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Pulling the plug

Published on May 23, 2011 by

While reports of good May skiing are coming out of Arizona’s Kachina Peaks, I am pulling the plug on my snow season – a season that lasted from late November until mid April. Mountain biking and other projects are are now more alluring, but first I would like to indulge my memories of snow.
James thinks that my best photo of the season. Is that because it’s James and his sexy tracks?!

I had about 40 days on the snow with 90% of those being backcountry days. Not bad for a La Niña season, where El Niño is typically best. What is really impressive, to me, is that I shredded 10 days of steep backcountry powder in big avalanche terrain. Sure I had good timing, but mostly I thank mama earth for the stable snow.
image Photo by J.E.

To know if things are stable, one must poke, shovel and test the snow. It also helps to keep track of the snowpack throughout the season. This year I did both to a higher degree and for the first time in my backcountry career, I can reflect upon the season without finding any snow-stability-assessment mistakes.

I am now very close to fulfilling my dream of snowboarding or splitboarding every Major Snow Avalanche Zone of the Kachina (aka San Francisco) Peaks. One more good snow year should be enough to knock off the last 12 of the 77 avalanche zones. The dream, however, will never end – the Kachina’s have a lifetime of short, heardy lines. For instance.

My season ended on a very memorable tour up Doyle peak.
Notes from Diary:
April 10-11, 2011: Hike up above Lockett Meadow to camp stash. JE and C dog joined for dinner. Filet Mignon!!!!!!!!!!! Skin up North ridge of Doyle. West ridge might have had firmer snow better for fast skinning....
!Supper awesome pow run down the Telescope Chute!!!!!! what a great 1000 foot run. 3000 for the day. 4000 for the trip. 13+ mile total trip.
Here is the video.

Thank you to KPAC for the observations forums. Thank you to my touring friends. Bye til the snow fly’s!
Photo by James Foulks.

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Power animals are humans too

Published on May 2, 2011 by

In the summer or 1987, during my freshman orientation at Southwest Texas State, I was asked “what is your power animal?” Uhhhhh….
Hummmmm…. Uhhhh. “A vampire”, I responded, thinking I was so cool and impressive. Forgive me now for how I was then, but do remember that The Lost Boys was in vogue. After more recent thought, perhaps we do not choose our power animals, rather they find us.
Potential case-in-point. Professional trip leader, Brian Siebert‘s power animal choose him via a humorous email attachment.

Thank’s for sharing that Sieberto!

For potential case-in-point number two, please suspend any beliefs that animals and humans are fundamentally different.
My power animal/human, Bill Withers, found me via a free trial on netflex.com.

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Kachina Peaks Wilderness, Telescope Chute

Published on April 13, 2011 by

Larger size recommended.

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Bubble Wrap

Published on March 24, 2011 by

The best thing about a new splitboard?
McKenna discovering the joys of bubble wrap.

Next best thing?
photo By James Foulks

Ben video
video By James Foulks

More pow photos from Wednesdays 12.5 hour tour here.

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Snowboard Free

Published on March 2, 2011 by

I am snowboard free after donating my last one to raise funds for KPAC. I may never own another one. However, I did get a new splitboard, and after 3 tours, I think I figured out how the new rockered beast handles. It took some fussing and some setup adjustments, but my goodness this board turns much faster than anything I have ever ridden. She loves to lean back and surf fast.

First day on the new split.
photos by James Foulks

By the third tour, everything clicked with the new board and I was in surf heaven.

Our snowpack has been interesting this year.

It’s been thin and windblown.

It’s been fun.

It’s been dangerous.
Photo by AbsoluteKen

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