Spring’s often the overlooked season for backcountry skiing. As valley bottom trails open up skiers get anxious to spin their wheels and put away the skis. This is a great time of year to enjoy the best of both worlds.
The warmer days of April bring variable conditions to the mountains. Good timing can provide great south-aspect skiing on butter corn and silky dry pow on north-aspects.
Mid-March brought a pineapple express with rapid loading to the Monashees and with it warming temperatures and a widespread avalanche cycle.
Temperatures cooled by March 20 and storms brought light, dry snow that bonded well. March finished with a period of dry stable conditions ideal for skiing large north-facing alpine that extended into early April.
With increasing temperatures and stronger sun affect, cornices and pillows are dropping daily demanding caution from backcountry skiers. Glidecracks continue to creep open and release large avalanches down to grass and slab rock. Backcountry skiers need to be aware of rapidly changing spring conditions.
The good stability of early April provided great riding for the first Annual Splitboard Fest at Sol Mountain Lodge. Pros were there to provide coaching on gear and riding, ACMG guides provided avalanche skills training (AST) courses and further coaching on terrain skills. Riders demoed new splitboard set-ups from Spark, Burton, and Trapper. Ryan Fehr took away the grand prize of a BCA backpack complete with probe and shovel for his winning time in the splitboard changeover competition.
Cool April showers continue to bring fresh powder to the Monashees. Enjoy your spring days in the backcountry.