Copper Mountain


Copper Mountain is our first ski trip of the season.

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We had been eagerly watching the snow gauges, waiting for enough cover to start the '09/'10 ski season. When NOAA said partly sunny and the Banner Creek summit gauge said 22", it was time to go.

Bob was going to spend the night, so he drove Moby, his camper van. Tom and I drove up through Idaho City. We got to the pullout about 15 minutes before Bob, so were already walking down the road when Bob got there. I think Bob did that on purpose so that Tom and I would break trail. Here's Tom nearing the lunch trees, with the summit poking up on the horizon. Partly sunny.


From just above there, we could see Bob way below us. So we pulled skins and got in our first turns of the year. Nice snow.

Clouds moving in.


Then all three of us plugged our way up to the top under a lowering cloud ceiling. From what we could tell, the top of the mountain had not been above freezing for some time.

We poked around, tagged the top, and investigated the always-scary cornices.

Then we hid from the slight breeze behind a couple of rimed trees and had lunch. A short lunch, because the clouds were continuing their slow settling and we didn't want to have to ski in a white out.

Cloud ceiling

But before we head down... a look over the north face, which had slid. Two of the several gullies had been scoured pretty well. It's not clear, but it looked a bit like someone had purposely broken one of the cornices. Was that the trigger? Don't know, but we thought we could see the debris flow about 1500' below us.

Avalanche path

But on the south side, the snow was safe and really quite tasty. Here's Tom blowin' pow.


Tom in the powder

And Bob attempting to run me over.

We made two runs. The first was from the summit, the second from a bit below. And then it was time to head for the car.

For the most part, the snow was really fun. There were holes underneath, probably sage-brush domes, where you would be gliding along and suddenly drop about a foot. And there were some thin spots under big trees near the bottom of the ridge.

But we all agreed: a great day with fun skiing.


Mr. Natural Home | 2009 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski