Patagonia Backcountry Report: Launching Blind Airs in Deep, Explosive, Bizarre Snow After the Storm of the Year So Far

Miles Clark | | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Report from August 23, 2023

Yesterday was one of the deepest days we’ve skied here in Patagonia.

But it was still weird…

It was deep and slow and stiff – but also light.

Scott. image: snowbrains

Some of the strangest “good” snow we’ve ever experienced.

That said, it was truly good.

You could charge and jump and crash and recover.

Deep. image: snowbrains

It snowed about 2-4 feet in the past few days depending on your elevation and location.

We started off the day yesterday with a line I hadn’t skied in years.

It involves 4 fun airs, all pretty blind, in a spire-filled, gorgeous zone.

Pause. image: snowbrains

From there we went back up to one of my favorite lines, “The Southern Drifter.”

We were wary of the avalanche danger.

We dug pits.

Towers. image: snowbrains

Those results plus the skiing we’d just done gave us the confidence to drop in.

I gave it a big old ski cut just to be sure.

After my ski cut, I dropped in.

Towers. image: snowbrains

The snow was deeper in this higher zone.

It was popping off my knees and hitting me in the chest.

It was wind-pressed but still deep and light.

Tracks. image: snowbrains

It tried to throw you off balance but it didn’t try that hard.

After taking a small air I laid into a speed check turn designed to line me up for the bigger air at the bottom.

The snow absolutely exploded in that turn.

Scott in the cirque. image: snowbrains

The wind caught hold of the explosion and stuffed it in my face and it followed me for about 10 feet as I pointed it toward my exit.

A shock of fear ripped up my spine as I gained speed with no vision.

Just before my launch, I emerged from the smoke and was fortunately in the right place.

Deep. image: snowbrains

The air went splendiferously and I screamed for joy in the runout.

Scott called the snow deep and slow and he loved it.

We went back up for one more in a lower zone and the snow was even more bizarre down there.

Coasting to a stop after “The Southern Drifter” air. image: snowbrains

I ended up taking a healthy tumble at the bottom and literally had to swim to get my missing ski.

It was waist-deep and unsupportable in every way.

Just the weirdest possible deep snow.

Layers. image: snowbrains

Once I got my life back together we cruised downmountain shrouded in glee.

The adventure skiing to get out of this zone was of the highest class.

Bamboo, stumps, dirt, rocks, streams, and sludge.

Thanks, Patagonia!


Scott. image: snowbrains
Open canvas. image: snowbrains
Scottie up. image: snowbrains
Greggy. image: snowbrains
Cirque and towers. image: snowbrains
Misty. image: snowbrains
Up. image: snowbrains
Deep track. image: snowbrains
Snow in town! image: snowbrains

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