Dec 312016
 
Feb 122016
 
It's hard not to smile when carving settled powder on the north burns

It’s hard not to smile when carving settled powder on the north burns

SVT Guides, Chris Marshall and Joe St.Onge, are just back from a quick 2 day trip into the Coyote Yurts with a fun group of local skiers.  Sunny skies, warm temps, settled powder and some of the first corn turns of the season were enjoyed by all.  What a place to call home!

What a day to climb a high ridge on the way to Coyote

What a day to climb a high ridge on the way to Coyote

Carving the first corn turns of the season

Carving the first corn turns of the season

Lunch break on the way to the yurts

Lunch break on the way to the yurts

Arriving at the Coyote yurts after a great day of skiing

Arriving at the Coyote yurts after a great day of skiing

Nothing like good friends, good meat and great wine at a yurt high on secluded ridge

Nothing like good friends, good meat and great wine at a yurt high on secluded ridge

Soft evening light at the Coyote yurts

Soft evening light at the Coyote yurts

From hot to cold: the sauna dash

From hot to cold: the sauna dash

From cold to hot, the dash gets faster!

From cold to hot, the dash gets faster!

 

Alpin glow mantra

Alpin glow mantra

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The team!

The team!

Burn beauty

Burn beauty

Dropping into the burn

Dropping into the burn

Climbing above the yurts on the second morning to ski the burn

Climbing above the yurts on the second morning to ski the burn

It can be a world of black and white contrast when skiing the burns

It can be a world of black and white contrast when skiing the burns

and final tow back home...

and final tow back home…

Jan 022016
 
oh yeah!

oh yeah!

The tradition continues! From near and far, a group of hearty skiers gathered for the 5th annual Yurtika. The destination for this year was the Coyote Yurts, and like the past couple years, deep powder was on the menu. Fun times and awesome skiing – doesn’t get much better!

Cold smoke dropping in front of Coyote Yurts

Cold smoke dropping in front of Coyote Yurts

more from the front door of Coyote Yurts

more from the front door of Coyote Yurts

Hil, carving down the south bowls heading home

Hil, carving down the south bowls heading home

ahh, big arcs in the powder

ahh, big arcs in the powder

The man and the legend, Mike

The man and the legend, Mike

Ben, liking the new Coombacks

Ben, liking the new Coombacks

Geoff, arcing the old Sidestash

Geoff, arcing the old Sidestash

Crispy, splitting the aspens

Crispy, splitting the aspens

Cold morning start from the yurts

Cold morning start from the yurts

Skiing off the Burn Unit

Skiing off the Burn Unit

tree ski

tree ski

Good morning from the Coyote Yurts!

Good morning from the Coyote Yurts!

Climbing back to the yurts after a morning lap

Climbing back to the yurts after a morning lap

Climbing back to summit of Little Round Top

Climbing back to summit of Little Round Top

The view from the yurts

The view from the yurts

pre-dawn view of the Coyote Yurts, coffee is ready and powder is waiting.

pre-dawn view of the Coyote Yurts, coffee is ready and powder is waiting.

Setting moon and sunrise

Setting moon and sunrise

The team, preparing to drop one last line down to the yurts before sunset

The team, preparing to drop one last line down to the yurts before sunset

Arriving at the yurts right before dark after 5000' of pure powder

Arriving at the yurts right before dark after 5000′ of pure powder

A warm yurt, good friends, yummy food and plenty of powder skiing make for a perfect evening in the backcountry

A warm yurt, good friends, yummy food and plenty of powder skiing make for a perfect evening in the backcountry

Hil, setting moon and silky powder skiing out the door from the yurts

Hil, setting moon and silky powder skiing out the door from the yurts

Jul 202015
 
The Newly Weds!

The Newly Weds!

Ah, what a celebration! SVT guide, Jonathan Preuss (JP) married his lovely bride, Michelle, on the Coyote Yurts point at 8700’deep in the Smokey Mountains of Central Idaho. Good friends gathered to embrace the passing hail storms and drink in the beauty and power of the mountains and of LOVE!

if you made it this far...

if you made it this far…

the team

the team

wildflower yurts

wildflower yurts

flower girls

flower girls

building the bower

building the bower

and the ceremony begins...

and the ceremony begins…

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yahoo!

yahoo!

