Over the last week, I skied up to Gash Point and Downing Mountain a couple times each to find the best early season skiing conditions in years. With three feet of settled snow above 7,000 feet, the surface conditions were continually refreshed with small shots of snow following the last big storm that exited the mountains more than a week ago.
With the warm temperatures we had last week the snow pack settled and bonded nicely and the temps have not been too cold to erode this yet. There is nothing better than backcountry skiing for getting in shape for mountain travel. Never in the summer will I hike a mountain twice in one day, let alone three or four times. Yet in the winter we think nothing of it, charged to ski a different line from the same summit, or seek out another summit in the vicinity. The fitness I put on this month will serve me well in January when the snow deepens and the canyons open to longer tours with thousands more feet of vertical to pursue. Until then I am excited to get out on the training slopes and work out in Mother Nature's gym. It always has lessons to teach and people and wildlife and weather and conditions to observe and react to in a different and meaningful way. The experience of being out in the mountains just keeps getting better and more comfortable as the years ease by.