The Mt Evans Auto Road opened on Friday. Marty and I left Breck at 6:30 for a quick run on the north side.
We pulled in behind a line of Mini Coopers waiting to take a drive up the road.
They left us behind, but we caught up with them at Summit Lake. As we pulled in to scope out the skiing, they were pulling out of the parking lot for the summit.
With our route in red.
Before we reached the summit, the Minis were on their way down. Something about 25 degree weather, 40 mph winds and convertibles didn't make their day. With all the soft wet snow releases we saw both here on Evans and back in Summit County, we were actually a bit relieved that the weather was cold enough to set the snow up.
We parked at the summit parking lot, booted up and hiked the trail that goes along the ridge. Some rock, some snow. We might have been better off in the long run in shoes but we persevered to get to this lovely entry into a couloir.
A few jump turns and about 20 m of side stepping got us to a spot next to the pointy rock in the middle, which is where the skiing began. The rock creates a nice snow ledge for pausing before continuing down the couloir. The snow was very firm. I didn't find my 184 Rossi B2s too long for this narrow stuff.
You can see frozen Summit Lake at the top of this picture.
There were 4 people ahead of us waiting for the snow to soften. Three at the pointy rock and one below with his dog.
The dog and guy are at the lower shelf. You can see two guys that down hiked at the spot next to the pointy rock and barely make out Marty and the remainder of the early gang of four on the shelf. You might have jumped the rocky section where the two guys are, but it would have been a questionable move given the hard snow with occaisional grabby blown in snow.
Marty takes his turns from the upper shelf down the couloir. Still very firm, although where I was standing taking this picture was beginning to soften as it was higher and faced the sun better than the chute.
I skied the red line, more or less. My photo position was the pointy part of the line below a minor chute.
I followed Marty down and we took the left through the rocks to get to the open face to the skier's left, not in this picture but in the second and third photos of this TR. The area was a wide open snowfield that had a lot more sun than the chute. It was about an inch or two of softened snow on a mostly supporting crust. You could edge, but had to be careful not to break through.
We skied down to the edge of a depression then skied to the left for the final descent. Summit Lake was mostly blown clear down to blue ice. We watched a couple of guys who overtook us at the end of the snow fields bomb across the ice, so we followed with only a little trepidation. A good tuck was all that was needed to cover about 80% of the distance across the lake until the surface was a bit of mush. The rest was walking out on the crushed rock summer path. The guys that overtook us gave me a ride back to the truck at the summit.
A fine run for the end of May, but nothing like the 4 inches of sun drenched wet pow that we had the year before. The snow conditions are fair at best around Summit. Many of the slides are recent snow that clear down to the dirt layer. The dirt layer was able to melt and set up before the recent snow when the sun hits the new snow, it has a firm layer to slide on. Lots of the Ten Mile have slid and prospects for summer skiing look kind of poor.
Time to launch the Venture 17 on Dillon. Tomorrow, actually.