Location: Immediately North of KHMR boundary
Minimum time: 40 minutes
Vertical: 500 feet
Avalanche Terrain Rating: Complex
Unfortunately, the top of Mini Ridge is way more difficult to access than it should be. Thanks to Purcell Heliskiing’s political closure, which is strictly enforced by KHMR’s ski patrol, the legitimate route to the top of the ridge is anything but direct.
Drop one of the upper lines down Feuz Bowl and cut north across the flats of the bowl towards the well-marked permanent closure. Ducking the rope here is grounds for getting your pass pulled, so be aware of where you are. The ski patrol has set up the boundary line in such a manner that you can ascend the East face of the ridge without dipping into the closure. Sometimes there’s a bootpack. Sometimes there’s a skin trail. Often, there’s nothing at all. Climb next to the boundary line until you’re at the unmistakable entrance of one of the many chutes on the ridge.
The lines off of Mini Ridge may seem innocuous, but industry professionals take one look at the terrain and shudder. Strange loading patterns, hydrothermal vents under the snow and a general lack of skier compaction make the area prone to avalanche activity.
The steep, narrow chutes are leeward and tend to see heavy loading at ridge top. Watch out for honking cornices.
However, when the conditions are right, the short lines off the ridge are a great place to let out a few big turns before sending an air and cruising out the bottom. Be careful of the hungry compression at the base of a few of the upper lines, especially when the stability is questionable.
After sampling the goods on that ridge, you can shred some glades back to the resort or cut north across the bowl and skin up Rudi’s south.