So..it snowed! Just at the end of January and in the first days of February we got some of the white stuff..not exactly a huge cold dump, but days of snow interspersed with days of rain. And then days of fierce winds blowing the top snow around. The final result was not beautiful in some places, leaving an irregular checkerboard of exposed patches of old frozen snow and new windpack slabs with a sastrugi-type finish in high open terrain, but lower down in certain bowls and valleys the wind deposited quantities of snow in soft poudreuse-style drifts..making for excellent skiing.
Rocks and all things hard..made soft.
So while others toiled on the hardpack in the higher alpine areas, those of us who knew made for the treed bowls, where the goods had been stored by Brother Mistral..the softer side of life. There was at times up to half a meter of new snow on top of a good base..to be honest it wasn’t the lightest driest snow you could imagine, at best it was poudre lourde but, hey, am i complaining about heavy pow?!!
Arcing thru somewhat steeper terrain at the top of the bowl..
The trees and their low-hanging branches will sometimes complicate matters a tad in this kind of skiing, but this really just adds to the interest of such terrain..ain’t no piste, bro! Wearing a helmet is probably not a bad idea.
..mellowing out and opening up into meadows halfway down..
I like to call this area the ‘Bullpen Bowl’..owing to a feature to be found where the bowl bottoms out. It does get a bit flat at the end but skis still run well in schuss..and there are rocks and bumps everywhere to pop off at speed.
..flattening out at the end. The ‘Bullpen’ is hidden in the background.
Not everybody’s cup of tea surely but popping off rocks into soft snow is a whole lotta fun. It’s nothing like cliff-hucking, pro ski jumping or downhill racing 50-meter airy blasts..it’s just fun.
Flat..but not boring!
And the enormous importance of the place, the Bullpen, the bowl with its trees and meadows, the larger surroundings – el entorno – and, of course, that thick blanket of soft, soft snow..days to remember!
The Bullpen Bowl, foreground, in all its glory.