Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tetons, Sliver Couloir

The Tetons welcomed in 2015 by dropping a massive slab avalanche off the East face of the Grand.
Can you spot the crown? Photo: Leah Samberg Story
I was able to sneak away to Jackson for a few days with Leah to ring in the New Year and play in the Tetons. While Leah was able to take advantage of a full week of bitter cold blue skies and stable powder, I was only able to ski for three short days. By showing restraint on New Year’s eve, we were able to put in a solid tour on Shadow Peak on New Year’s day, with a tracked out but enjoyable descent of the Four Hour couloir into Avalanche Canyon. The highlight of the trip was a descent of Nez Perce’s Sliver couloir with Leah. We were thrilled to find stable neve, and I was glad to check this little gem off the list. We did not ski the upper 50 feet, however, and I am of course excited to go back and link the complete Sliver with the East and West Hourglass couloirs. Before driving back to Missoula, I was also able to squeeze out a nice quick run in Jenson Canyon, taking advantage of Low/Moderate avalanche danger to gut punch one of the big avalanche paths in stable powder, solo. 

Natalie saluting in front of Teewinot. 
Natalie skiing into Four Hour.
Skiing out is serious business. Photo: Natalie Dawson
Grinding up the Sliver. Photo: Leah Samberg Story
Starting down the Sliver. Photo: Leah Samberg Story
Lower in the Sliver. Photo: Leah Samberg Story
First few powder turns in Jensen Canyon.
I had a full Dynafit binding failure on the first day when the newly repaired toe units on my Speed Superlight bindings would not come unlocked. It turned into a minor epic, but nothing too terrible. This is the fourth malfunction of Dynafit bindings I have had in well over 1,000 days of use, so I can’t complain, but the failure put the durability of the Speed Superlight toe unit into question, which is somewhat unfortunate since the toe units are otherwise a good compromise between the normal Dynafit speed toes (a little too heavy), and the auto locking Dynafit race toes (awesome but do not release).

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