Mr. and Mrs Preuss

Mr. and Mrs Preuss

and the sun came out!!

and the sun came out!!

practice run

practice run

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The Lei, giving her blessing

The Lei, giving her blessing

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what a feast!

what a feast!

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whats a camp fire without a marshmellow

whats a camp fire without a marshmellow

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and the Pios lit up....

and the Pios lit up….

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magnificent light on the point

magnificent light on the point

whats a camp fire without a marshmellow

whats a camp fire without a marshmellow

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morning coffee

morning coffee

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and the ride back to the village...past Fox Peak

and the ride back to the village…past Fox Peak

retired SVT Intern, Mark, carving down Fox Peak

retired SVT Intern, Mark, carving down Fox Peak

cruising

cruising

and through the woods

and through the woods

over the edge

over the edge

around the bend

around the bend

and through the flowers

and through the flowers

across from the Boulders

across from the Boulders

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Toby, flying

Toby, flying

and back to the valley

and back to the valley

Mar 042015
 
Judy, carving powder 3 weeks after the last storm

Judy, carving powder 3 weeks after the last storm

The Men of the North (and one woman) swept down from Montana for another raid into Idaho. The Smokey Mountains and her hidden treasures of faceted powder and corn were looted by this ruthless crew of barbarians. Led by SVT guides: Joe St.Onge, Chris Marshall and Niels Meyer many fun tours and lines (both new and familiar) were explored and skied. Not to worry, there are still some hidden treasures left out there!

The barbarians taking advantage of the corduroy on the approach

Corduroy on the approach

Too many peaks, too little time

Too many peaks, too little time, I think he may be back…

Good stability ice snack

Good stability ice snack

Judy, dropping into the burn

Judy, dropping into the burn

5,000 vertical and still going strong in the burn

5,000 vertical and still going strong in the burn

DoctorsPhysicainsSurgeons

DoctorsPhysicainsSurgeons

Mike carving

Mike carving

up in the sun to the Land of the Lost

up in the sun to the Land of the Lost

Loving the views

Loving the views

Buckley: the man, the myth...

Buckley: the man, the myth…

ahhh

ahhh

Mike laying it out

Mike laying it out

John DPS style

John DPS style

Mike, surveying the country

Mike, surveying the country

Mackay's first backcountry experience (we think he's hooked)

Mackay’s first backcountry experience (we think he’s hooked)

Stan, stoked

Stan, stoked

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Mackay: Easy floater

Mackay: Easy floater

Wolverine stash

Wolverine stash

Climbing into the sun for some more powder

Climbing into the sun for some more powder

The Pioneers beckoning

The Pioneers beckoning

SVT guide, Chris Marshall, leading the way into the next powder stash

SVT guide, Chris Marshall, leading the way into the next powder stash

oh yeah!

oh yeah!

Rus enjoying the pow

Rus enjoying the pow

king-pow

king-pow

Lunch at the ridge-top cafe

Lunch at the ridge-top cafe

mmm

mmm

Stan, sampling some corn

Stan, sampling some corn

SVT Guide, Chris, cranking in the corn

SVT Guide, Chris, cranking in the corn

Pow blast

Pow blast

Young Niels, taking the tail guide shot

Young Niels, taking the tail guide shot

The team on day 4

The team on day 4

SVT Guide, Joe St.Onge, letting it rip.

SVT Guide, Joe St.Onge, letting it rip.

Jun 242014
 
Evening light at the fire pit

Evening light at the fire pit

We are just back from celebrating the Summer Solstice on the point at the new Coyote Yurts. After the Beaver Creek wild fire burned the Coyote Yurts last August, its been quite a journey to bring the Coyote Yurts back to life. This past weekend marked the final (planned) stage in this process! Joe, Niels and Aysha went up a couple days early to finish construction of the outdoor areas including benches and stoop on the deck, picnic table, barbeque, new fire pit and dance floor on the point and a bike corral. It all turned out beautifully. Then it was time for friends and family to converge in this special spot to enjoy the longest day of the year. Biking, hiking, dancing, good food and good times!

Finishing the carpentry projects to get the new yurts ready for summer

Finishing the carpentry projects to get the new yurts ready for summer

Sunset on June 20th, readying for the shortest night of the year

Sunset on June 20th, readying for the shortest night of the year

the new "front stoop" makes for a great seat

the new “front stoop” makes for a great seat

Sunset June 20th

Sunset June 20th

hunter...

hunter…

Kids LOVE the yurt experience!

