Monday, February 8, 2010

Backcountry Powder Skiing on Mt. Pinos on Super Bowl Sunday (Los Padres National Forest, California)

Alex Macmillan, a senior at The Thacher School (Ojai, CA), and I discovered 5-6" of fresh snow on Mt. Pinos this past Super Bowl Sunday. We left Ojai at 6:20 AM, and by 8:30 were skinning up the first hill before dropping down our first run of the day (the first image below). We marveled at the gray-blue skies, the cold (22 degrees F), the thickly rimed needles on the conifers, and, of course, the superb skiing. Mt. Pinos is described as a nordic ski area (with a road to the top but no lifts), but with the right snowpack it also has good backcountry downhill skiing.

We made it back to Ojai in time for Alex to join his classmates for a Super Bowl party and for me to enjoy the rest of the afternoon playing in the sunshine with my twin daughters Adeline and Daisy. I may be a little biased as a seventh generation Californian, but I am consistently surprised and impressed by the variety of landscape and the potential for honest adventure in our backyard.

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A-Mac on our first run of the day

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Alex Macmillan - aka A-Mac

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Skinning back up after one of the best runs of the day

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Skinning up through Jeffrey Pine encased in rime below the summit plateau

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Glade skiing below the summit plateau

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Man in the landscape: Alex airing off granite boulders

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Second to last run before heading home

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Hitching a ride back up the road. We squeezed into the back of a Ford Bronco (I emphasize the "squeeze") of a snowboarder also named Alex. He turned out to be a Chewonki/Maine Coast Semester grad as well. Small world! Thanks for stopping and giving us a ride buddy!

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