Occidental Powder

By:  Greg
December 20, 2010

Some of the best days of powder skiing are purely a matter of luck; one might say they are accidental. This past weekend we had one of those days. KC and I met up with Noah (who you may remember was one of the slayers of the Other White Ribbon of Death) and Austin (who’s luck–as evidenced by this Sleeper Day last March–is astounding), and aimed high with low expectation. As detailed in a quick update yesterday evening, we got spooked off steeper terrain by an alarmingly weak layer that failed without any stress added to it once it was cut free from the rest of the snowpack. This TR is about our “plan B.”

After our scare, we were glad we had the smarts, gear, and willingness to passover a glorious looking schuss. Content to be safe, we headed to the top. To our delight, at the summit the views were shaping up to be pretty nice.
The view from the top of Mt Wash

We started our day on the orient. Our expectations were low. We knew the pickings were a little slim, but were willing to attempt a navigation of the puzzle.
The orient puzzle

The undercast was this high:
the undercast over Boote Spur

Austin begins weaving his tapestry.
Austin weaving his tapestry

I tested the cracked edges of my rock skis on some fresh White Mountain rocks.
Greg testing his rock skis


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Read about the author:   Greg
Enjoy this TR? Read another: HIKE WEEK! Carried (Away) Up the Trap Dike


  1. tsctwh
    wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 9:09 am  

    Great TR!
    Things are shaping up nicely it seems.
    Those are some killer freakin photos

    Keep up the good work FIS!

    • Greg
      wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 9:29 am  

      yeah things are definitely coming together. I’d not recommend bringing any shiny new boards out just yet… but there’s some nice snowfields to be had for folks who are eager…

      then again, Austin told me there were nice snowfields to be had for eager folks back in October too!!

      You get what you pay for I’d say… :D

  2. K_C
    wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 9:24 am  

    Whoa! Nice summary of an unforgettable day. It’s not everyday the elements line up for a tour like that.

  3. Brice
    wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 9:38 am  

    Hey Guys! I’m one of the three PA readers who crossed paths with you guys heading up yesterday! Thanks again to Noah for the helpful info and just being so darn swell! Amazing shots you guys have…we stayed relatively close to the cog; especially once we got to the treeline, and found zero rocks past Jacobs Ladder…incredibly lucky day yesterday!

    • K_C
      wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 9:46 am  

      Awesome, nice running into you guys – you picked a nice day to be up there!

  4. MIcky O (ILOVE2SKI)
    wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 10:09 am  

    Sweet TR as always guys. Looks like some nice snow up there

  5. Ben
    wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 10:14 am  

    Looks beautiful!!! I love undercast…

  6. stuckinjersey
    wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 12:37 pm  

    Great shots, love the charging the clouds shot. Whom knew bretton woods has so much alpine terrain. Thanks for the work day delusions!!

  7. natron
    wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 3:29 pm  

    Well played!! Occidental powder, a hut with an obvious name and perfect pix!

  8. icelanticskier
    wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 5:40 pm  

    great photos!

    undercast is very cool. pinkham in the a.m again tomorrow. left g t2b was deluxe today. stable and soft.


    • Greg
      wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 11:16 pm  

      nice dood! saw your report! ripping!

      wish i could have made today. was hoping tomorrow would stay less spicy, but with VT coming back online, and with me being scared and all of NH when the license plates have yet to even think about turning green yet… i’m going to pass on tomorrow.

      shred some for me dude. i’ll be in touch about next week. i think natron’s chomping at the bit too

  9. bushman
    wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 7:57 pm  

    Ullr looked with favor you: sun, no wind, clouds stayed low, snow mostly covering rocks and unstiffened, no injuries, and great photos as usual. Been there, that’s a lot of work. Thanks for sharing the trip.

    • Greg
      wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 11:14 pm  

      thanks bushman. alot of work indeed. my muscles are still reeling. sore but satisfied right here…

      Ullr gave and we were willing to accept. It’s the way of our world my friend ;)

  10. Peter
    wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 8:56 pm  

    didn’t get after it like you, but we (after leaving our boots in the NEK and having to backtrack for 1-1/2 hrs) skied by moonlight Sunday evening. just a solidly good day to be in NE.

    Solstice? Full Moon? tomorrow…..

    • Greg
      wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 11:11 pm  

      that would be nice to see it.. but sadly (JK) looks like tonight’s snow will obscure visibility of the eclipse.

      anyway, i would have loved to have you along pete on this one! glad you guys had some fun, although the return trip to pick up forgotten gear is always a pain… argh!!!! will you be back around next week? i’ll send you an email to get the ball rolling. i have a bit of time the week after christmas

  11. Aaron
    wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 9:26 pm  

    You nailed what was going through my head. It sure looked like rock city. Worth it!


    • Greg
      wrote on December 20th, 2010 at 11:13 pm  

      thanks Aaron! Yeah. Rock City is right… it’s just that time of year where there are bones everywhere.

      That said there were some really great stretches of unadulterated powder. Then more rocks :D


      I refuse to complain! I absolutely refuse. :D Thanks for checking in dude!

  12. savantskis
    wrote on December 21st, 2010 at 12:18 pm  

    Great pics. Undercast might be worthy of a SPAM> thanks for sharing. Talk about a sea of white

  13. powhounddd
    wrote on December 21st, 2010 at 11:18 pm  

    Most excellent report of the snowslide-making. Supermanygood!

  14. TSQ
    wrote on December 22nd, 2010 at 8:29 am  

    Nice – great tr, love the photos.

  15. Butch Chamberlain
    wrote on February 15th, 2011 at 7:47 am  

    Hi Greg, Great shots of the decent an so forth. Looked like it might have been a bit chilly or windy or both. Quite a nice puzzle though. They can be a lot of fun. Keep on truckin’

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