December 20, 2013

Swiss Bowl Solstice

Sometimes you gotta go to know.  As J-Rock and yours truly slogged up the South Fork Trail beyond Hiland Road, conditions above looked really boney.  Windblown snow with exposed patches of tundra seemed to promise survival skiing. As we slowly ascended, step after step, I imagined breakable crust, rocks and pain. We finally arrived at the ridge line and looked over the edge into Swiss Bowl.

Swiss Bowl is a little ways off the beaten path.  Well known by skiers, but this north-facing bowl between Ship Creek and the South Fork of Eagle River receives less pressure due to the extra mile one must slog to reach it.

Reaching Swiss Bowl today held a pleasant surprise. As Jon and I peered over the ridge cornice we saw the nice blanket of powder on the best line down toward Ship Creek. The ridge of Swiss Bowl protects its slopes from the prevailing winds and almost perfectly catches the snow fall.

Jon and I followed an existing uptrack back to the ridge between the Ship Creek and South Fork Valleys and skied a very fun line back to the South Fork trail head. Though the east-facing slopes looked awful from below, we were able to link large swaths of the slope with good coverage and good skiing.

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