We didn't get too much of an early start, considering that the hike was about a half mile. So at about 10 AM we left the parking lot towards the snowfield.
|Our first view of the snowfield up close. Much of it is out of view, above the ridgeline.|
|Timo eyeing the descent.|
|Looking back at St. Mary's lake near the snowline. The cliffs on the right side of the lake are a popular cliff jumping spot, about 40 ft. tall at the highest point.|
Hiking up the snow itself proved to be the most difficult part of the day, parts of it being decently steep for running shoes.
The snow improved as we continued up, a little dusty but much better than we were expecting for July 23.
At the top of the snowfield we were treated with views of the James Peak Wilderness to the west. We didn't stay long though, as we were here for the snow, and we were anxious to ski it. I quickly popped on my boots and clicked into my skis and cruised down. Up top the snowfield had a gradual slope so it took some effort to get some speed. About halfway down, it pitched downwards towards the lake and I was able to open up some good turns. I couldn't help but let out an excited holler. We were skiing. In July. We quickly decided to head back up for round 2, this time up the steeper south side of the snowfield. Around us the clouds were beginning to build and looked like they were threatening some serious rainfall.
|Timo digging his skis into the steep snow before clicking in.|
The top of the snowfield's south side was much steeper, and a fall in running shoes would prove very nasty. It kind of felt like we were back on top a big line like this past winter. We set our skis up and skied down. This run was much more sustained vertical and we really gained some speed. I got bucked by a small runnel in the snow, but was fortunately able to save myself instead of tumbling into the rocks below.
July Skiing from Tai Koester on Vimeo.