Jan 182015
 
Jack and Elizabeth on the peak

Jack and Elizabeth on the peak

What a week it has been in the backcountry! Its been a couple weeks since our last big storm, but we were able to take advantage of good stability and great weather to ski some big alpine lines with the Jewels Group. When the storms began on Friday, we shifted to the below tree-line terrain to find untracked powder and experience a beautiful frontal passage. Conditions are rapidly changing with the current storm, giving us a welcomed fresh coat of powder, but some serious stability issues. Enjoy the images of the recent adventures in the backcountry!

Storm skiing

Storm skiing

Climbing through the frontal passage

Climbing through the frontal passage

Spires and Powder

Spires and Powder

Dropping in 1

Dropping in 1

Dropping in 2

Dropping in 2

Finishing in the sun

Finishing in the sun

Climbing high in the sun

Climbing high in the sun

Stoked for the 1st big line

Stoked for the 1st big line

perfect powder, weeks after the last storm

perfect powder, weeks after the last storm

nice...

nice…

climbing among the ancient White Barks

climbing among the ancient White Barks

The climb back toward home

The climb back toward home

Smiles in the storm 1

Smiles in the storm 1

Jan 012015
 

nothing like long runs of powder

Its been a couple of years since this Iconic Sun Valley ski feature has been in condition.  A beautiful ridge with long runs and lots of diversity makes Durrance a favorite. Fun times skiing beautiful lines in the Sun Valley Backcountry. What a way to end the Year!

beautiful light on the ridge

beautiful light on the ridge

climbing the ridge

climbing the ridge

skiing powder on the east bowls

skiing powder on the east bowls

pulling into the 1st break after a lot of turns

pulling into the 1st break after a lot of turns

 

skiing the lower slopes

skiing the lower slopes

fun vadels

fun vadels

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Dec 012014
 
not bad for November!

not bad for November!

The change of seasons is a wonderful time. November is often that “odd” month here in the mountains of Central Idaho, where the foliage is gone, its too cold to hike and ride bikes and there is often only spotty snow that does not allow for “real” skiing. November 2014 has proved to be one of those fun Novembers that distinguished itself. Exceptionally cold and snowy weather has left the high country with periodic coats of powder and has provided a number of great ski days in the backcountry and on the Nordic trails. It seems that we are off to good start for the upcoming winter season!

Hansi Twins doing the vadel

Hansi Twins doing the vadel

Avalanche Peak and the evidence of many happy skiers

Avalanche Peak and the evidence of many happy skiers

easy slider

easy slider

The alpine has received some high winds and lots of snow transport over the past few weeks

The alpine has received some high winds and lots of snow transport over the past few weeks

A happy skier!

A happy skier!

Powder!

Powder!

Ahh, that's what we like!

Ahh, that’s what we like!

Keeping an eye on the persistent weak layers

Keeping an eye on the persistent weak layers

November 14, 2014 faceshots

November 14, 2014 faceshots

Nov 142014
 
November 14, 2014 faceshots

November 14, 2014 faceshots

It’s official, we have begun the ski season! The recent storms have brought over a foot of new snow to the high country here in the mountains of Central Idaho. Depending on the geographic area, aspect and elevation, this snow fell on either dry ground or older snow. The upper elevations in the mountains around the headwaters of the Salmon and Wood River Valleys had a preexisting snow pack made up of facets and crusts and there are stability concerns in many of these spots with the new load. Please check the latest Avalanche Report for a more detailed description.

SVT Guides, Joe and Francie St.Onge went out around Galena Summit for a short tour to check conditions and found some fun turns, even with the thin coverage. Careful out there! Some of these pics make it look like mid-winter, but generally the conditions are classic early season. So keep the snow dances going, burn a ski or two and praise ULLR to bring us more turns like these!

Fun powder skiing in thin snow (notice the sagebrush)

Fun powder skiing in thin snow (notice the sagebrush)

 

Happy Girl!

Happy Girl!

 

Thin early season conditions make meadow skipping a good choice

Thin early season conditions make meadow skipping a good choice

65 cm snowpack with 40cm of new snow sitting on a supportable crust.

65 cm snowpack with 40cm of new snow sitting on a supportable crust.

