Friday, October 19, 2012

Tincan: 10/18/12

Work gave me the day off and the Amoral Hippy gave the motivation with tales of excellent skiing at Turnagain Pass. I had planned to ski in the Girdwood area, but the allure of a much shorter approach to decent snow drew me towards the pass. There is a nice hiking trail that goes from the road to above treeline at the Tincan pullout. So even if there is no snow at the road, it is easy to get to the alpine.

I was surprised to see 6ish inches at the pullout - it would be possible to skin from the meadow. Skinning was interesting: minor creek crossings, not so frozen mud, steep sections not deep enough to put in a wide enough track, but it beat bushwhacking or hiking with skis and boots on my back. 

Muddy Underneath - Cold On Top

There was 4-8" below tree line and 12-18" above. It was nice to be in the sun and skinning. Summer was short and rainy; any break from the gloom is welcome. 

Tincan Ridge
In my mind, the Tincan Bowl would be deep and there would be hours of gleefully schussing lap after lap.  But reality was quite different.  This time last year, multiple storms had laid down great empire-building snow up high by mid-October.  Yesterday on Tincan there was only snow from the most recent storm and the high pressure has sucked out most of moisture needed for effective base building.

The first high pressure in months is ill timed.  The entire (albeit thin) snow pack is rapidly going to sugar with a healthy dose of hoar frost on top for good measure.  It makes a cool noise while skiing through it, but the that noise could be harbinger of problems down the road.  Hopefully the wind forecast for the weekend gives the snowpack a Romney-esque Etch-A-Sketch reset opportunity. 

The skiing right now is tricky to say the least. It would be easy to get injured with not-quite-enough low density snow on tundra, scree, brush.  If you do decide to head out, take it slow up high - there'll be plenty of opportunities to send it this winter.  And don't be too proud to walk out the bottom bit, it's a long season.  You'll get your opportunity to ride it switch into the road soon enough.

 - U.K.