It was our first backcountry ski trip for the season, so Haidee and I were keen to ski something accessible and straight forward to kick things off. Some hot laps of Nitonupuri’s southwestern face seemed just the ticket.
Like usual, the trailhead was fairly busy. We had arrived before 8am, but it was already busy with large groups and a number of cars parked along the roadside.
We followed along the snowed in Route 66 behind the enormous group of Japanese skiers for about the first 30 minutes, before overtaking them when they stopped for a break.
The snow was in good condition as we took a long climbing traverse to the western side of the mountain. The sun came out every now and then too, allowing us some contrast on the wintry snowscape and views northwest over to Chisenupuri.
We got to the treeline, and decided that this would be far enough for us today. We were keen to get in a couple of laps on good snow. Soon the large group of Japanese skiers caught up on us, and overtook on what seemed to be their way to the summit proper.
We made a quick transition and skied the southwest slope, through Nitonupuri’s famous well-spaced old-growth forests.
Back at the skin track, we quickly slapped on the skins again to skin back up the established skin track. We arrived back at the treeline 30 minutes later and ripped skins. There were two other skiers doing the same, trying to make the most of the good snow on the lower forested slopes of Nitonupuri.
This time around, we decided to head a bit further south, to ski a broad gully just north of the prominent Nitonupuri Southwestern Nose. There was a bit of plateau traversing to be done, but it gave us a bit more variation for our second (and final) run of the day. Today was for taking it easy.
This south-southwestern slope spat us out onto our skin track, so we followed this back to the car. Predictably, the trailhead was now well and truly packed with cars along the side of the road.