We had our first day up on the Plateau today. It was a great session but really cold and a little gusty for comfort. Crossing the Plateau to get to the bowl was somewhat challenging. The top of the Plateau is pretty wind damaged and crusty. The bowl however is beautifully deep and soft. The terrain shape is epic to many standards.
The adventure starts at a new parking lot that was just finished this year for accessing the Brooks and Breccia Mountain backcountry ski spots. Once you park be ready to get your touring gear on and hustle. You’re facing 1,500’ climb for about an hour if you don’t get lost. The bottom mile uses a common track but you’ll turn of that track onto a kiter’s specific route that leads you to a kite launch. 9 out of 10 times the kiter’s track isn’t there and the trail needs to be broken. It’s not easy to find without someone to show you at least once or twice.
Once you’re at the launch you’ll need expert kite skills to climb out of the first platform around some rocks and trees and up to the flat topped plateau. Once you get to the top of the plateau you’ll still need patients and skills to cross the mile or so to reach the bowl. The wind hits such a vertical wall as it pours over the plateau that it’s very turbulent for such a seemingly flat area. You need to think about what is going on there and ride accordingly to grab the wind you need to get to the bowl.
Once you get to the Bowl there are 2 different places to drop in that are steep enough to slide so consider the avalanche conditions, wear beacons and be capable of flying in case of a slide. When you fly off those steeps you can easily be 100’ in the air without even trying. Take your flying skills because if you fly straight into the wind, you could find yourself gliding down the valley over ledges, rocks and trees with no safe landing zone and a difficult skin back to the road that is full of awkward terrain traps. The lighter the wind is the easier to hit the landing zone.
The runs and flying in the bowl are amazing, the lift is off the hook. There IS a concern about getting blown over the back since it is a 1500’ vertical wall. This place isn’t for everyone but all these factors make it that much more rewarding.
Once the sun sets, be ready to head straight back across the plateau. We often find ourselves there late because the wind often smoothes out in the evening. You’d think riding down the bowl would be easier but it’s not. There are amazingly steep gullies throughout the entire route and you’ll consider a snow cave to navigating the gullies in the dark. Take your headlamp (which I have used a number of times) and carefully follow your track back to the road. The skiers will leave you to die if you’re a snowboarder so be ready for a lonely hustle through the woods at the end.