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Spring Powder

By Ann Driggers

As we move through spring the opportunities for skiing fresh powder become less and less. The key is to get out as the snow is falling or immediately following. It's a race against the sun - if its rays touch the fresh snow it turns to mush in a heartbeat. Being a weekend warrior it can be hard to get the timing right but a couple of weekends ago I lucked out big time, scoring a line I've wanted to ski for eons in the most delicious conditons imaginable.

My friends Amy and Marti and I had it in our minds to drop off the right side of Highlands Ridge into Maroon Bowl, but as we hiked into the storm we were engulfed by roiling clouds, fog and snow. The visibility was terrible and when we left the Highlands backcountry exit gate conditions seemed to get worse. We poked around for about 45 minutes, in the wrong place, looking for entry to our line and praying that the storm would abate so we could see where we hoped to go. Finally it did!

We had a fun little butt scooting down a chute to get to the top of our line:

Then we were salivating at the untouched powder that lay before us under clearing skies:

It was as incredible as it looked:

In fact it was one of the best runs of the year. Most delicious!

As is often the case, in the spring, exit from lines such as these always has an entertaining log crossing to add a little more spice. Actually this one was not too bad.

As long as you don't drop a ski pole in the water....and you have to chase it down while your ski partners roll around on the bank in laughter....

Either way, scoring a line like this in all time spring powder conditions will stay in the memory bank for a long time.

Post Script: A video recently appeared on vimeo which appears to be two snowboarders we dropped in right behind. Their tracks are visible in one of the photos above. Check it out, it's pretty sweet: Maroon Bowling

If I had known they were fiming I would have totally pulled some of those moves. Massive cornice problem. wink


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Spring might be the end of the skiing season for some tourists, but for others the fun is just beginning. The cabin rentals in Virginia will be a priority for you too, in case you’re planning a romantic holiday in this breathtaking mountain area.

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