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Cowboy Ridge North # 6225

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Date: 2005.01.18
Vantage Point: From top of Cowboy Ridge North

Caption: Good turns in cold snow on the west aspect of the popular Cowboy Ridge in the Whistler backcountry.

PhotoDescr: Christmas brought a wonderful present for those on the South Coast of BC. Cool temperatures and a short, but intense storm dropped up to 40cm of mid-winter powder at upper elevations. During the event, wind speeds were low, and the result was a fine layer of dry powder that kept backcountry skiers going for nearly two weeks.

As the tracks added up on the more popular slopes, skiers travelled further and further afield to get in some turns on untracked slopes. A fair lack of snow at lower elevations stopped most backcountry users from using lower trailheads on a regular basis. Conversely, the lift systems of Whistler/Blackcomb allowed a great many people to quickly get to a good, stable base in the high country.

One spot that seemed particularly popular was Cowboy Ridge. Accessed either from the Whistler lift system or the Singing Pass Trail under normal conditions, this area was attracting a great many people across the Musical Bumps. Good climbing tracks interspersed with fine descents along the way served as appetizers for the main course, and a great many backcountry folk spent the better part of a day making multiple tracks on Cowboy's west face.

In this photo, Kevin makes another set of tracks down the N end of the west face. Although the snowpack wasn't deep (watch out for those creeks!), it was stable and the powder on top was wonderfully dry. A good band of trees to skier's right provided a little security on a fairly steep climbing track to the top. It was so good we did four laps before heading to the south end of the ridge.

Return for the moment is best along the Musical Bumps. A descent via the Singing Pass Trail would make for an excellent light show (sparks!) in the low light of a early winter evening.

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