Since it seems as though the snow is here to stay, at least for a little while, I decided to go on a corn snow hunt on Mt Cardigan with my friend Heather. We skinned up the north side which was shaded from the sun and full on bulletproof ice. As we traversed to the south side, the amazing view of icicle laden trees came into view. Lucky for us, the icicles and the ice were softening under our feet into corn snow, a spring snow crust that is warm enough to provide a great skiing surface, but not wet and slushy.
As we reached the summit Cardigan greeted us with 70 mph gusts. There isn’t anything that describes Mt Cardigan skiing better than winds strong enough to blow you back out west. With the high winds we forewent a ridge walk and dropped back onto the south side to get some soft, warm weather skiing. I mention “dropped” as if it was easy to find the right trail to ski. With the number of times that I have gone touring, you might think that I have developed a better sense of direction. Well I haven’t. So it took us two or three forays on skinny hiking trails, putting on and ripping skins. We finally skied those hard earned turns on corn!
The next challenge was hiking back up and around to our car through the north, icy side. Have you ever heard of survival skiing? Well, strap on a pair of skis at the top of your favorite 4’ wide hiking trail when it is bulletproof ice and find out! It really makes you appreciate the fluffy chutes of the west.