Tech Tips - Ski Crampons

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Mimi Vadasz
Adminstrative Director
AMGA Certified
Ski Mountaineering Guide

Bela G. Vadasz
Technical Director
IFMGA Certified Guide

  April 7, 2009

Friends of ASI
Did you ski enough this season? Us neither. But now the real season begins, Spring skiing. While early season snow is about timing and powder, late season snow gives more flexibility for timing, and corn snow is the great equalizer, making heroes of anyone who skis it. Once April hits you can pretty much count on warmer temps, longer days, plenty of sunshine and a snowpack that is deep, dense, and safe.

Along the east side of the Sierra, that also means hot springs in the evenings, relaxing in shorts while car camping in the Owens Valley, and sleeping under the stars. If you have the time, take an extra day before or after to enjoy Mammoth Mountain.

This year the snowline is fairly high, which means access to higher elevations via car is possible, and higher peaks more attainable. With corn snow dominating all aspects and all elevations the skiing possibilities are only limited by your imagination and determination.

We have several trips planned over the next month to the High Sierra, from the week long Sierra High Route or 5-day Evolution Loop Tour to several weekend trips to peaks like Mt. Langley, Mt. Whitney, Mt. Tom and Tioga Pass. These are aggressive goals, but ones easily obtainable with the experience of ASI Guides. We encourage you to join us. If you can't, at least head to the east side for a trip on your own. Hopefully we'll meet in camp, and share the adventures of our respective tours and a brew or two.

PS: To check California's snowpack data for yourself, click here.

Eastern Sierra 2-Day Descents
Any skier who has driven California's Hwy. 395 feels like a kid looking thru the windows of a candy store. The possibilities are mind boggling. Not only do we have the keys to the candy store, we also know where the best candy is. After guiding for 30 years, these are some of our faves. Or maybe there's a peak not listed that you've lusted after for years. We're just as open to leading private trips with parties of 2 to 6 to the peak of your choice.

Mt. Tom
Apr 18-19, 2009  (Sat-Sun)

Mt. Langley
Apr 25-26, 2009  (Sat-Sun)

Mt. Whitney
Apr 25-26, 2009  (Sat-Sun)

Mt. Dade (Rock Creek)
May 2-3, 2009  (Sat-Sun)
May 9-10, 2009  (Sat-Sun)

Tioga Pass
May 30-31, 2009  (Sat-Sun)

Steep Camps
For the ultimate backcountry thrill - skiing extremely steep couloirs - you need huevos and skill. Our steep camps will hone your skiing skills on steep terrain to give you the confidence and poise you need. Learn proper techniques for ascending and descending, where mistakes are not suffered lightly.

Buttermilk Steep Camp
Apr 25-26, 2009  (Sat-Sun)

Mt. Shasta Steeps
May 2-3, 2009  (Sat-Sun)
May 9-10, 2009  (Sat-Sun)

Palisades Ski Extrême
May 16-19, 2009  (Sat-Tue)

Youth Ski Mountaineering Camp
Does your son or daughter love skiing and the mountains like you do? In this 5-day camp we give them a wide ranging introduction to the world of ski mountaineering. From a drive up base camp at Tioga Pass we cover avalanche safety, mountain rescue, skiing techniques, basic rock climbing and mountaineering skills on short day trips, then finish off with an overnight bivouac style peak climb and ski descent.

Youth Ski Mountaineering Camp
June 15-19, 2009  (Mon-Fri)

Evolution Loop 5-Day Ski Tour
The Sierra High Route has the name recognition, but there are plenty of other multi-day tours that offer equal skiing and scenery, and certainly more solitude. The Evolution Loop tour is one of those. Over the course of five days we ski from Lake Sabrina up to Muir Hut, then loop back through the Evolution Basin for a final descent from Lamarck Col back to our origin.

Evolution Loop
Apr 20-24, 2009  (Mon-Fri)

Ski Mt. Shasta
There are very few places in the world that offer the length and variety of ski descents that Mt. Shasta offers. On a clear day you can see more than 100 miles in every direction from the summit, and theoretically, you can ski in any direction for over 7,000 vertical feet. Our favorite tour is to camp away from the crowds at Hidden Valley. This puts us in perfect postion to climb and ski one of Shasta's longest, sustained pitches, or the option to ski off Shastina as well.

Shasta Hidden Valley Basecamp
May 16-18, 2009  (Sat-Mon)
May 23-25, 2009  (Sat-Mon)

We look forward to skiing with you and helping you achieve your goals. If you can't find the answer to a question on our website, don't hesitate to give us a call.

Bela & Mimi Vadasz
Alpine Skills International

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