#SkiTourSunday is a weekly glimpse into different aspects of spending days exploring in the backcountry of Western Wyoming and beyond.
As at the beginning of almost anything there is a period of "warming up." The beginning of the ski season is no different. Your systems from last year have gone to shit, your equipment and gear is new, you're too cold, you're too hot, you forgot how to kick turn... overall you, or me in particular, feel like a jabronie.
This year has been no different and after plaguing the small town flu for a few days, I knew just what I needed to kick the last few phlegm filled coughs to the curb.
A snowpack of sugar fairies, we decided on an exploratory mission up Taylor Mountain. Both of us, my ski partner and I, had been up Taylor in previous years but always on the South Ridge (which we both agreed is the safest route). Today we wanted to explore the route on the South-East Ridge.
We weren't all that concerned if we reached the summit or skied blower pow, we just wanted to get our feet wet, re-learn the snow pack and brutally exhaust ourselves after 4 straight days on the couch.
Moving at a glacial pace, we did just that. We joked at one point that it was shirtless skinning weather, then watched as our sweat froze solid in the wind, skinned upon a frightening avalanche and quickly turned around to ski heavy, wet, mashed potatoes all the way back to the car.
A few things I learned...
- Wool is the answer for layering. Even after being extremely warm, and extremely cold, it helped regulate temperature without giving you the heabie-jeabies that synthetic does.
- It's always ok to turn around before you reach the summit.
- A hot thermos of water, tea, soup is pretty amazing while spending long (or short) days outside. [safety perk of an insulated stainless steel thermos: if you ever get stranded in the backcountry you can use it to melt snow for water -- genius!]
- Extra mitts are necessary (thank you again screaming meanies).