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Day 7 – In Your Face

Distance: 8.6 miles

Vertical: 3600'

The snow depth is slowly getting better. This last storm system, “underperforming” as it was, dropped 6-15″. I decided to have a quick look around to see how it played out.

Half way to the Coal Creek parking lot, I decided to try In Your Face (IYF) bowl instead of the long slog to the head of Mail Cabin Creek.

I put in a stealth up track to keep the lice at bay. Trail breaking was moderate; the base had solidified enough to hold up a skier.

When I reached the top of IYF bowl, the snow looked a bit thin, but there were no tracks. I doubt anyone has skied it this year. I took a cautious line on my first run and started with a couple hard jump turns. When nothing moved, I dove in. What a pleasanat surprise. The snow was effortless and almost perfect.

I did 6 laps on IYF. No other skiers showed up all day.

On my last lap, I was going to ski the steeper ridge on the upper left side of the bowl. While breaking trail up to that point, I heard a whumph. When I got to the ridge, I turned around and realized I remotely triggered an avalanche on the skier’s right side of the bowl, where there is a small, rocky band. The slide originated at the rocky band, but a crack propagated all the way across the lower slope. Strange, because I skied 5 pervious runs down the main bowl and nothing moved. The avalanche was within 50′ of my tracks. That’s kind of how things are.

Because of the avalanche and because the ridge had very poor coverage, I put another set next to my existing tracks and then skied down the chute to the highway. All of it pretty good skiing and adequately covered. 

The first bridge required a few Our Fathers and Hail Marys. The second bridge crossing the stream required levitation. I almost just walked through the water but decided to side step, spanning two small logs that lay across the stream.

The snow is VERY sensitive and it’s common to remotely trigger avalanches. That’s how Windy Ridge was triggered: by someone walking on low angle snow above the bowl and it settled.

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