Feb 282016
 
Climbing into the alpine above the Pioneer yurt is always inspiring

Climbing into the alpine above the Pioneer yurt is always inspiring

SVT guide, Joe St.Onge and apprentice Chris Cullaz, led a group of local ladies into the Pioneer Yurt this week. Perfect powder conditions, big peaks and the sublime beauty of the Pioneers worked its magic. What a place we call home!

Approaching the Pioneer Yurt on day 1 with beautiful weather

Approaching the Pioneer Yurt on day 1 with beautiful weather

Climbing the Peanut above the yurt with amazing backdrop

Climbing the Peanut above the yurt with amazing backdrop

We call this zone "Little Alaska"

We call this zone “Little Alaska”

Perfect powder above the yurt

Perfect powder above the yurt

Skiers and snowboarders playing happily together

Skiers and snowboarders playing happily together

#puremountainstoke

#puremountainstoke

The final turns back to the yurt with the setting sun

The final turns back to the yurt with the setting sun

good to the last drop

good to the last drop

schussing into cocktails, appetizers and a nice sauna after plentiful powder

schussing into cocktails, appetizers and a nice sauna after plentiful powder

a little light reading after a sauna

a little light reading after a sauna

sometimes things can get a bit...... at the yurt

sometimes things can get a bit…… at the yurt

Hyndman Peak, the tallest of the Pioneers commands the view above the yurt

Hyndman Peak, the tallest of the Pioneers commands the view above the yurt

The gals looking back toward Sun Valley and noticing how small Baldy looks

The gals looking back toward Sun Valley and noticing how small Baldy looks

The final steps toward the col du Hyndman

The final steps toward the col du Hyndman

Carving turns beneath the big peaks

Carving turns beneath the big peaks

Powder, friends and a beautiful setting

Powder, friends and a beautiful setting

It's getting hot...

It’s getting hot…

The final turns end a prefect 2 days in the Pioneers

The final turns end a prefect 2 days in the Pioneers

Oct 232015
 
Autumn beauty riding out from Coyote Yurts

Autumn beauty riding out from Coyote Yurts

Autumn is transition time. It’s a time of long shadows, cold nights and anticipation of the winter to come. It is the time when we at SVT are prepping the 6 backcountry ski huts and prepping our legs and lungs for the ski season ahead. While we cut wood at three huts using trucks, much of the work we are doing at the huts requires access via human power. For us, that typically means riding our bikes. We are blessed with an awesome network of trails in our local mountains that allow us to spin our bikes, often with awkward loads, from hut to hut. The bikes have an added benefit of prepping our bodies for the ski touring season while providing the feeling of “flow” that is so vital to our souls.

SVT owner and guide, Joe St.Onge and partners, are just back from a big day (26 miles and over 7,000′ of riding) yesterday while checking in at Coyote, Tornak and Boulder Yurts. The trails were frozen solid and covered in frost in the morning and melted to “corn dirt” by mid-day. What follows are a collection of pictures from yesterday as well as from the past month of hut projects in the mountains.

Here’s to sucking the marrow from a beautiful autumn in anticipation of an awesome ski season!

Dave, riding up to Coyote Yurts

Dave, riding up to Coyote Yurts

Endless mountains and trails in the Smokey Mountains near the Coyote and Tornak Huts

Endless mountains and trails in the Smokey Mountains near the Coyote and Tornak Huts

What an office we have!

What an office we have!

Brian, dirt carving on the scenic way out of Coyote Yurts

Brian, dirt carving on the scenic way out of Coyote Yurts

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The newly relocated Boulder outhouse: with a view of Boulder Peak

The newly relocated Boulder outhouse: with a view of Boulder Peak

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Boulder yurts looking ready for the first skiers

Boulder yurts looking ready for the first skiers

The Pioneers above the Pio Yurt in all their glory

The Pioneers above the Pio Yurt in all their glory

Friends help insulate the Pioneer yurt for the coming season

Friends help insulate the Pioneer yurt for the coming season

Coyote Yurts, ready for the snow to fly

Coyote Yurts, ready for the snow to fly

SVT guides, Joe and Toby, buck up the sauna wood at Boulder Yurts

SVT guides, Joe and Toby, buck up the sauna wood at Boulder Yurts

SVT guide, Niels, braves a awkward load in style on the way to Fishhook Yurts

SVT guide, Niels, braves a awkward load in style on the way to Fishhook Yurts

Retired SVT guide/intern, Brian, finds some air coming into the Coyote Yurts

Retired SVT guide/intern, Brian, finds some air coming into the Coyote Yurts

The crew, biking through Tornak Huts on the way to Coyote Yurts to button up the huts for the snow to fly

