This winter of endless powder turns and light fluffy snow storms is starting to feel like a distant memory as we settle into the freeze-thaw of spring time. I wanted to take a moment and relive one of the many great days we had this winter. On February 25th we were informed by snow safety director Jim Kennedy that if the conditions remained consistent overnight we would all be able to hike the headwall and ski down Max’s Face in the morning. Beacons would be required and anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian with them in order to start the hike. We woke up to a clear day with only a few scattered clouds, it was time to hike.
Man, it is a slog getting to the top especially if there are fast people behind you. The headwall hike can be compared to a 30-40 minute stairmaster workout. Glorious sunshine greeted us as we gained the ridge top. The resort had been trapped in the shade for over 2 months and we were all starved for sunshine.
Patrol has many factors to consider before opening this kind of terrain to the public, first being snow stability. We were being blessed with the magic snowpack, tons of powder storms back to back and no deep instabilities present. Patrol restricted us to skiing the two chutes off the top of Max’s for rescue purposes. The weather was just warm enough for patrol to keep the ridge top staffed between 10 am and 4 pm.
A tent was available at the top of the hike for you to sit down and rest in but it was actually warmer out in the sun. Over the past few years thanks to some funding and effort, Patrol has managed to get rescue caches on the top of Max’s, the top of Fast Boy and the summit. They hope to get one on the top of the Monies if the terrain allows. The caches contain sleds, ropes, stove, packs and a tent.
I only took photos on the way up so here are more shots of the happy hikers.
Proud to summit the headwall at the same time as Lucy and Kit Delauriers. Kit is making history as the first person to ski from the summit of the highest mountain on all seven continents. Now she can add skiing Max’s Face to her list.
All in all it was a great day. Some people managed to get 3 laps in. According to Patrol it went off without a hitch, so hopefully with the right conditions this will be something we can ski again in the seasons to come.
Photos and story submitted by Vesna Young