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Great shots! Those brown hills are gorgeous draped in white. 

I'm waiting for the day that Grandeur Peak outside my front door has enough
cover to bury the rubble, but I'm not holding my breath. I've seen tracks on
it before, but not enough to drag me out there.

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-----Original Message-----
From: Vermont Skiing Discussion and Snow Reports
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jim Crowley
Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2008 8:14 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SKIVT-L] (Non-VT) La Nina's bounty in the PNW

The downside of this seemingly never-ending parade of snowstorms is that
avalanche danger in the backcountry goes up. Ski resorts in SW Idaho
reported 4-7 feet of snow this past week, and the Snotel site near where
I was planning to ski today has gone from 65" to 100" this past week. My
skiing buddy and I decided to not ski in the mountains today given all
this new snow. Another storm is expected tonight, so tomorrow is also
off.

The resorts are an option, as I do have a pass , but I'd prefer to ski
there only if there are no backcountry options. 

The upside of all these storms is that there is snow at lower
elevations, places that normally don't have more than an inch or two
snow on the ground in normal winters, giving us an opportunity to ski in
places that are usually not skiable. One such place is the Boise
Foothills that lie between the city and the mountains. The Foothills are
a semi-arid environment, brown throughout the year except when they are
green for a few weeks in the spring. Since I moved to Boise a year ago,
I've asked all backcountry skiers I've met whether they've ever skied in
the Foothills. They all said "no", but they've heard stories of skiing
there back in great snow years of the 1980's.

I headed out to the Foothills today just expecting to do some
kick-and-glide touring on the mountain bike trails, with hopes of
getting in a few turns if I found enough snow.

The hills certainly look prettier in their winter white than summer
brown:
http://jimcrowley.smugmug.com/gallery/4271308/0#250154243-A-LB 

I was never far above the city:
http://jimcrowley.smugmug.com/gallery/4271308/0#250154173-A-LB

Many slopes piqued my interest for making some turns as I headed up the
mountain bike trail:
http://jimcrowley.smugmug.com/gallery/4271308/0#250154189-A-LB 
http://jimcrowley.smugmug.com/gallery/4271308/0#250154023-A-LB 

But most were highly wind-affected by strong S to SE winds, some had
too much sagebrush, and some were so wind-loaded at the top that I was
concerned about snow stability, so I kept looking for the perfect
slope.

I eventually found a nice slope that was not too steep, not too mellow,
not too wind-affected, and actually had some unmolested powder at the
bottom in a wind-protected nook. The turns were buttery smooth in
between the sagebrush:
http://jimcrowley.smugmug.com/gallery/4271308/0#250154002-A-LB 
http://jimcrowley.smugmug.com/gallery/4271308/0#250153400-A-LB 
http://jimcrowley.smugmug.com/gallery/4271308/0#250152669-A-LB 

The hill was only 400' or so of vertical, so I lapped it up:
http://jimcrowley.smugmug.com/gallery/4271308/0#250152590-A-LB 

There is lots of terrain in the Foothills, but with all the wind they
get, I wouldn't ever expect to get long runs with good snow from top to
bottom. Rather, just pockets of good snow in wind-protected areas.

I'll get back into the mountains once the snow let's up a bit.

Jim

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