Personal log of a novice backcountry skier in his backyard
Last Saturday it started snowing and raining all over the Northern half of Spain until today, when we’ve had our first break. The next episode of rain and snow is supposed to start tomorrow, so I had to take advantage of today at any cost! Presently we’ve got a high avalanche danger in the Pyrenees, with N faces crawling under up to 2m of fresh snow, a mix of wet and dry stuff as the temps have been changing a lot and there’s been rainy episodes too. Seeing this I decided to stay local and have a look at Saioa, not sure of what I was about to find: wet cement? ice (we had very low temps forecasted for last night)? no snow at all (it rained a lot yesterday)?
So I took it easy and we got there well after noon… When driving up the Puerto de Artesiaga, I was very happy to have brand new winter threads on my car because of the fresh snow and ice on the road. We got there finally and the mountain looked great, snow from the road all the way up the Saioa! I had to wait for some climbing/skiing regiment soldiers to drive away with their big trucks (not much parking at the col), got changed and off I went! I decided to leave my insoles in the car and, although my feet felt very loose, at least I didn’t get any new blisters.
The snow was a mix of packed snow with some pow (one inch) from last night. There wasn’t many of us out there (I guess most were already on their way home), and I had a lovely ski down looking for powder pockets. Later I had a nice plato combinado in Irurita with the Scottish girl -she went hiking while I was skinning up-, and we drove back home with lots of fresh mountain air in our lungs and a nice break from the office and the computer screens!
There’s more snow and foul weather on our way, so Saioa might be visited soon again (another break on Tuesday/Wednesday according to the charts!!).