Talk about a stint of high pressure. We haven't seen any snow in a couple of weeks but with the nice weather we have been seeing some stabilizing within the snowpack. Time to get up into the alpine and manage some steeper terrain before more snow comes. I had a line on Buffalo Mountain in mind and the night before Greg Hansen hit me up wanting to get out. Him along with Creston Doverspike joined in on the venture and a tour plan was set into motion.
Creston had a meeting in the morning and so we met up at the Lily Pad TH at 9:30 and set off. We weren't too worried about a later start as we wanted the line to soften up a bit. We worked our way up the Lakeview path towards treeline.
A couple hours later and we found ourselves at our objective for the day. As always the plan was to assess our situation throughout as the day went on. We discussed and dropped our packs to walk down to our line and check out the snow conditions. Worth noting is that although green-lighted through CAIC, you still have to be cautious about slides. Ask yourself 1.) Is there layers in the snowpack? 2.) Is the slope I am on or will be on steep enough to slide? And so although while still being aware about avalanche concern, our primary concern throughout the day was the quality of snow. Were we going to find edge-able softer snow or were we going to encounter bulletproof windslab? Initially I walked out onto the slope to find somewhat variable conditions towards the top of the line with a big windslab but softer snow bypassing on skiers left. From there we kept walking down the line assessing. Softer snow throughout the rest of the line from what I could tell and then a rollover near the bottom. Again we then walked down to check the rollover and assessed from there. This is where group dynamics are key. As always on a tour, everybody needs to know that they have the power to veto. Hopefully, you have partners who are on the same page. This was one of those times when a partner in the group wasn't feeling it, spoke up, and immediately from there there was no argument to go with our alternate planned route. I was thoroughly pleased with our group dynamics on this tour! Its all about the experience.
From there we hiked back up to our packs, grabbed a quick snack, and pushed onward and up to the summit.
These views never get old!
We soaked in the views, snapped a few pics, and then transitioned to ride. From there we dropped ones towards treeline and all experienced some excellent turns.
Back down to treeline we enjoyed some good turns down to the bottom of the Lakeview path. A quick transition into split-ski mode and we were able to ski all the way back to the truck. Another great day in the books. By choosing good partners we had great dynamics today and in return enjoyed a most excellent day in the backyard!