Kids LOVE the yurt experience!

mmm, smores!

mmm, smores!

Neve trying out the new bow

Neve trying out the new bow

Morning coffee on the deck

Morning coffee on the deck

The deck makes for a comfy hang spot any-time of day.

The deck makes for a comfy hang spot any-time of day.

The comfy new benches and a view forever

The comfy new benches and a view forever

Flowers everywhere!

Flowers everywhere!

Cleaning out the trails for the season

Cleaning out the trails for the season

Fox Peak sure is riding nice!

Fox Peak sure is riding nice!

Can't hold back a smile on these trails!

Can’t hold back a smile on these trails!

The newlyweds on the point.

The newlyweds on the point.

Dance party on the point!

Dance party on the point!

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Wow, what a view!

Wow, what a view!

Scoping the riding

Scoping the riding

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up, up...

up, up…

and away!

and away!

The driving approach to the Coyote Yurts

The driving approach to the Coyote Yurts

Jun 022014
 
Mark Weir, Jamie Goldman and Aaron Chase: Stoked!

Mark Weir, Jamie Goldman and Aaron Chase: Stoked!

“Are there rattle snakes here?” asked Jamie Goldman, a pro rider from Oregon I was charged with guiding.
“Never seen one on this side of Democrat Gulch” I said while pointing to the east, “but over there…”

I was pointing toward Lambs Gulch, a local favorite South Valley trail, where the year before an intrepid hiker photographed a rattle snake hibernacula. For those that don’t know, a hibernacula is basically a ball of writhing rattle snakes that congregate together, sometimes by the hundreds, to stay warm during the long winter months. The photograph made the local paper and led to horrific visions for those that frequent these trails. It wasn’t uncommon to see a normally tough mountain guy jump and shriek with visions of the hibernacula when a large cricket fluttered by.

Mark Weir high in the Smokey's Mountains, Idaho

Mark Weir high in the Smokey Mountains, Idaho

All that silly fear was warranted, as I had once ridden over the middle of a basking rattle snake on that very trail, both the snake and I left shaking. But not over here on the new school flow trails recently built to maximize speed and stoke for local riders. While less than a mile away, I had never even seen a snake here nor heard any of the stories that were common on Lambs. Sometimes we fool ourselves to avoid fear.

It was about 2 minutes later, flying down the whoops, banks and rolls of the Centerline trail, when the telltale rattle caused me to veer off into the scrub. My bike went flying and I did my best to windmill my legs and arms to stay upright and avoid the snake I had just ridden over. Jamie, at full speed, just bunny hopped over the fanged reptile with grace and poise. It looked like he had rehearsed this move a hundred times.

Jamie Goldman manual

Jamie Goldman manual

This was the first day of a ten day mountain bike trip I was guiding. This wasn’t our normal bike guiding. We had three top pros, 2 camera men, a fully outfitted shuttle vehicle, a well-stocked yurt, big plans and lots of ice cold beer. It was the cameras and the pros that made the difference.

I have been a mountain guide now for 20 years. My focus has been on climbing and descending mountains, but typically on skis. For much of my adult life I have been too focused on these snowy environs to spend much time on bikes. Typically I would migrate to different hemispheres and higher altitudes/latitudes as soon as the snow began to melt. That all changed when my wife and I moved to Hailey to work as backcountry ski guides 13 years ago. The summers were so nice: flowers, clear running streams, lots of sunshine and miles upon miles of epic single track leading throughout the rugged mountains of Central Idaho. The biking I had done before was not the same. Mostly scrappy affairs involving skidding down too steep trails and doing my best to avoid getting injured. But here in Idaho it was different. The trails were buff. They climbed, curved and descended through enchanted landscapes that went on as far as you could. I was mesmerized by the flow and the potential. Suddenly, I became aware of the similarities between backcountry skiing and mountain biking and the fire they both stoked. I actually began to look forward to the non-snow months.

Mark Weir carving

Mark Weir carving

Now here I was, an unlikely bike guide. With all the mountain guiding I have done, I generally feel pretty comfortable taking people into harsh and consequential environments for fun. But typically my skill and experience outweighs that of my guests. I was not even close on this trip. We had Mark Weir, a long time racer and cross-country animal; Aaron Chase, the bike-handling wizard; and Jamie Goldman, big air phenomenon. We also had a duffel bag full of 50+ GoPro cameras and two dedicated pro photographers (we called them the GoProographers) and a mission to capture “the goods.” While my riding will never equal theirs, I did have a secret weapon. My advantage was an intimate knowledge of these mountains, trails and a sweet Yurt in the middle of it all.

