Searching for Snow with Deuter Ambassador Jeremy Benson

walkThis winter has been challenging for the residents of California.  2013 was the driest year on record, and I can attest that this winter has been equally dry. The continued drought has been tough on agriculture and local economies, it has also tested the spirits of skiers, myself included, with little snow leaving many lines unskiable.

Through it all, however, there has continued to be plenty of fun and good skiing for those who've played their cards right. Anyone willing to put in a little extra effort has been rewarded. Those off the beaten track, often passed-by-for-something-cooler lines have continued to served up the goods for me in an otherwise meager season.

Three or four weeks ago, a friend and I spent several days down in the High Sierra. We checked off numerous routes for a guidebook I'm working on and tagged a couple of reliable lines, old standbys that never seem to let us down.

mikeIn the process, we did a little recon, checking out the coverage in various places for a return trip a week later. While driving up Rock Creek, between Bishop and Mammoth, I saw a set of north-facing chutes and gullies that I'd never noticed before. The clean lines they struck down the face of Mt. Morgan South was one of the most welcome sights I'd seen all winter, and the coverage appeared to be as good, or better, than anything else I'd seen this year.

A week, and 16 inches of cold powder later we returned to check out the zone we'd scoped from so far away. Despite a five-mile approach through a variety of lower-elevation thin cover forest and talus, we made our way to the Francis Gullies on Mt. Morgan South.

oscarThis collection of 1,200-1,500 foot, steep, north-facing gullies were not easy to get to, but served up the backcountry powder fix that I'd been searching for all season. Dropping in from an elevation of 13,200 feet we were treated to a veritable High Sierra powder feast, and we took full advantage of the situation, gorging ourselves on a couple runs each.

Thankfully I use the Deuter Freerider Pro 30 pack, perfect for all-day assaults in the backcountry. Not only is this pack extremely comfortable for 9 hour tours, but every element of its design is intelligently and thoughtfully laid out to improve your experience. From the A-frame ski carry, the goggle pocket, to the ventilated and supportive back system, Deuter packs are designed to perform. The best part about it is, they work so well you barely even notice that you're wearing it...

morganWhen we finally made it back to the car, we cracked beers and toasted to our day, our luck and our season. It may be one of the worst winters in California history, but we're still having a good time searching out the diamonds in the rough. Sometimes you've got to play hand you're dealt, make the most of what you've got, and this winter that's all we can do. Fortunately, a good attitude, plenty of free time, and tolerance for adversity are all we need to make this season one to remember.

Get to the good snow with the Deuter Freerider Pro 30

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