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Kendall Ridge, January 8, 2011

Scott Otterson was in town for a mere week from Denmark, so Kevin and I wanted to get him up on a tour at least once this year. Thursday was the original plan, but 5,500 ft. freezing levels and pouring rain didn't sound too inviting to anyone. The freezing level dropped in a hurry early Saturday morning, and the telemetry for Alpental said 6 inches of new, so we decided to give Kendall Ridge a try.

Scott's one of those guys who insists on telemarking regardless of the consequences, and had some new 7TM Tours to deal with. Apparently they worked pretty well on the skin up, and helped quite a bit with the uphill kickturns, but ice in the mechanism kept him from switching over into ski mode on several occasions . . . one of these days we'll convince him to just chuck it all in and switch to Dyafits. Not that there isn't a learning curve to using them, but at least his friends can explain the "tricks" to him in the field.

We passed a few groups on the way up - two Pro Guiding groups, with Ben Haskell as one of the guides, and a couple of independents as well. Kevin stopped and chatted with Ben for a few, trading "hose" jokes or whatever, and we continued up to the ridge. As usual, the last few hundred feet was pretty crusty, and we switched to booting for the finale.

I set off a sizable 16" windslab with a ski cut as I entered the bowl proper, which probably gave the two classes ample subject matter for discussion as well as impetus to dig some pits. The skiing down was fantastic in the upper bowl and small trees below, so we headed back up for more. 700 ft. of skinning later, we moved over to the far skier's left of the Kendall meadow for more untracked, which was even better. With Scott heading back to Denmark tomorrow for work and not due to return until May, we had to admit that he'd picked a nice day for his only ski tour of 2011 . . .

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