The crew, biking through Tornak Huts on the way to Coyote Yurts to button up the huts for the snow to fly

SVT guides, JP and Toby, proud of the tight stack at Boulder Yurts

SVT guides, JP and Toby, proud of the tight stack at Boulder Yurts

SVT guide/owner, Joe St.Onge, bucking up a big tree at Boulder Yurts

SVT guide/owner, Joe St.Onge, bucking up a big tree at Boulder Yurts

Apr 022015
 

Stoked to be getting high

It’s ski mountaineering season here in the high peaks of Idaho!  SVT guide, Joe St.Onge, and a group of intrepid Montanans are just back from 4 days of peak skiing based out of the Pioneer Yurt.  While the snow has been rapidly melting this spring, we are still finding good to excellent ski conditions in the alpine, and the Pioneer Yurt is a great place to visit if you want to go alpine!  The approach to the Pioneer Yurt is largely snow free at this point (don’t even think about snowmobile access!), but we can drive to the summer trailhead.  Once at the Yurt, conditions are a bit bony for another 800′, but there is reliable coverage and good ski conditions in the alpine basins above.  It may not last long, so get it while you can!  Enjoy the pics!

Ah, in the high country!

Ah, in the high country!

Climbing into the Duncan's Bowl

Climbing into the Duncan’s Bowl

Stoked to be at 11,000'

Stoked to be at 11,000′

Ripping corn

Ripping corn in formation

Bob, laying it out

Bob, laying it out

Cranking the peel-away

Cranking the peel-away

Bush Hawk, flying

Bush Hawk, flying

It's a bit bony getting into the high country from the yurt

It’s a bit bony getting into the high country from the yurt

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Apprentice guides, Niels and Aysha

Apprentice guides, Dynamite and Snowflake

Mikey, the man

Mikey, the man

Mark, loving the mountains

Mark, loving the mountains

Climbing Goat Peak

Climbing Goat Peak

The Higher You Get...

The Higher You Get…

Mikey on the summit of Goat

Mikey on the summit of Goat

The Heart of the Pioneers

The Heart of the Pioneers

Perfect corn on the summit snow fields

Perfect corn on the summit snow fields

yehaw

yehaw

soft and carvy

soft and carvy

spring fun in the alpine

spring fun in the alpine

Scotty, stoked

Scotty, stoked

Climbing back to the yurt

Climbing back to the yurt

Bob, checking out the 3000' bowl of Duncans

Bob, checking out the 3000′ bowl of Duncans

Couldn't pass this corn slope up on the way back to the yurt

Couldn’t pass this corn slope up on the way back to the yurt

Climbing toward Hyndamn

Climbing toward Hyndamn

The ascent of Hyndman in firm conditions

The ascent of Hyndman in firm conditions

Approaching the summit of Hyndman

Approaching the summit of Hyndman

The last steps to the summit

The last steps to the summit

Stoked to be on top of the highest Peak in the Pioneers

Stoked to be on top of the highest Peak in the Pioneers

Skiing the summit snowfields of Hyndman

Skiing the summit snowfields of Hyndman

Cranking turns down the face of Hyndman

Cranking turns down the face of Hyndman

Rest break mid-descent

Rest break mid-descent

Aysha coming down the lower crux

Snowflake coming down the lower crux

Arcing down the Hyndman Basin back to the Yurt

Arcing down the Hyndman Basin back to the Yurt

Climbing toward the Dorsal Fin

Climbing toward the Dorsal Fin

The crew, in the Throne Room of the Mountain Guides

The crew, in the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods

Climbing the Dorsal Fin Couloir

Climbing the Dorsal Fin Couloir

Steep

Steep

Stoked to be getting high

The final steps at the top of the Dorsal Fin Couloir

The final steps at the top of the Dorsal Fin Couloir

Mikey

Mikey

Lunch with a view

Lunch with a view

Top of Dorsal Fin

Top of Dorsal Fin

Getting ready for the steeps

Getting ready for the steeps

Oh, yeah

Oh, yeah

sweet!

sweet!

Carvable

Carvable

Mikey cranking

Mikey cranking

Hop turns on the steeps

Hop turns on the steeps

After the couloir, comes the apron

After the couloir, comes the apron

Craving the apron

Carving the apron

Cold beer after a great ski

Cold beer after a great ski

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making the descent on snow-ribbons off the Peanut back toward the trailhead

making the descent on snow-ribbons off the Peanut back toward the trailhead

Yep, it's pretty bony down low.

Yep, it’s pretty bony down low.

