The entrance to the Slides is from the drop zone of the Summit Quad. After exiting the lift, quickly move skier’s left to clear the chair. Patrol will often have orange mesh fencing set up to control access to the Slides. Be prepared with beacon in send mode, shovel and probes. Depending on the avy level established by Ski Patrol you may need this gear.
After passing through the entrance you sidestep-traverse up a narrow track that leads to the Slides. You should be in good physical shape as you will gain elevation. If you are breathing hard or feel overly exerted you may want to turn around because the descent is more demanding than the climb.
After the traverse through Slide In, you come out into another world! The first slide path to your right is Slide 1. It offers 1,600 vertical feet over a half mile with an average grade of 31 degrees. Slide 1 can be the easiest or hardest route down depending on snow levels and conditions. Slide 1 skis like an open western bowl. During a marginal year the ice flow section can be very difficult or unskiable.
The top is similar to an ungroomed Skyward; relatively steep and wide. Tight right often holds deep pockets of wind blown snow. Down the middle and rider’s left is often thinner but contain fun rock features. The top of Slide 1 drops off abruptly into the headwall or “ice flow” section. Here the slope cascades over a series of rock shelves which are often encased in “Adirondack marble” during the colder months of the season. In the spring as temps warm, these ice flows turn to slush and experienced experts start the huckfest in earnest. Regardless of the time of the season, smart decisions are a must on the headwall.
If patrol ropes off the headwall, do not ignore it. Ducking the rope can be dangerous or fatal. When roped, cut skier’s left into Slide 2’s middle tree zone or hug the left most edge of the headwall. If you can hold this six-foot wide path, you’ll scream right down the fall line on what is usually a dependable snow surface.
Some people also drop into the ice flow section on extreme skier’s right. This route is dangerous. It requires some step-offs and must-make turns to avoid trees, ice and rocks. However, once safely past the headwall, a nice apron of powder on a modest slope runs all the way to “bottom of slides.” In the spring or before a freeze-thaw cycle the snow is often perfect for ripping right down the headwall, hop-turning from one level to the next. The most experienced skiers send it, stomping all three drops. If you head through the waterfall make sure you control your speed as you route find your way.
Slide 1 is the most avalanche prone and avy debris can make it difficult to ski. At the time of this writing, Slide 1 last avalanched in 2011.
|Slide 1||Slide 2||Slide 2B||Slide 3||Slide 4||Slide Out|