Report from Monday, November 21, 2022
Yesterday was an adventure.
At 11 am, SnowBrains Meteorologist Clay Malott and his father Dean were waiting for me at a pullout on the side of State Road 190.
From the moment I saw them I could tell they were stoked.
I picked them up, drove to the parking lot at Donut Falls, and we started our ascent.
The mission? The prominent north-facing slide path on Mt. Kessler better known as God’s Lawnmower.
We started along a private road in absolutely stunning conditions: the skies were blue, the trees were blanketed in a thick later of snow, and there was 0 wind and 0 other people out.
We didn’t see another party the entire day.
From the road, we ascended through some aspens then through a silent old-growth forest to the top of the line.
The skinner up was slippery.
It took us 2.5 hours to get to the top where we dropped into soft, decaying powder snow that was fairly skied out already.
The slope was moderately steep and consistently so. Halfway through the descent we navigated large cliffs, snaking around skier’s right to a protected gully that held beautiful, soft snow.
It was here that Dean broke his ski binding.
The binding held for a few more turns before completely disintegrating.
The last section of God’s Lawnmower before the lower angle runout was on rock slab and was steep and fast to ski—you had to navigate between lots of rocks, but where you did that the snow was good.
It was a minorly technical section and Dean did it on essentially one ski while Clay and I watched in terror.
Dean managed it with grace and excellence.
Then came the real adventure.
The way back to the road was thick and bushy—and I mean almost too thick and too bushy to ski through.
It was hard enough to navigate through the overgrowth on two skis, let alone one like Dean.
So for the next hour and a half we slashed and clawed and crawled our way through nearly impassible shrubbery.
It took eons.
I think God forgot to fill up his tank when he took his lawnmower to this side of Kessler and it ran out of gas.
Either that or he’s just lazy.
As we navigated the thick jungle maze we noticed some of the prettiest but also most concerning surface hoar we’d ever wittnessed.
Huge, feathered crystals almost two inches long covered the protected, mid-elevation snowpack.
Whole trees and bushes were covered in it.
It was gorgeous to look at but we knew it spelled trouble for when more snow comes.
Which will come.
So when that happens, all bets on steep north-facing terrain like this line on Kessler will be off.
But at least we’ll know where not to ski, and maybe by the spring the bushes here won’t be so bushy anymore.
Until then, we’ll just have to keep adventuring.