Mar
23
2013
Français

spring celebration

claude-h

 

Spring is here,
So far it did not bring new snow or warm temperature, but some nice sunny days, so it was enough to go to Haines Pass for a couple of days. Sun was shining, days are getting longer but temperature did not rise up to -15c during the day and close to -30c during the night with a light wind. Snow pack has been very wind affected since last week. Actually there is less snow than a week ago, the strong wind did a very good job to remove and pack the snow. Not a lot of evidences of new avalanches around. Noticed some wind slabs released, mostly in NW aspects. The snowpack now is formed by a very strong wind crust on top of a facets layer variable in depth and thickness…very hard to very hard slabs on top of a variable facets layers is a concern. The only very good news is that the wind has removed the important surface hoar that we had….it could be possible to find some pockets in very sheltered area but the wind was so strong, probably close to 90km/h.
Ski conditions are not great….sometimes very bad with big sastrugis where it is impossible to make a turn. You need to have a very sharp skier eye if you want to find some decent snow but it is possible.
haines pass

Kusawak

track snow pack So you said wind affected…a ski track from last week….now standing 10cm on top of the surface….where is the snow ?

 

Haines Pass spring day

spring day Haines Pass

haines pass Anyway, it was nice to be out and possible to find some decent snow.

zag-couloir

Mar
7
2013
Français

Haines Pass

Haines Pass, what a nice play ground for skiers. There are diverse kind of slopes, from gentle large, steep couloirs or nice ridge line.
Just like in White Pass area, the winter so far, is a bit different of what we are expecting. But last week, the weather finally gets better and gave us a bit of spring overview.

Just like in White Pass area, winter has been dry: low precipitations, a lot of windy days…even very windy, some cold snap and the result is a very variable and shallow snow pack. A very wind affected snow pack, add one or two weak layers of facets or depth hoar, a bit of wind slabs on top of it and you have the perfect cocktail for big slab avalanches. The problem is the snowpack is so variable that it is sometime very difficult to evaluate how safe a slope is. For the next weeks, we might have to be aware again, because of the nice clear nights that we had, surface hoar is now present and if it is not going to be removed by the wind or melted by the sun, it will be a thing to keep in mind after the next snowfall.
Sad news from Haines, a guide has been killed in an avalanche last week and 2 others member of the group has been injured.

But it is possible to do some nice tours and to find some good snow on safe slopes.
And do not forget to check last bulletins here http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest/yukon and check for conditions reports there http://avalanche.ca/Forums/forums/default.aspx?GroupID=3 and you could add some comments too.

Ski safe and have fun.

Jan
25
2013
Français

Into the frozen Yukon Wild

Paul Karchut, a very good telemarked and a journalist from Alberta was in the Yukon to see how people are enjoying the winter up here. He wrote a nice article and check is blog, you will find some good ideas there.

Go there : http://toqueandcanoe.com/2013/01/23/intothefrozenyukonwild/

Jan
9
2013
Français

Halcyon

Finally a very good day of skiing. Ski season has been starting slowly this winter. We were waiting weeks for new fresh snow. It is not perfect, but is becoming better with the last snowfall. The White Pass area has received approximatively 60 centimetres of new fresh snow since last week, and the wind calm down. So conditions are getting way better, even if the snow pack is still variable and thin for this time of year ( probably half that it suppose to be). So you can get there expecting some decent ski conditions, but be aware about avalanche conditions, there are still some instabilities. You can check for last updates on the CAC forum ( you can also leave yours) and do not forget to check the avalanche forecast, the Avi tec guys are doing some good job out there to provide good informations.

Today was a very good day for the weather and the quality of the snow. Temperature at Fraser was around -11c.

As you can see, a good ski penetration, about 40cm but easy to break the trail.

And very good ski conditions…

And sometimes, with a bit of tape you can fix everything…even a broken binding ;-0

Have fun and ski safe.

Claude

Dec
24
2012
Français

Merry Christmas


I wish you a Merry Christmas and an Happy New Year.
May 2013 lead your skis to some nice powder field and allow you to ride safe.

Nov
27
2012
Français

wind at White Pass

A small overview of snow conditions at White Pass: watch the video

Nov
24
2012
Français

beginning of the ski season

Ski season is starting slowly. For now, the snowpack seems to be a bit below average for this time of the year and it is really wind affected.
It is possible to ski but at low elevation the ski is not great, rocks and trees are not well buried and there is a risk to have your ski or leg trapped in holes, risk to be injured is real.
However, it is possible to ski correctly in gullies where the snow has been accumulated by the wind but be aware this kind of terrain can be a perfect terrain trap in case of avalanche that often occur in this kind of feature.
In higher elevation, ski conditions are a bit better, especially on glacier but access could be tricky.
More information about snow conditions here : http://avalanche.ca/Forums/forums/t/5630.aspx

sunrise on Caribou Mountain

Sunrise on Caribou Mountain

A bit later sunrise on White Pass, the Boundary Peaks.

From left to right: The Knee and the two peaks of Carmack, Cleveland South-East summit and Feather peak.

The Knee and the two peaks of Carmack.

Out house hill and the South Klondike highway.

Looking South toward Laughton and Sawtooth.

Wind at work transporting snow.

 

Even if snow conditions are not great, it is however possible to make some good turns in decent snow.

So season is starting slowly but snow is on his way … be ready, pretty soon we will have good conditions.

Have fun and play safe.

Claude

Nov
16
2012
Français

Winter is here….welcome winter.

Winter is here, welcome winter.

The backcountry ski season is just about to start now with the last snowfalls. It is already possible to ski at Haines Pass, and White Pass is going to provide good ski conditions soon. A good way to be informed and to post informations that you have : the CAC discussion forum

-And you, are you ready?

We are lucky to have at least two professional avalanche specialists providing interesting and useful courses. Check for opportunities and details : Avalanche North or The Sharp end

-Is your equipment ready?

Do not forget to check your binding set up. A lot of skiers think that their bindings are OK but they are not. Nothing is too bad than having some good bindings but not able to save you from a bad knee because of a wrong adjustement. If you are not sure, check on the user notice or on your bindings brand website. You can also ask to your closer ski shop, we are lucky to have two good ones not too far. Up North Adventures in Whitehorse and the Mountain Shop in Skagway.

And do not forget to check on the Yukon Avalanche Association website for a lot of new exciting things for the coming ski season.

Have a good and safe winter.

Oct
31
2012
Français

New press release

In the number 8 of Ski rando magazine, you can find an interesting article about a ski trip in Alaska and the Yukon. Click on the picture below to know more.

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