Well I got back last week from an incredible week at Burnie Glacier Chalet. Incredible in many ways — snow quality overall not being one of them. For the first time in my experience with Burnie in January we had a brief but powerful warm spell — on the first day of the trip — where temps went above zero all the way to mountain top with rain. Then it froze and was cold for the rest of the week. It was clear for most of the week, but still — rugged skiing!
So the incredible part was actually the group. A lot of people get grumpy when they travel so far to ski powder and it doesn’t live up to their expectations. But not these folks. They took up the challenge of Obermeyer’s famous quote “There is no bad snow, just different snow!” and made every day count. The clear weather and amazing fast travel made it possible even in the short days of January to cover some of our mega-classic tours like Polemic Pass — which usually doesn’t get done until March — and Middle Solitaire Peak. Yes, incredible! And the skiing, while different, was never impossible and at times it was actually pretty fun and weird: such as the unbreakable ice crust below Loft Peak, or weaving amongst the gigantic frozen snowballs below Lakehead Peak, or the strange ice crystals covered in pine cones and needles below Ptarmigan. At moments the skiing was awesome — whoops of joy as we carved turns in fast powder to the setting sun up on Loft Glacier below Polemic Pass is the definite highlight.
So, cheers to an inspirational crew who made the best of different snow. You’ve earned some good kharma that should reward you with soft pow turns for the remainder of the winter!