Friday, April 12, 2024

Hamels Peak Ski

 Yesterday I skied Hamels Peak in the Egan Range, but the day before I took a short tour to check on conditions. No easier place to do that than the Old Ski Hill just outside of town.

 Looked like a ski area (which it once was!) with all the tracks. 

Decided to go a little further back to avoid tracks and look for slopes with more sun exposure.

This slope skied well at 9am. Good fun on the lightweight gear.

Bonus views from the top towards Ward Mountain.

Feeling somewhat confident in decent corn type conditions, I drove down to the old Ward townsite for a ski on Hamels Peak (back).

I followed an old skin track up a shallow gully. Easy travel.

Aspen and pine.

Inspiring views to the southwest with pt 10302 left and pt 10070 right.

Looking north along the spine of the Egan Range to Ward Mountain South.

I skied this little face off Hamels on my way to pt 10218. Good skiing. Already softening at 0830.

The rugged White Pine Range from the summit of pt 10218.

I descended the face/shallow bowl right of center at around 0930. SE facing was overcooked, but E and especially ENE aspects skied well. Cool zone. Lots of ski lines and interesting mining ruins.

Looking up from the main road. Pt 10182 left (2022 report here), pt 10218 center, and Hamels Peak right.

 Would have had a better run off 10218 an hour or so earlier. I was a bit surprised it was so soft so early. Probably not fully cooked as there was 6" - 8" of fresh snow here only a few days ago.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Ely Skiing Again

 After my little road trip I took a couple of days off. Went for an easy spin and a short hike. Friday I was itching to ski again although the weather was a bit stormy.

 Got out in the afternoon for a short tour to the Old Ski Hill. Dumping pretty good as I made my way up the access road.

Let up as I reached the ridge.

Short, fun run. Nice snow. Didn't scrape crust even though I was on my lightweight/skinny skis.

Saturday high winds were forecast. Went back to the ski hill figuring I could bail if the winds were bad. Fortunately the winds didn't ramp up much. Took two decent runs on this slope despite hitting crust a fair amount

The ski hill from afar.

Yesterday (Sunday) dawned cold, clear, and calm so I elected to try a bigger tour up in the Schell Creek Range.

I had seen this zone on previous tours, but had yet to visit. As I reached the lower slopes I began to get excited!

Beautiful in here.

I turned around here as the slopes steepened and the snow was starting to feel slabby.

Maybe the best run of the year!

Had to go up for another! North Schell Peak, the high point of the range, back on the ridge.

Another view of the first run.

The second run wasn't as good. I skied from the left into these glades. Scraped down to old crust occasionally until I got to the lower bit. Fun but not tops like run one.

Looking back at the zone as I neared the truck.

Still buzzing from this tour!



Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Skiing Great Basin National Park

 Yesterday I headed over to the Snake Range in Great Basin National Park. The road up Lehman Creek is plowed to the lower campground (open) where I was able to skin right from the parking area.

 Having been here before I knew I needed to stay on the summer trail pretty far before heading towards this huge glade. Fortunately I found a decent route and an easy stream crossing.

I would not say the approach was easy, just not horrible! I was definitely stoked to get to the base of the glades where skinning was much more straightforward.

I was just blown away by the size of this thing!

I was able to attain the ridge and follow it to the top of a little knoll. A bit wind affected at first but fairly cold and dry the rest of the way with well over a foot of new snow high and about 10" low.

Was kinda salivating here!

Was like skiing a wide open blue run at a ski area with no one around.

Looking back at my tracks and the knoll I attained. Much more terrain with bigger lines to the west.

 Wow! Terrific tour.

Eastside of the Schell Creek Range

I went out for a short, two day road trip east of here. The first day I toured up on the east side of the Schell Creek Range. Studying maps I noticed a road that got pretty far up a canyon with apparently good ski terrain. The road was north above the creek, so I figured it got pretty good sun exposure.

Sadly a short section still had not melted out. Might have made it through this drift, but there were two deeper ones just above.

 Parked it there at about 7000'. Too bad because I ended up hiking a lot of this.

After about 40 minutes of walking I got to continuous snow and a decent view of my objective. Took a stab at crossing the creek and bushwhacking in around here, but the crossing was too gnarly and the brush too thick.

Found a decent crossing and a lot less forest/brush a bit higher. Still a lot of dense aspen, but fortunately there was a clear little corridor in the creek bed.


Clouds rolled in as I got up near the base of the chute.

Skirting the edge I was largely able to stay out of the huge aspen grove.

Got up to the throat and started feeling a little concerned about heading up the chute. I knew the high terrain had gotten over a foot of snow with strong winds - which were still blowing up there and being in the chute would leave me totally exposed to avalanches. 

Turned around at the throat, just above here.

Impressive runout zone!

Good skiing for a bit. Especially along the edge. Then a good dose of tight "jungle" skiing.

The line is a beauty though. Hope to be back someday when access is better and avalanche danger lower.


Saturday, March 30, 2024

Back At It

 Took an unexpected break last week. Was doing pullups on a bar installed in the door jam by a previous owner when it failed on my third go. Jammed my big toe pretty good. Thought it was broken for a bit. Hurt like hell!

Fortunately it felt ok after a day, but I took it easy for a few more days to let it heal right. My first tour after the fall was a short one up to the "Old Ski Hill" as it's known locally.

It really started dumping as I reached the top.

After a quick transition I was welcomed by clearing skies.

Enjoyed a fun run. About 3" to 5" over a solid melt/freeze crust. Glad I had the fat boards (~120mm underfoot). Barely scraped the crust at all.

Toe felt ok. Energy solid, so I went for another tour the next day. Decided to check out one of the shoulders in the Schell Creek Range.

Looks like some sort of critter hunkered down during the storm and then popped out once things settled down.

Nice weather. Nice scenery.

The latest series of storms weren't big, but smoothed things out nicely.

Pretty similar skiing to the day before. Hit the crust occasionally, but still fun, fast skiing.

Second time up I reached a little knob with cool views of fine ski terrain.

These glades skied well. Kinda tight and had to watch the snakes though.

Lookin' up at my tracks from the first run and my skin track.

Yesterday I went back to the Schell Creek Range to a zone I had skied early season. Coverage was much better. Parked here. Might have gotten further but didn't want to mess around with a stuck truck. Pretty short approach anyhow.

Heading up. Note the old miner's shack low left.

More views on the way up.

Reached another mini summit with tolerable views of the neighborhood.

This area skied a little better. Only hit crust near the bottom of the runs.

First run.

Good enough to take three.

 Felt like I dodged a bullet with my toe. Somehow that little setback made me enjoy these tours more than usual. Gotta be grateful!