The last few steps to the car

The last few steps to the car

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.

Feb 232014
 

Wow.  What a past 3 weeks it has been!  Our mountains have received snow for 22 of the past 26 days.  The snow totals are impressive, with the Sawtooth having received approximately 7′ over this period and the other mountains in our area receiving over 4-5′!

The relatively dry early winter left us craving deep powder, but also left us knowing that when/if it came we would be facing a difficult avalanche problem.  This is currently our situation: We have very tricky and dangerous avalanche conditions in the backcountry which has the potential to linger for a long time. The plethora of new snow has fallen on a highly variable and extremely weak early season snow pack.  This is a relatively unique stability scenario that should be treated with respect and caution.  We are seeing many avalanches on most aspects and elevations and starting on relatively low slope angles.  We are also seeing large avalanches triggered remotely from afar and running long distances.  Skiers should be acutely aware of keeping slope angles less than 30 degrees and to stay away from run out zones (both large and small).  This is a great time to hire a professional guide who is acutely aware of the current stability issues and well trained and experienced with navigating out of avalanche terrain.  We are finding excellent ski conditions on safe terrain (see pics below)!

The skiing has been phenomenal.  We have been too busy skiing the deep powder over the past few weeks to keep up on the blog posts, so we are posting a series of photos from the various mountain ranges, huts and tours we have been guiding over the past few weeks.  Enjoy!

YES!

YES!

Powder Flight on the pass

Powder Flight on the pass

Skinning the Cross

Skinning the Cross

yehaw!

yehaw!

Skiing the gentle powder

Skiing the gentle powder

SVT Guide Joe St.Onge Kung POW

SVT Guide Joe St.Onge Kung POW

 

SVT guide, Chris Marshall, getting face-shots on the pass!

SVT guide, Chris Marshall, getting face-shots on the pass!

ahh, the beauty!

ahh, the beauty!

Skinning in the Pios

Skinning in the Pios

Powder on the Peanut above the Pioneer Yurt

Powder on the Peanut above the Pioneer Yurt

Skinning above the Pioneer Yurt

Skinning above the Pioneer Yurt

 

Sirens of Snow traversing Galena Summit

Sirens of Snow traversing Galena Summit

A buried Bench Hut is a beautiful sight!

A buried Bench Hut is a beautiful sight!

Deep powder above Bench Hut

Deep powder above Bench Hut

Easy sliding in the deep powder

Easy sliding in the deep powder

A cozy Bench Hut after a day of deep powder skiing

A cozy Bench Hut after a day of deep powder skiing

FUN!

FUN!

Loving the low angle Powder!

Loving the low angle Powder!

Jan 202014
 

Joe St.Onge, Patrick Graham and interns: Niels Meyer and Alisa Mcgowan have just returned from 7 days in the Pioneer Mountains on a winter mountaineering training with a production crew from the BBC. An action packed week focused on learning skills related to avalanche safety, forecasting and rescue as well as backcountry skiing and mountaineering skills. the Pioneer Yurt served as base camp and the team also put in a high camp at 10,500 for a alpine ascent of Hyndman Peak. Conditions included a generally low snowpack and wind affected snow with hazards related to widespread wind slabs. The less then optimal ski conditions were balanced by the phenomenal setting and wonderful crew from the BBC. We look forward to seeing the ambitious and sure to be amazing footage to be produced by this intrepid film crew over the next couple of years!

Climbing above the Pioneer Yurt to the Peanut

Climbing above the Pioneer Yurt to the Peanut

Getting ready for a movie night at the Pioneer Yurt

Getting ready for a movie night at the Pioneer Yurt

Entering into the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods

Entering into the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods

Duncan's Basin

Duncan’s Basin

Alpine glow on Cobb

Alpine glow on Cobb

the Team

the Team

Stoked after carving turns on the wind buff

Stoked after carving turns on the wind buff

finding soft-ish snow in the Hyndman basin

finding soft-ish snow in the Hyndman basin

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What a place to learn to ski!

What a place to learn to ski!

and phenomenal light

and phenomenal light

Spindrift and sunset= mountain magic

Spindrift and sunset= mountain magic

ahh, freedom of the hills!

ahh, freedom of the hills!

Climbing toward high camp

Climbing toward high camp

squeezing the last light out of each day with a ski

squeezing the last light out of each day with a ski

The snow kitchen  at high camp

The snow kitchen at high camp

High camp beneath among the giants

High camp beneath among the giants

High camp 2

High camp 2

climbing on Hyndman Peak

climbing on Hyndman Peak

The Team high in the mountains!

The Team high in the mountains!