Powder Cloud

Powder Cloud

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Funneling faceshots will make you smile!

Funneling faceshots will make you smile!

May 212014
 

good corn

We are just back from skiing another beautiful Idaho mountain, Kent Peak. Viewed frequently from the Valley of the Big Wood, Kent Peak requires a bit of an approach to reach the classic ski lines. As the snow lines march up the mountains with the rising temperatures, the dirt roads are opening up and allowing access deeper into the hills. Even with the open roads, Kent requires a bit of dirt walking to reach snow. But once on snow, a classic 3,000′ ski descent off the 2nd highest peak in the Boulder Mountains awaits. Good corn conditions were found. Enjoy!

It is taking some effort to reach the snow these days

It is taking some effort to reach the snow these days

Summer is beginning to show

Summer is beginning to show

A smile will go a long way when bushwacking with skis!

A smile will go a long way when bushwacking with skis!

Where the snow turns to water...

Where the snow turns to water…

Where skiers become skiers

Where skiers become skiers

ahhh, back in the alpine!

ahhh, back in the alpine!

The summit ridge of Ryan is rather sharp...

The summit ridge of Kent is rather sharp…

Looking north into the Boulder Mountains

Looking north into the Boulder Mountains

Looking south into the Pioneers

Looking south into the Pioneers

The 1st jump turn onto the face of Ryan

The 1st jump turn onto the face of Kent

perfect edging

perfect edging

fun ski

fun ski

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making our way home

making our way home

May 152014
 
The Devils Bedstead in all its majesty

The Devils Bedstead in all its majesty

May showers bring Powder to the high peaks and we were able to experience some of this magic the other day here in the Pioneer Mountains, Idaho. A surprise visit from our old avalanche forecaster, a pro skier and a local doc coincided with Joe returning from the Hawaiian Islands and the Trail creek road having just opened. Recent cold temps and new snow led to great conditions on one of the most iconic ski peaks in Idaho. Thanks to Dylan Crossman for some of the great shots here, enjoy!

Clearing "the bush"  on the approach

Clearing “the bush” on the approach

Trying to get a view through the white-out

Trying to get a view through the white-out

Great booting conditions

Great booting conditions

Climbing in the white-out

Climbing in the white-out

Feeling the exposure high on the face

Feeling the exposure high on the face

taking it all in

taking it all in

Climbing on the moon on the summit pitch

Climbing on the moon on the summit pitch

Nothing like being perched high on an alpine face

Nothing like being perched high on an alpine face

Terry topping out on the summit

Terry topping out on the summit

loving the Coombacks and the view down the ski line

loving the Coombacks and the view down the ski line

Whoohoo!

Whoohoo!

Powda!

Powda!

Can't beat the conditions

Can’t beat the conditions

Dylan Crossman showing how its done

Dylan Crossman showing how its done

the lower face

the lower face

and back to boots for the walk out, stoked.

and back to boots for the walk out, stoked.

May 092014
 
 SVT Guide, Joe St.Onge, remembers a May ski day on his child’s 2nd birthday:

 

Patrick Graham approaches the summit of Ryan Peak

Patrick Graham approaches the summit of Ryan Peak

It was May, locals had hung up their skis and our busy ski guiding season was coming to a close.  It was time to ski for ourselves.
 
My wife was pregnant with our second child and do to deliver within the week.  We had a check-up with our doctor and she said that it did not look imminent.  I took that diagnoses as: I could go ski the next day.  My wife is a skier and guide and she gets it.   She encouraged me to get one last ski in before the snow melted and another baby entered our lives.
 
It was a last minute tour plan.  I wanted to ski something “new”.  Ryan Peak is the tallest in the Boulder Mountains of Central Idaho.  It’s been skied, but not regularly as the approach is big.  I had a concept that it could be approached from the “other side” and had found out that the dirt road that crosses a high pass had just been plowed, allowing access to the “other side”.  A quick call to two of our guides and the plan was hatched for the next morning, early.  Conditions were perfect spring corn: firm for the climb and silky for the decent.  The approach was fast and fluid.  We followed wolf tracks up the remote canyon and later heard the howls from a den echo while on the peak.    We spied amazing future lines, one of which we skied later in the week when the doctor said it may be a couple more days before the baby came.  It was awesome.
Apr 302014
 
