Turtle Mountain 2013-03-23

We had received snow/rain, depending on elevation, all week… the skies cleared on Friday afternoon and the sun was forecasted to shine all weekend. The calls went out to our riding friends and before long we had a group ready to tear up some fresh Powder on Saturday in Turtle.

As forecasted, the skies were clear on Saturday morning with the air crisp and cool. The group consisted of Rozzy, Randy, Riley, Duke, Kevin, Brian, Laird and myself. We had just completed an engine overhaul on Rozzy’s #2 sled, as such I opted to drive it for the day to break it in and ensure all was in correct working order, and incidentally, the sled performed flawlessly and didn’t require a wrench to be put to it. Most of the group were on boosted Yammies, with the exception of two Polaris Pros. We staged at Boulder Parking Lot which was in great spring condition, the lot was dry gravel, but the trail was snow covered and groomed right up to the Trail Pass Booth.

The trail was frozen from the cold overnight temperatures with no snow for track lubrication until nearly 6 km, and then only marginal,… scratchers down and drag the feet when you could seemed to keep the sleds cool. The non-groomed trail up towards Turtle was pounded and moguled the entire way to the cutblock. We sat back and waited for the large group in front of us to hopefully get clear of the hazards in the cutblock, they mostly did, just a few random stuck sleds to work around on our rip up thru the trees. Someone had shoveled and cut a sweet sidehill trail across the “ditch”, …never seen that before, must have taken an hour or more!!

We opted to drop into a deep little canyon on our way in, most riders pass it by so we knew it would be untracked, as it was. This provided me my first photo ops for the day, while the group spread out and used up the powder, I captured some great pics while the riders captured some great freshies in the face!!

On back to Clint’s Bowl, where Rozzy found a new treeline climb, which he blasted up and made look way too easy. The group climbed all the usual runs and soon we were off again. As we crossed over the range, Duke wanted to take a poke at the Mustang Chute, one practice approach run and then he blasted to the top with his mighty side-piped Apex Turbo. Next stop, Porcupine Creek where Laird had been mining gold from the creek a month previous, haha. Some more playing and ripping through the treed meadows and small climbs. The snow was awesome, about a foot and a half deep, nice dry powder, just great for playing and carving in, …the sun was brilliant, the snow was glistening and the glare was enough to hurt your eyes at times. After using up the meadows, we climbed the North ridge along side of the Lakes and had lunch up on the ridge in a position which provided us with a tremendous view of the valley below as well as the majestic peaks around us. After lunch we played our way west and dropped down onto Pebble Beach. the usual large groups were collected on Pebble Beach, visiting and enjoying/basking in the sun.

The Sister’s were calling and before long Randy and Rozzy answered the call. I took pictures from below as they slayed all of the chutes, taking turns and making them all in good fashion. A couple of two stroke Turbo’s came over to make some pulls but were all out of steam by the time they got to the chutes and had to turn out. The Big Yammies were making it look easy, but both the Boosted XM Doo and the Boosted Polaris Pro were closer to the bottom than they were to the top!!

From there we crossed over the next range and dropped down into “Chain Breaker Bowl” which again was completely untouched. The snow was magnificent down in this little bowl, it usually always is, haha. The spring afternoon sun tends to focus in this little bowl and radiates it’s warmth in all directions. The snow was good on all but the South faces which had setup pretty firm. A few weeks back we had been in there and made some new climbs that had never been pulled before, Rozzy had made a wicked climb up a very near vertical face that gives one the creeps when looking down it. On that occasion he made it look easy, he opted to run it again, however, this time around the snow was set in a wild wind lip at the top, which sent him off course, curving to the right with gravity adding its force, he was in trouble!! His right ski caught a tree just the apex of his loop, which stopped his sled instantly, Rozzy was ejected over the bars and sent somersaulting, flying, rolling, flipping and sliding down this near vertical face. Some snow dislodged and started to accumulate with him in his rapid decent, as such he deployed his avy bag just to be safe. In the end it wasn’t required, but it helped us keep track of him. He slammed into some trees with his body on  the way down, he was cruising fast and was lucky to not have suffered any broken bones or serious injuries. He tumbled, slid and flew well over 200 metres in his rapid decent. As it was he had a sore ass and some general aches. Poor “Wayne”, his intrepid mighty steed was still hanging up on the edge waiting for a rescue.

We drove our sleds around to the top and hiked down to Wayne, the face was indeed very steep and treacherous. With four or five guys shovelling, it took and hour to build a level pad to pull Wayne into, and then off the tree. After much debate, we opted to send Wayne down Ghost Rider style and hoped he would pick a path away from the trees below. No such luck, his path curved with the obvious lay of the snow and tore into a large group of spruce with a thunderous crash. He had a full head of steam when he hit the trees, the impact broke/tore the left front shock clear out of the front suspension, never to be found!! Some collateral damage to plastic body panels and the fiberglass hood, “Wayne” was not looking quite as proper as he had before. Oh well, at least Rozzy was fine and Wayne is fixable!

We whittled a piece of Spruce branch to fit into the space of the missing front shock and secured it in place with some rope lashings, …all was in order and ready for a stiff ride out. Unfortunately, Wayne had also broke his break lever off when he launched himself into the large trees, as such, Rozzy had to ride him all the way out and down with no brakes, …which is no small feat in itself considering the route out and the size of the hills!

The days are getting much longer now, so it is a challenge to come out in the darkness as is our preference for most of the season. We did still manage to use up most of the day and our fuel, and once again met the groomer around 3 km so we had a nice smooth trail out for the last bit.

Another spectacular day and a great ride with good friends!!!

Cheers!  Cpt. Ron

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