California "Backcountry," Spring 2004

When there's snow, it's ski season. The quick, easy weekend trips are what makes California skiing such a pleasure. It's simply not a big deal when you can sleep in your car, stay within sight of civilization, and have a great skiing experience without it being an epic.

"The Playground," Gaylor Peak, Tioga Pass, May 2004
Skiers: Mitch, Big Tim, Peter C., Seki and Jill, Matt Reagan, and a Teletipster

The Playground

Despite a lean spring season, there's still skiable snow just off CA-120 beyond the Yosemite Gate. These are the gullies below Gaylor Peak.

Big Tim surveys the goods.

Ski To Your Car

An unnamed Teletipster returns home after a long day. The skiing was so good, she returned with her pants on backwards.

Lift Served

A car shuttle removes about 500' from the climb. Jill and an unnamed Teletipster approve. Note the Seki Syncro, in all Its Glory, framing the West Face of Mt. Dana.

Jill rips up the main gully, while Mitch captures it on video.

*assen Peak, May 2004
Skiers: Matt Reagan, Paul Lutes, Cedrik, Banker

Bumpass Hell

Drizzle and snow threaten after a clear, calm night in the Southwest campground. We wait until a ranger delivers a positive forecast before heading up the mountain.

Southwest Face

A low snow year takes its toll on the southerly aspects.

photo by Cedrik
Big Mountain, Little Skier

Dropping in just below the summit, I get many soft corn turns.

Southeast Bowl

On the way up for a second run, the sun finally breaks through once and for all.

At Lake Helen

The road is cleared but closed, so we walk it.

*assen Summit

Or what is left after the big eruptions of 1914-1915.


Yeah, that's good corn.

All Downhill From Here

But the snow really hasn't gone anywhere, sun or no sun.

Green Creek Couloir, Eastern Sierra, May 2004
Skiers: Matt Reagan, Ben Shefftz, Tony Rabinowitz

Car Shuttling

You can gain extra vertical with well-placed car shuttles and a little road walking.

Mt. Dunderberg (East Peak)

This looks like an ideal camping spot.

Serious Vertical

Skiing something like this really makes one feel like they have accomplished something.

Kavanaugh Ridge

The ridge itself is a nice gentle climb to point 11,147.

In the Green Creek Couloir

Dropping 3,000' from 11,147' on Kavanaugh Ridge north of Mt. Dunderberg, this chute has a long, consistent pitch and a very aesthetic line.

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