Backcountry bike rack at the old Coyote Yurts

Backcountry bike rack at the old Coyote Yurts

32 years ago, Joe Leonard built the first dedicated backcountry ski yurt in the Sawtooth Mountains. Yurts have been used for millennia by herders on the steppes of Central Asia, but it wasn’t until Joe built one in the Sawtooth, that they were used to house thrill-seeking backcountry skiers. And the idea spread. A couple of years later, Bob Jonas and Sun Valley Trekking took over Joe Leonard’s yurts and built 5 more, strategically located to take advantage of the best the Idaho backcountry has to offer. But that ‘best’ was focused on powder skiing. Luckily, one of those ski yurts also happened to be at one of the premier trail junctions in the Idaho backcountry. The Coyote Yurt sits on a promontory ridge at 8700’ in the headwaters of the East Fork of Baker Creek. It is here, on the flanks of Fox Peak that some of Idaho’s most storied mountain bike trails meet — Easley Gulch, Oregon Gulch, Fox Peak, Warm Springs Ridge, Alden Gulch, Rooks Creek, and Osberg Ridge all make their high points here. But these aren’t the typical town rides, these trails are out there and most that have ridden them require a fair bit of energy, time and skill to do so. When folks do put in the time and energy, these trails afford the best of what Idaho backcountry riding has to offer. And there is a cool backcountry yurt for a base camp right there. Just last year, the Beaver Creek wild fire consumed the Coyote Yurts in its flaming hunger. The loss of this amazing backcountry yurt was profound and we quickly mobilized to rebuild. The result of the effort is one of the most aesthetic backcountry yurts ever, ready to stoke bikers.

The New Coyote Yurts

The New Coyote Yurts

Leaving the Yurt on the Osberg Ridge Trail with endless Idaho trails...

Leaving the Yurt on the Osberg Ridge Trail with endless Idaho trails…

Since first riding my bike from the Coyote Yurt on these trails 13 years ago, I knew this was very special. Until recently, wolf and mountain lion tracks were more common than other bike tracks on the headwater trails. That has changed, and most locals and many visiting bikers are discovering this zone. The Forest Service recently retrofitted one of the backbone trails (Warm Springs Ridge, now known as the Osberg Ridge Trail) to provide 12 miles of high, remote single track bliss and a connector to a myriad of other trails. There is talk of building even more trails in this area in the future.
Ultimately, this trip was an opportunity to share what I consider to be among the best riding in the world with several very experienced and discerning riders. I was eager to see their reaction as we linked close to 200 miles of single track from our yurt home. The pure stoke we shared day after day of riding was a tremendously gratifying experience. But, upon reflection, the most remarkable thing about our adventure was the paradigm shift in my own perspective on biking. To watch these guys visualize and then ride a section of single track was truly awesome. And while these trails are familiar to me, the style that each would ride opened my eyes to how a bike can be ridden. Full commitment and ultimate skill were paired with a machine of engineered perfection in a land of splendor. Like a ski, the bike can be an instrument of art, linking landscapes in a fluid and poetic manner. I have witnessed what can be done, and now I have the inspiration to try to actualize it, if I can just avoid the snakes.

Taking the long way to Coyote

Taking the long way to Coyote

Full commitment sometimes means this...

Full commitment sometimes means this…

Apr 082014
 
Cover Girls.

Cover Girls.

Just back from an awesome 2 day trip to the Coyote yurts with the Sirens of Snow. Perfect corn, settled powder and lots of FUN!

Making the initial climb toward the Coyote yurts

Making the initial climb toward the Coyote yurts

Corn:30 on the souths

Corn:30 on the souths

wide open bowls!

wide open bowls!

Beaver Creek Fire makes a dramatic backdrop

Beaver Creek Fire makes a dramatic backdrop

chat-track

chat-track

Powder on the north burns!

Powder on the north burns!

woohoo!

woohoo!

Nothing like powder under an April Sun!

Nothing like powder under an April Sun!

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Joanie turning  the burn

Joanie turning the burn

"hey, hey we are the monkeys...."

“hey, hey we are the monkeys….”

Arriving at the Coyote Yurts after a 4000' day of skiing

Arriving at the Coyote Yurts after a 4000′ day of skiing

Ah, frozen margaritas hit the spot!

Ah, frozen margaritas hit the spot!

Nothing but the finest wine served!

Nothing but the finest wine served!

Pato and Alisa enjoying the Apres

Pato and Alisa enjoying the Apres

Trudy and the view

Trudy and the view

Now what is Pato doing?

Now what is Pato doing?

nothing like the sauna

nothing like the sauna

those aren't her real boobs!

those aren’t her real boobs!

sharing good food and good times around the table

sharing good food and good times around the table

sunrise at Coyote

sunrise at Coyote

The morning light is beautiful

The morning light is beautiful

Surface hoar and the Pios at the point

Surface hoar and the Pios at the point

nice boobs!

nice boobs!

Heading for another day of fun!

Heading for another day of fun!

and away we go

and away we go

stoked

stoked

hard to beat the views around Coyote Yurts

hard to beat the views around Coyote Yurts

Morning powder

Morning powder

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Yehaw!

Yehaw!

Bond Girls cranking corn

Bond Girls cranking corn

perfect peel-away corn

perfect peel-away corn

no fun had here

no fun had here

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The Team

The Team

Final run back to the valley

Final run back to the valley

sure was sweet!

sure was sweet!

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Mar 142014
 
The team on day 1 approach to Coyote

The team on day 1 approach to Coyote

Wow, what a great 3 days of spring skiing at the new Coyote Yurts! Bob and Kate (from our local backcountry ski shop: the Elephant’s Perch) joined our Canadian friends, Bernard and Sheri, for an action packed 3 days exploring the new burn skiing around Coyote with Joe. Splitter blue sky days made for an amazing backdrop of peaks, powder, corn and shadow lined burn skiing. We barely scratched the surface of the new north facing burned timber skiing possible and we skied a lot!

Oh yeah, the new Yurts are awesome too!

The 1st exploratory burn turns on the approach

The 1st exploratory burn turns on the approach

yep, Bob thinks it skis pretty good!

yep, Bob thinks it skis pretty good!

almost to the yurt on day 1

almost to the yurt on day 1

nothing like good corn snow to make you smile

nothing like good corn snow to make you smile

ahhh, the big south slopes of Little Round Top on the approach to Coyote are sweet

ahhh, the big south slopes of Little Round Top on the approach to Coyote are sweet

and a bit of corn on the souths

and a bit of corn on the souths

evening glow lighting up the ski tracks, a great view at the end of a fun day

evening glow lighting up the ski tracks, a great view at the end of a fun day

Day 2 heading out from the yurt

Day 2 heading out from the yurt

shadow skin

shadow skin

there's a lot of new burn skiing out there

there’s a lot of new burn skiing out there

Sheri enjoying the burnin' powder

Sheri enjoying the burnin’ powder

wow

wow

yes

yes

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coming home after a long day of FUN skiing

coming home after a long day of FUN skiing

Day 3

Day 3

the view from Coyote Yurts is pretty sweet

the view from Coyote Yurts is pretty sweet

what goes up...

what goes up…

...must come down

…must come down

1200' north facing burn lines out the door of the Yurt

1200′ north facing burn lines out the door of the Yurt

yep, Bob likes it

yep, Bob likes it

just open enough

just open enough

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yeoman's duty, Niels and Alisa carrying BIG packs on the way out

yeoman’s duty, Niels and Alisa carrying BIG packs on the way out

cranking corn turns on the exit from Coyote

cranking corn turns on the exit from Coyote

pretty much sums it up!

pretty much sums it up!

Dec 232013
 

SVT guides: Joe and Ed just returned from a quick trip into the East Fork of Baker Creek to check conditions around Tornak and Coyote Yurts. Despite a thin snowpack, they found soft powder conditions and endless new ski lines in the Beaver Creek fire.

Thin snow powder skiing

Thin snow powder skiing

New Burn lines on Fox  Peak

New Burn lines on Fox Peak

New eyes as Ed scopes all the new burn skiing in familiar terrain

New eyes as Ed scopes all the new burn skiing in familiar terrain

Lots of beautiful new ski lines around Coyote

Lots of beautiful new ski lines around Coyote

Dropping in to a new line

Dropping in to a new line

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Skiing among the ghosts

Skiing among the ghosts

Beaver Creek Fire

Beaver Creek Fire