Ever since we came back from Whistler I always felt like big mountain skiing was missing in my life. Being from the east coast the options are limited when it comes to steep bowls. After a few satisfying adventures in the Chic-Chocs this winter, I felt I needed to try out another classic spot before I wrapped up my season.
On April 30th, Jeremy and I hit the road towards Mt Washington hoping that it would give us the thrills we needed. We weren’t sure about the weather but it seemed like we had a two-day window.
"After a few satisfying adventures in the Chic-Chocs this winter, I felt I needed to try out another classic spot before I wrapped up my season."
The idea behind going at this time of year was not only to benefit from warmer weather in the shelter at night, but also to be able to skin up the approach, making it easier on the load we had to carry.
We were somewhat relieved that the snowpack was still pretty decent. After all, resorts in Quebec were closing and summer was right around the corner. We really didn’t know what to expect. What we got was winter weather with a wet layer of early spring powder from the night before.
After dropping off some gear in the shelters, we headed up Hillman’s Highway to begin. Clouds were rolling in and visibility was getting worse as we carefully continued our ascent until we couldn’t see five feet in front of us.
After a few tests to confirm the avalanche danger was pretty low, we headed down into whiteout conditions. A thick layer of crust had hardened the snowpack making it pretty hard to get decent turns in. However, we still made the most out of our first run at Tucks
Hard conditions to ski in but we were surprised to find winter type snowpack in the ravine at this time of year.
Our night wasn’t really as satisfying as our first run however. Below 0 temperatures in the shelter made it hard to get some sleep, often waking up to shake up our frozen toes. One thing is for sure, we definitely enjoyed the early morning sunlight as we prepared for another ascent.
" When visibility is good, this place is heaven for thrillseekers."
We were lucky enough to have the sun on our side this time. We left early with the hopes of being the first ones to get to the ravine. Good visibility and warm weather made it suitable for us to finally boot pack left gully without any concerns. Views were great and the bowl was looking glorious. At that moment I figured out why this place was so iconic.
Unfortunately clouds rolled in during our ascent making it impossible to get at the run we had initially planned out. After waiting about an hour for it to clear up up top, it was with a heavy heart that we finally skied down left gully in whiteout conditions. We didn’t get to tackle the steeper parts of the ravine this year but Tucks is now on my list of must-dos every spring.