click on pictures for large versions
One of our favorite playgrounds in the magnificent Schell Creek Range was prime for some
great skiing this weekend. Several Ely'ites' went over and tracked it up on this fine Saturday.
The days of having this spot to myself are gone but I don't mind as long as the skiers tracking
it up do so with big smiles on their face. JW
words and photos by Dan Morris
Trip Report 1-21-06 Timber Creek ( Mainstreet and Weavers Bane in the Schell Creek Range)
Julie, Neil, Joshua and I headed up to Mainstreet for some turns last Saturday. It was very cold but a
blue bird day. My front wheel drive low clearance Suzuki was able to make it up to the horse camp
without chaining up. Joshua did have to push once.
The approach is nice and short compared to the long tours we have been doing up Berry Creek. As
we started to climb up Mainstreet, we saw 2 other figures gaining fast from below. Every time I
stopped to wipe the sweat out of my eyes on the climb I noticed one was gaining fast. Who was this
superhero??. I suspected it may be Mark in his light touring gear, and my suspicions were confirmed
as he caught me near the top. Julie and Joshua arrived quickly and we picked our route down skiers
left to avoid slightly buried rocks in the main bowl.
Neil and his dog Jackson had climbed up part way to practice in lower Mainstreet.
I went first, which is generally the prerogative of the one who breaks the trail. The snow was great,
about 8 inches on top of a very supportive base, the occasional rock or down woody material gave a
little friction, but I soon found my turns getting bigger and bigger as the snow was too good to stop to
take pictures of the others. I saw Neil out of the corner of my eye on the way down and Stacia near the
bottom. Before I new it, I was at the bottom, so I got a few pictures of the others as they came down.
Mark Stacia and Josh headed down, Neil spent some more time in lower mainstreet and Julie
traversed south to try out the lower aspens in the next bowl. ( her report was “deep”)
I climbed up the freeway of a skin track again planning to traverse across the top to ski the bowl that
flows into mainstreet from the south, aka Weavers Bane due to a challenging day in there last super
After reaching the top of our ski track, I traversed south gaining elevation until I hit the highest
shrubbery of an aspen. Above was all wind scoured rocks. I skied down next to the aspen which was
good but below was a slightly covered scree field, that made some grinding noise as I entered. I
quickly stopped and lightly traversed over to the top of weavers bane. The snow kept getting deeper
and deeper as I moved into the protected micro gully. Looking down was a beautiful site. The sparkly
snow was almost blinding. I skied down the open powder field thinking it was much better than
superbowl Sunday, and everyone should have done another run. After getting to the bottom I had to
climb up for another run. It was probably the best snow of the year so far. 1 foot plus, very light on a
supportive wind, sun crust.
Snow pack observations: The west facing aspects in Timber creek are getting a supportive layer
underneath. I did not punch through to the ground at all as in previous weeks up here.
There was no wumping all day.
Did not dig a pit, but ski pole probing revealed a pretty stable snowpack( no weak layers underneath)
on the west aspects. Slightly northerly aspects did have a “softer layer underneath the thick sun/ wind
crust. I could bust through this with my pole, and Julies report from in the aspens suggested she was
breaking through while skiing. Southerly aspects were pretty bomber from sun exposure and
refreezing. I would suspect that protected northerly aspects still have a weak layer and should be
approached with care. East aspects probably have some wind loading. West aspects should
continue to ski nicely as the temps are very cold. A heavy storm on top of this light stuff could give us
another dangerous cycle. There may be snow next weekend or early next week.