It is amazing to me that Ketchum, Hailey, and Sun Valley become so quiet in the spring! But, at the same time, I guess we locals like it that way.
Today I woke up to 30 degrees and blue skies. With the south slopes free of snow, I snuck in a quick hike up ‘The Staircase’ which is a trail (sort of) that climbs the ridge directly across the valley from the base of Warm Springs.
Although I got a little carried away, due to spectacular views and lots of wildlife (elk, deer, grouse, and other birds), I extended the route and took the cross-country route back to Heidelberg Hill. Despite this detour, the hike took less than two hours (door to door) and I was at work by 9:00 a.m.
After catching up at the store, I was able to arrange a meeting on the chairlift with friend and advisor Bob Stadshaug at noon. By now it was sunny, 50 degrees on the mountain and the we caught the corn just as it was ‘going off.’ If you have ever skied Baldy on spring corn snow, you know it provides some of the best spring skiing in the world! For many knowledgable skiers, corn snow is the best snow of the season and today these people had a very good argument. To top it off, the mountain was occupied by us, and a few of our good friends.
I made it back to work a little after 2, although a beer at Apple’s was very tempting, and if it wasn’t for some needed catch up here at work I would be tempted to play 9 holes of golf, drink a beer in the sunshine at Grumpy’s, or even go for a Mountain Bike ride like yesterday after work. That is correct, the mountain biking, although limited due to snow, is very good.
Yesterday, I broke out the chamois and went for a spin out Sunnyside to Lanes Trail and turned around at the junction of Citizens trail and rode it back the way I came. Citizens looked good but this early in the season the ride was all I needed. I have also heard good reports from Hidden Valley out Croy Canyon, Carbonate Mountain, and The White Clouds in Sun Valley. If you want to get out there, make sure you reference for the latest trail conditions and a list of what is open and closed at http://summertrailink.bcrd.org/.
As for my favorite part of spring, it is no doubt the backcountry skiing. March, April, May, and sometimes June are the months that provide the safest windows to ski those lines that are generally to dangerous in the earlier months of the season. And, this time of year is when your ski legs are ready for those lines and adventures. The snowpack depth generally peaks in April and powder is frequently found into May, particularly in Sawtooths where their seems to be leaky faucet that has a way of depositing snow without anyone who is not paying attention knowing about it.
Now if I can just find time to go Steelhead fishing on The Salmon I would really be doing central Idaho right! As you might know, the upper Salmon River and its tributaries hold one of the longest and highest altitude Steelhead runs in the world and April is prime time. We are a little over half way through the run but, the fun factor is peaking as the fishing has gone from prospecting runs and holes to sight fishing for the magnificant fish. Of course, Sun Valley Mountain Guides has the best guides and permits on the best water to make this adventure a reality.
Just typical mud season in Idaho…
(click for larger images)
Check out the latest installment of Sturtevants’ TV to experience Spring in the Sawtooth backcountry!