Editors Note: While the East has been baking under the April sun, skiers in the West have been plundering pow in full on winter conditions. Here is the latest update from Green Mountain Freeride. – Erme
Words and Photos By Ben Blakely
It?s the morning of April 27, cowboy coffee in the pot and bacon in the pan. Dreaming my way through surfline.com while the lovely bacon aroma is filling the house, moving up the stairs and into Louie’s room…Louie wakes up. The weather is beautifully sunny, but not too warm and we want to make turns…TO THE PASS!
This time of year the mountains have been closed for weeks, there are no more avalanche reports and the majority of skis in the Tetons hibernate, not to be taken out again until October. This is a great and wondrous thing! The skiing is still so awesome from spring corn to mid-winter pow conditions, and every skier has taken off to the desert.
In the truck on the pass road, a last minute decision parks us in the Taylor lot. In short order the four of us are on our way up the skinner. Sussing out the conditions, loving the sunshine and talking about our tribulations, I follow Louie’s straight up skinner he put in two days ago. Thoughts of our best friend Ryan Hawks lay heavy on my mind, I remember that last time I skied Taylor with him, it was last season.Hmm...Looks Tasty
Hitting the South East ridge of Taylor Mt. Louie and I utilize the Backcountry Bomb, if you don’t have one get one. The Bomb makes quick work of one thirty foot section of a North East facing cornice. We see a 12-18 inch deep by 70 feet wide break moving slow but running at least 1,500 feet, finding out later it had propagated below a line of small trees running at least another 70 feet to the right, consistent with the 24-30 inch crown in the East bowl. Making our way up the ridge Louis and I eye up a cornice North of the peak, and we cut one more on the East ridge with no result. “Brady and I got this one to go two days ago,” Louie informs. At the peak we abandon our intensions to cut the other cornice; the west face has blown in strangely.
The East face of Taylor is just gorgeous and demands respect. With a total lack of vegetation, minus the exception of the few rock bands down the face, it runs with a sustained pitch for over 3,000 feet and possesses proven potential to slide HUGE! Untracked, it calls to you, “just ski the SHIT out of me, NOW!” Not feeling good about the stability, the East face was looking scary…and incredibly temping. We decide to ski the left of the South East ridge.Assessing the snow
Lou is the first to ski laying down some phat turns! Holly pushes onto her heel edge throwing up a wall. Jess turned it up like water. I like watching my friends shred, it’s almost as good as shredding yourself. Doing our best Warren Miller skiing we drain the second half of the ridge to Cold Creek and take a minute looking over our run. Tracing our tracks, picking our own from the others, each one is a signature.Schralping! Surfin Pow in April