Celebratory toast

Celebratory toast

For over 12 years, Sun Valley Trekking has run an internship program during the winter season. The goal of the program is to provide training and mentorship to aspiring ski guides. The “job description” is to : Ski from hut to hut throughout the winter, maintain hut supplies, gather snow and stability information, develop personal backcountry ski technique and experience, assist on guided trips as porters and tail guides and seek mentorship and skill development with the SVT Guide Team. Over the years, many interns have returned for a second year to continue this progression and many graduates of the program are working as professional ski and mountain guides today. We often finish the season with an “Intern Final Exam” designed to test the skill and experience developed over the season. There are two styles of exam open to the interns: to guide the guides or to be guided by the guides. Both styles can help push the learning envelope and provide a rewarding experience. This years team: Trudy, Toby, Niels and Alisa chose to guide SVT guides: Joe St.Onge and Chris Marshall on a particularly snowy late April tour in the alpine Smokey Mountains. Powder, white-out navigation, steep skiing and a Chinese Downhill tested the interns’ skill and grit and was followed by the end of the season Guide Games back in town. Good stuff!

April white-out

April white-out

Stoked Toby, taking the lead.

Stoked Toby, taking the lead.

Heading toward Peak

Heading toward Peak

Chris giving feedback on route finding and group management

Chris giving feedback on route finding and group management

The higher you get...

The higher you get…

Into the Alpine

Into the Alpine

Trudy, taking over the lead for the third descent of the day

Trudy, taking over the lead for the third descent of the day

April Pow!

April Pow!

Yehaw!

Yehaw!

IMG_0070

Alisa guiding a particularly challenging (and sweet) ski line

Alisa guiding a particularly challenging (and sweet) ski line

the Team

the Team

IMG_0133

wow!

wow!

Francie opening the "Guide Games"

Francie opening the “Guide Games”

Making the Toast!

Making the Toast!

Fun for all ages!

Fun for all ages!

Brian, showing grit.

Brian, showing grit.

Chris and Pato were an unbeatable pair!

Chris and Pato were an unbeatable pair!

Apr 202014
 
not bad for her first backcountry run!

not bad for her first backcountry run!

A fun weekend skiing with a local family on the peaks of the Boulder Mountains. The backcountry corn factory is in full production!

IMG_9933

steep skiing

steep skiing

pretty good even if its not powder

pretty good even if its not powder

Alpine lounger

Alpine lounger

Father and son on the Peak!

Father and son on the Peak!

Approaching the summit of Senate Peak

Approaching the summit of Senate Peak

Mother and Son 2

Mother and Son 2

perfect corn in the Boulders

perfect corn in the Boulders

IMG_9892

IMG_9895

searching for the powder

searching fro the powder

Mother and Son

Mother and Son

a little corduroy exit with Senate Peak in the background

a little corduroy exit with Senate Peak in the background

carving the apron

carving the apron

Apr 112014
 
finished with the crux and 3000' of wide open skiing ahead

finished with the crux and 3000′ of wide open skiing ahead

Another awesome spring day skiing with the Sirens of Snow on Galena Peak!

Early morning start across Senate Meadows

Early morning start across Senate Meadows

Skinning the sunny ridge

Skinning the sunny ridge

Switching from skis to boots as the terrain gets steeper

Switching from skis to boots as the terrain gets steeper

ascending the summit pyramid

ascending the summit pyramid

IMG_9639

the final summit ridge

the final summit ridge

breather

breather

on top of the world!

on top of the world!

almost there

almost there

stoked on the summit

stoked on the summit

what a day!

what a day!

the summit shots

the summit shots

the Boulder Range in all its glory

the Boulder Range in all its glory

The 1st ski pitch is a beauty

The 1st ski pitch is a beauty

The beginning of the crux, midway down the south bowl

The beginning of the crux, midway down the south bowl

A little rope work makes for smooth skiing

A little rope work makes for smooth skiing

IMG_9669

skiing with the rope

skiing with the rope

Bond girls

Bond girls

woohoo

woohoo

sweet features

sweet features

and on down

and on down

stoked!

stoked!