Exploring Backcountry Terrain at Mission Ridge (video)
Emission 3.2 - The Back 40 Mission
By Jared Eygabroad
Our simple mission to explore Mission’s “Back 40“ turned into an eye-opening experience. Both Kyle and I thought we knew Mission’s sidecountry terrain so well, but we immediately found out that we had been missing out on THE GOODS. Not only did we not know the terrain like we thought we did, we discovered new chutes, cliffs, and untouched powder fields we never new existed. It was almost as if this place was an undiscovered world that didn’t allow anyone to experience its many secrets from only gazing up from below.
Not many people know that Mission has 2000 acres and and 2200 vertical feet. Even more don’t know that these numbers make Mission Ridge a larger mountain that the Alta Ski Resort in Utah. What’s more, anyone who skis at Mission Ridge has the ability to board the high speed quad, hike for 20 minutes, and then take a non-stop run of 2200 vertical feet to the parking lot. Oh, and did I mention there would be fresh tracks two weeks after the storm?
It was two weeks after the last snowstorm when Kyle and I began hiking and traversing to the Bowl 4 area of Mission’s sidecountry. It was sunny, and the inversion left our fingers tired from snapping so many photos. I have never seen anything like it, mountains were poking their peaks out like islands in a sea of dense rolling clouds. It was absolutely beautiful and it made me feel like anyone would enjoy this area of Mission Ridge, whether they were on a mission to find new chutes and cliffs like Kyle and I were, or just on a mission to find “optical pleasure.”
The problem with skiing and being a filmer are logistics. Me to Kyle, “Ok, I’m giving you the GoPro and I am strapping this 15 pound camera setup to my backpack and two feet above my head so I can film this chute I’m going to go ski. I just have to ski it and I’ll have to ski it clean. Go ahead and point the GoPro at me so I get the top shot too. Then, I’ll have my good camera down below to film you as you come down your line, as long as I don’t crash and break anything of course. Make sure to press record on the GoPro when you ski your line. Dropping.”
Kyle followed directions. I did not. The high center of gravity of my Canon 60D mounted on the bulky tripod suspended from my pack led to my demise as I burst from the chute at mach speed, losing control at the traverse line. I began to ragdoll, over and over. Even though it was two weeks since the last storm, my feet, then head, then feet, then head, kept hitting soft deep snow. Praise God.
As I looked around at my yard sale, I remembered the camera tied awkwardly to my pack. Was it still there?!? I took it off and much to my surprise, it was still on and apparently still filming. When I played back the footage, it was strange because during the fall, the camera took photos instead of video while I tomahawked again and again until stopping. It was an epic fall and I have to admit, I was bummed I wasn’t going to relive the carnival ride. Nevertheless, my trusty 60D was working and we finished out the day filming and skiing until the closing hours of the mountain. What a great day.
The moral of the story? I don’t think there is one. I just know that if you’ve never experienced Mission’s lift-serviced backcountry, you need to. It’s a whole other world out there... every time you enter.