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Ski 'Til You Drop

August at Ingalls Lake. Photo by Jamie Tackman.

Long-range forecasts are indicating we may be in store for another La Nina winter with lower than normal temperatures. It is what some skiing enthusiasts are calling 'The Double Dip.'

This past winter's dip has extended the ski season well into summer and fanatical skiers are still hauling the boards up to snow-level to log turns. For some of us, this has become more about novelty than efficient travel. How often can you log decent turns down our East Slope peaks in latish August?

Jamie Tackman is one of our local backcountry skiers who is still enjoying the novelty of summer turns. This winter he set a backcountry goal of skiing 100,0000 vertical feet. When he reached that goal through a lot of skinning, he pushed the number out to 150,000. For awhile he was on track, but in late spring and early summer, contract work got in the way. Now Tackman is making up for lost time --last week he hauled the skis up to Spider Meadows. This week's pursuit of those ever-more-elusive ski turns took him to Ingalls Lake. Here's his description of the skiing found:

A quick trip for the Vert Quest. I was really looking for cheap thrills in Headlight Basin, but the choices were short and steep, so I pressed on to the lake (Ingalls).  At the lake, it looked like I had missed my chance, but I decided since I was already there I should scramble up Ingalls Peak to see what it looked like. Good thing I did because I was able to find a ribbon of snow that took me all the way to the lake.  A nice trip, great views, and 1000 (vertical) feet. 

Tackman's total toward his Vert Quest is now at 139,000 feet of backcountry turns for the season. Because his tally is not about the vertical feet climbed but rather the vertical skied, the Vert Quest is getting tougher to fulfill. Two weeks ago when he visited Spider Meadows, he walked 18 miles to log 1,800 vertical feet of skiing. This past weekend had an equally grim ratio of walking (12 miles) to turning (1,000 vertical feet).

Not that Tackman cares. "The number is just an excuse to get me out the door. Whether I get much skiing in or not, I'm having a ton of fun." 


Photo: Ingalls Lake below and Mt. Stuart behind.