|Originally posted by bigbadwulf1:
Thanks for all the good info guys. Its just october and I can't wait to get to the HOLE!!! Can anyone give me good info on the hobacks and the tower chutes?? The hobacks look enormous...any suggestions on certain lines for good pow and bumps?? What are the tower chutes like??? I like steep stuff and am not bothered by moguls but am not really into cliff jumping. Is this something I should try??
Since I obviously love talking about JH's mountain, I'll throw in some more suggestions.
You access the Hobacks primarily through a gate on skier's right a little ways down Rendezvous Trail. After a couple hundred yards on a cat-track, you'll come to the end of the cat-track and the formal beginning of "The Hobacks". It looks narrow and bumpy right there, but don't despair - there's *lots* to come.
When standing right where the cat-track ends, you're at the very apex of a huge triangle that makes up the whole Hobacks area. You have three general choices here:
The bumpy little cut through the trees directly down the fall line leads (after about 10-20 turns) to North Hoback. This is a very large, open area that will develop a bump line right down the center of the ridge if it hasn't snowed for awhile. Center-punching the ridge is the best line if you're lucky enough to have first tracks there, but everybody knows that so you'll need exceedingly good karma to find the main body of North untracked. As an option, angling left as North Hoback opens up will take you to a shallow sub-gully near the tree line that forms the left hand (north) side of North Hoback. That gully faces more north (slightly) than the rest of the ridge and often has better snow and more of it after a storm. As that gully shallows out and joins back with the rest of North Hoback, there's a good-sized rock just to skier's right of some small pine trees. It's a great rock for getting a little air. At that point, you're about halfway down North Hoback - you can choose the skier-packed center line or play around in the trees/shrubbery off toward the left boundary. A little suggestion all over the Hobacks (and anywhere else, for that matter), is to look for small patches of trees and cut in and ski just below them. Those lines usually hold powder longer than the more open stuff. Anyway, keep dropping down and turn left on the return cat-track at the bottom.
Back at the top, if you go slightly (like 40 feet) right from the end of the cat-track and then drop through the next little cut through the trees, you're set up for the Middle Hobacks area. The upper half of the Middle Hobacks consists of a few open areas, a few pine glades, and some small aspen patches. This area is kind of undefined and tends to hold good snow a bit longer than the more open approaches to North and South. About a third of the way down, the trees thin out and you get into two obvious gullies with a sub-ridge down the middle and shoulders on both sides. This area probably gets skied the least, because the obvious lines are right down the ridge-top or down the bottoms of the gullies. You can milk out powder turns by dropping off the top of the ridge down into the gully, traversing back up to the ridge, and then dropping down again. That sounds confusing, I suppose, but it'll be obvious when you ski there. The only caution I would add is that this middle-gully area has lots 'o rocks, so coverage can be an issue (that's a big reason it doesn't get skied as much). Poke around a little bit and you'll have fun. Just be a little careful.
Finally, back up at the top again... If you traverse a little farther to the right (maybe 100'), drop down a few turns, and then cut right underneath a large rock outcropping, you'll come out at the top of South Hoback Ridge. The main part of South Hoback (you'll see the south ski area boundary rope on your right side) is a little shallower angle and faces more south than the rest of the Hobacks. There's fun skiing in the little tree-and-wind mounds on the boundary line, and right down the gut can be great if you get there soon after a storm.
There's also a fun area that's hard to describe but obvious when you see it. As you're looking down the main part of South Hoback, there are some small, open aspens on the left shoulder of the run (kind of at the apex of the left-hand ridge). Those aspens lead to a rollover face that is just left of a corniced ridgeline with big pines. This area is about the steepest part of the Hobacks and is known as "The Boob" (don't ask). This also faces a bit more north and drifts in more snow during windy storms, so there can be *great* skiing there.
If it hasn't snowed, there's always good bump lines down the center of North Hoback, the center ridge of Middle, and to skier's left of The Boob.
Whew! That's the Hobacks.
By "Tower Chutes", I think you mean Tower 3 Chute. It's named that because the entrance is right next to the third tram tower (and just below the top of the Thunder Chair). The chute itself is pretty steep (but moderately open) and dumps out into Toilet Bowl. T3 is north-facing so the snow usually stays good there for days (not untracked, of course, just nice bumps and skier-packed). One nice line is to ski down T3 (the steepest part of the run is on the little skier's-left shoulder at the very top through the gate) and then cut right into the trees as T3 starts to narrow. This takes you into the area known as Mushroom Chutes. Be a little careful your first time in here, because there are many large and small rocks (the snow pillows that form on those rocks are where the name comes from), but it's a great place to play. Even a little more skier's right of there is Hoop's Gap, which is a nasty, steep little cut through the trees.
Tower 3 is a great run and so is Toilet Bowl. You can also access Toilet Bowl from a run called Indian Paintbrush. That entrance is a little north of the entrance to T3. Toilet Bowl has lots of rocky outcroppings and faces on skier's left. Just be careful about that area if the visibility is bad - you can go off a substantial rock without even knowing it's there (BTDT).
Well, that ought to give you a little bit of background. None of this will make sense when you get there, of course, but it might help a little.
Turiano's book will help a lot.