“A steep and gnarly south-facing chute.”
— J. Bella
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
Need to Know
Avalanche terrain. This is the only "safe" line through a gnarly cliff band. It is recommended to study the line, know how to recognize the entrance and don't miss it, from the top there is a similar-looking line adjacent in the cliffs to the east which is not rideable and would be difficult to climb out of. Once confident you can find the line and ride it, it is not a very thrilling run, although there are much better and bigger lines around that provide better snow. What is attractive is its rugged nature and wilderness appeal so close to the village, and sense of accomplishment after riding this kind of potentially dangerous line.
This gnarly gem is tucked away in a cliff band at the head of Long Canyon
's west ridge. It has only been ridden a handful of times, as the southerly exposure and rocky terrain doesn't hold snow every year. After most storms it usually melts out within a week. During a big snow year or prolonged cold spell, a rideable snowpack can accumulate in this chute. There are two routes to access the top, the easiest being the Snowshoe Approach
from the Bull of the Woods Trail
. This route requires bushwhacking through tight stands of trees and is not for beginners.
Once on the ridge above the chute, start riding down through mixed conifer and aspen trees and stay right; this is important
if you go left there's a similar looking couloir that cliffs out and is not rideable. If you're uncertain whether you're on the right line, keep going right into an aspen glade. Looking at this area from across the valley, this glade looks like a diamond.
When you're on the proper route, find your way down to where the trees open up and the chute begins, skier's left of the aspen glade where the rock outcrop starts. There are scattered scrub oaks and willows, with open lines among the brush. Cliffs line the top half then it opens up into an apron with aspen trees dispersed across the slope. Ride the apron through the aspens, into the pine forest where the terrain levels out. Cross this flat area and drop through the trees back to the trail.