Tag Archives: Southback

Here We Go


Giddy.  Happy.  Blessed.  Sometimes the weather gods shine on us.  I love the promise of new snow.  I love opening my front door, checking the snow stake I set out the day before and seeing 8 new inches of fluffy, light snow. Even after a week of winds that scoured the upper mountain and kept the lifts from running, still a storm can make me vibrate with pleasure.

This morning I am up early, headed out for avalanche control in Southback.  The winds are finally calm, the temperature has dropped, and the snow is falling straight down in delicate, cold flakes.

I will hike to the top of the King, my favorite place at Crystal.  We will break trail through wind-hardened snow, carrying our heavy explosives in our backpacks.

Overlooking Crystal Mountain just to the North, the King reigns over the Southback. It’s steep north face, the backdrop for freeride contests and ski movies, fills in with snow, making tight chutes skiable and timid girls heroic.  

I spread the ashes of Rocket, my late avalanche dog, on the top of the King.

It is a sacred place.

The weather forecast is calling for cold, snowy days this week.  It should snow all day today, picking up another foot of snow by tomorrow morning. Monday night into Tuesday looks like another good one.  I have Tuesday off, so I’ll be out there, ducking my chin into my collar and seeking out the fresh lines, each time the new snow filling in my old tracks like a trusted friend.