December 21, 2017 – Solstice turns at the Pass

Winter solstice looked like the last chance for powder turns in a year that started out with much promise but was quickly turning into a winter to forget, so Joe and I made plans to head to the Pass to take full advantage of the fresh snow.  We met at Pleasant Hill and made the short drive up 58 to the Pass, where we were greeted with blue skies and about a foot of fresh cold smoke.

Snow Zone

We quickly donned skins and headed up.  An added bonus was that the pass had made a couple of passes with the snow cat, so we didn’t have to break trail.  The views along the skin track are always nice, and the view back towards Mt Yoran to the south was no exception…

Mt Yoran in the distance

We soon worked our way to Eagles, and were a bit surprised at the coverage.  While it was covered in new snow, it was quite a bit thinner than when I was there last in mid-November.  Nevertheless, we pushed onward and upward…

Skinning up Eagle’s

When we got to the top of Peak 2, the snow stake read 32 inches.  Northern looked pretty good, so we decided to give ‘er a go.  I dropped in first, and set up to shoot a few shots of Joe ripping the pow in the sunshine…

Joe dropping in

The turns were excellent, and we ripped the run to the bottom and skinned back up for another lap.  This time, we decided to check out June’s Run, where I found three nice big rocks,  The turns were decent, but the skiing a bit more tentative than our first lap, so we decided to get another run in on Northern.  At the top, we took a break for some food and beverage, and greeted Laurie as she skinned up.  After a brief chat, we dropped in for our third run of the day.  This time Joe grabbed the camera and snapped a few photos of me getting some of the goods…

Solstice pow turns
Matt getting some whiteroom action

That second run on Northern was probably the best run of the day, and the smile on my face in the photo below says all that needs to be said about how it felt….

More cold smoke

At the bottom, we made the decision to head back up for one more lap before heading back to the front.  Skinning up, I snapped a few pictures of Laurie skinning below…

Laurie heading up

Our final lap on the backside was on Escalator, and the turns didn’t disappoint.  I had the camera, and snapped several pics of Joe ripping the pow, including a couple of shots shown below….

Joe enjoying solstice turns
Turns on Escalator

With our fourth run in the books, we headed over to the front to hang out at the top of EPA for awhile, enjoying the views and a frosty cold beverage.  The sun was intensely warm for winter solstice, and the snow in the direct sunlight on the south exposures was actually melting.

Oakshire IPA in the sunlight
Looking out over Lakeview Peak and Odell Lake

We made the decision to head down and ski RTS for our exit back to the truck, which was probably a mistake in retrospect, but whatever.  There were a few trees showing, but we wanted to check out the work of Dan and Kevin at the bottom of the run since they’d done some saw work the week previous.  As the photo below shows, the run was clearly ready to open to the public:)

“Skiing” RTS

The bottom of the run skied decent, and for how bad RTS was overall, our line choice was redeemed when we skied Rough Cut to the base.  The turns down Rough Cut were pretty choice, and when we got back to the truck we both agreed it was a pretty good day of solstice turns at the Pass.  Until next time…let it snow!


  1. Bobby
    January 25, 2018

    Hi Matt,

    Great blog. I’ve been following it for a few years now, and always get stoked on your posts for year-round turns.

    I just learned about this adventure grant through the American Alpine Club and Jones Snowboards and figured you might be into it, if you haven’t already applied:

    Until then, here’s hoping the Pass gets more snow.

  2. Matt
    January 31, 2018

    Thanks Bobby for the comment and link! Yes, hoping we get some more snow soon!!!

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