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Almost untouched grooming on Patterson.
Looking back , along the Patterson meadow off trail shortcut.
A grizzly had travelled north through East Elk Pass sometime earlier in the day, and continued along Tyrwhitt ski trail.
My what big claws you have! For reference, the ski tips are 60mm wide. Fortunately Griz had already come and gone, and we were travelling in opposite directions which made me feel a bit better, but regular bear yells became a part of my afternoon.
A serendipitous but all too brief sunny break, at the grand viewpoint on the ridge between East and West Elk passes, looking west to the Elk Lakes. Clouds and flurries moved in rapidly, so no pictures of the beautiful tour through West Elk Pass.
Click here for full Elk Valley Panorama.
I was sidetracked from my plan of a modified and longer version of the "Skier Bob Special", by a tempting track leaving Tyrwhitt heading towards East Elk Pass, and ended up doing the backcountry circuit over to and through West Elk instead. Along the way I mostly followed the earlier in the day track of another lone skier, but skiers weren't the only ones out and about today! Off-trail travel conditions were excellent, and I even managed to hack out a few tentative turns in the 7 cm of soft snow over a smooth hard base, when descending the wide open logging cut to the power line on my 50 mm 3/4 metal edged skis. As for the groomed trails- Elk Pass and Patterson are still in close to pristine shape, albeit very firm and fast especially on the "big hill". I also skied small portions of Tyrwhitt and Blueberry, which were a bit softer feeling due to a few cm's of new since they were last groomed. Clouds moved in around noon and the afternoon stayed cool with scattered flurries, keeping the snow dry, and my Swix VR45 wax gripping.