Sunday, January 24, 2010

Backcountry Snowboarding In The Los Padres National Forest 1-23-10

It's hard to believe that we live this close to such good backcountry ski and snowboard action! Mt Pinos, barely two hours away is at the edge of our LPNF and about 8000' above Santa Barbara. Lots of rain and cold conditions this week meant snow at Mt Pinos, and I had been tracking the amounts all week. At the parking lot they had received about 3-4 feet and up higher much more than that.

The road to the top of Mt Pinos is a great grade for skinning on x-country skis or in my case skinning on a split snowboard. A split snowboard is a snowboard that has been built out of two longitudinal pieces that can be separated to create a pair of skis. "Skins" are applied to the base to assist in climbing uphill and are removed when heading going down. A little heavier than a normal snowboard and a little more awkward than a pair of x-country skis but able to do far more than either.

My Split Board As One

"Ski Mode"

The adventure at Mt Pinos starts at the parking lot which has great views of the two "Signature Bowls". Both these bowls looked far too unstable and I avoided going anywhere near them today.
The Mcgill Trail, a fun hiking and biking trail in the Summer and a great winter trail when conditions allow.
For my route this time I followed Mt Pinos Road approximately 3 miles up to an area known as "Vroom and Board". The road was in the process of being plowed as shown below so a little hiking was done before strapping on my skis to skin uphill.
The views from Mt. Pinos into the Lockwood Valley were spectacular.
Lockwood Valley
I noticed the snow to be a little more packed today and easier to ski up. I soon found out why, this local had rode his snowmobile up the day before and was headed to the top again today.

I had the creamy powder of the Vroom and Board Bowls all to myself.

The Vroom and Board Bowl views

The Cornice

A few of the other people on the snow this day.
Plug Of The Day- Auto Trac Snow Chains, they take about a minute to put on and no need to stop and tighten as you go because they self tighten.
Some of the things I like about backcountry are that you can go anywhere do anything with no limitations, not to mention the lack of crowds, great workout and it's free! This particular day I saw maybe 6 other people heading up to the top. Get out there and enjoy before it's all gone- Dave

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