Growing up, Christmas Eve is all about anticipation. Looking forward to all the delicious treats and presents under the tree is enough to drive any kid crazy. I was never too good at waiting until Christmas morning to find out what I got, so the week leading up to the big day was always a bit of a scavenger hunt in my house. The conditions on the mountain today are a lot like that week was as a child. Mother Nature left us some great presents out there, you just have to find them.
The cold temps this morning and high winds have kept a lot of people indoors, so the slopes are pretty empty, and there is tons of powder left over from the last week of storms. The first place I would always look for my presents as a kid was my parents’ closet. This morning was no different. Because of the wind blowing the snow around all night, there are some pretty deep sections in Closet and Shadows. Look for the openings in the trees and hug the edges to find the deepest piles.
The powder isn’t just hiding in the trees today. A lot of the open runs on the Sundown side, like One O’Clock and Twilight, have untouched stashes sitting on the edge of the trees.
After a few great runs on Sundown, I decided to head to the Storm Peak side of the mountain to search for more presents. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed. A few runs on Pony, and I had found plenty of fresh turns in Nash Junction and Chuckwagon trees. The trees over there hold a lot of snow and are a nice low angle area for learning to ride in trees.
After searching all morning, I had found plenty of little gifts all over the mountain, but I hadn’t yet found the big one. That came only after heading all the way to the top of the mountain and dropping in to Chute 2. With only a few tracks leading in, the main gullies were in perfect shape and the apron below the cliffs was perfect for some nice wide powder turns at the bottom.
If you want your presents early, you have to work for it. But with these conditions, you won’t have to work too hard.
Dan Tullos, snowboarder