The French Poodle

When Scott mentioned Grizzly Chute to me the night before I felt a small surge of adrenaline. I haven’t really stepped it up in awhile and the line that Newsome mentioned is steep and aggressive. His particular line I have never seen tracks down it. So at 6 am I picked up Frank and we met Newsome in Rogers Pass. The morning sun was just hitting Grizzly Mountain and it glowed with potential. mt-grizzly.jpg

Frank toured up Grizzly shoulder while we powered up Grizzly Mountain. Frank was in a great position to film our descent and we raced the sunlight up the mountain. Charging up its south face I could see that we were about to miss the sun. Which we did,but by this point it was the lines we were psyched about and not the footage.

As I set the trail to the summit I was blown away by the snow. 20-40 cm of light fluffy snow flakes, that had somehow not been wind affected at all. This was a great indication that windloading had been minor and that there would most likely be no windslab lurking in our descents. I spent the whole approach visualizing how I would ski the Grizzly chute aka the french poodle. I planned to ski it with temerity, I formulated a confident plan on how I would ski each part of it. How and where I would avoid my slough, where I would slow to check behind me and exactly where my safe spots were.

The sun dipped behind the clouds but by this time I was ready to rip it up. Realising that the video we would get may not be great I positioned my skis over the descent and visualised my run one last time. And then skied the chute like I have never skied it. Fast and aggressive for the first 800 feet, checking for slough… nothing was following me… deep deep snow flashed by as I careened down the run…as it choked up I looked back and my slough was running fast I pulled out right and let it by. Then I cut out onto an exposed face and skied a few tentative turns through 50 cm of light powder. I looked back up the 40′ slope and could not believe that nothing was moving. I kept it up and finished off the face and down into the bowl, 2500 feet of non stop aggressive alpine skiing. grizzly.jpg
I then turned and took a few photos of Newsome as he snowboarded his line. As I mentioned previously I have never seen tracks down his line. A fantastic line that he has dreamt about for years. After the run he went home and Frank and I toured back up Grizzly so that Frank could ski the chute.

We spent the rest of the day filming a few descents down the South face of the summit as we toured upwards. I skied 3 fun and fast runs and by 3.30 we were finally on the summit. A beautiful sunset ended our great day.sunset.jpg

11400 feet of skiing, day 20 turned out to be the best of the year. Unbelievable! I think of all the skiing I have had and then imagine that I am only 20% of the way to my goal. I have so much incredibly skiing ahead of me!

  1. Jason Blevins January 4, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    Hey Greg … absolutely inspiring effort. You planning on being at the 24 Hours of Sunlight? If so, plz ping me : Hoping to hook up for a story. Thanks and Happy New Year. – Jason

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