust under the weight of the big packs. Ultimately the exit on the summer trail down through the mousetrap proved to not be much of an issue and I was able to schuss most of the way down the trail until finally giving in and taking my skis off on an uphill before the bridge. A Teton style boot exit was all that remained to cap off the training camp.
I'm happy to get some good turns and training in so early in the season, especially when conditions were not sounding so great. Thanks to the Alpine Club for use of the hut.