Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cold Smoke and Snow in the Face

It was the first real snow in December that got me out of the house and off to explore the Bridgers. Since it was a significant snow, we headed over to the Bridger Bowl; the local ski resort.

I do not ski, but I have considered trying it before this season is over. Everyone seems to think I will really like skiing. Everyone appears to think I am coordinated.

As we were driving along the eastern side of the ridge, we came upon some of the highest points where I could see snow blowing off the top. Ross Peak was covered in swirling and blowing snow. Sacajawea was equally engulfed. We stopped so I could try and capture the really cool snow movements against the bright blue sky. I could not seem to capture what I was seeing, so my photos did not turn out as I would have liked.


However, another phenomenon occurred that took me completely off guard and took my breath away.

As I was facing the south, I noticed the trees up the side of the mountains beginning to shed their heavy snow coverage. The snow began to fly up as a wind current cut through the trees. It left this huge path of flying snow that was swirling and dancing down the north face of the mountains at a fairly good clip. I was trying to shoot as quickly as it was happening, with no consideration that I would be in the middle of the wind gust.

Wow, it was fast and it was cold, and it was filled with snow. I got covered up in it, and even though I turned away, I got a face full of snow. It was probably a gust of up to 35 mph, which does not seem like much until it is burying you in snow that it picked up on the way down the mountain.

Again, not great shots, but fun none the less. The snow was coming from peaks like shown above.

DSC_0067 DSC_0068

Cold smoke was a term that I had never heard of until I came out here to the mountains.


It appears to be a huge plume of smoke coming out of the mountains on a cold, snowy day. It travels down the face of the mountains, and it is really the result of the winds picking the new snow on the trees up and flinging it into the air. Like the plume in this photo, it appears to be a fire of some sort. This is just the start of a good gust of wind that is getting started down the slopes. Subsequent photos show it coming down the slope like the ones that hit me in the face.



Ah, just another great day in the snowy mountains!


Julie and Blu