Skiing On The Air - Bad Snow, Good Condx

The weather prediction for winter in the Teton mountains was “warmer and dryer than usual”. For once the weather prediction was correct. We are currently at 79% of normal snowpack, but it seems like a lot less than that. And it is much warmer than normal. As a result, it is very difficult to ski up the SOTA peaks right now. Snow conditions are shallow, dangerous, and miserable.

I decided to try Henderson Peak, W7I/ER-066. It’s a peak I can see out my back window, and I’ve activated it a couple times in winter. It’s a 3.5 mile ski tour with 1900 feet of gain. One of the nice things about this peak is that it has a 2 mile ridge that is low angle and usually has enough snow to ski on. That makes it pretty safe. And, because of the low angle, it’s reasonable to ski in bad snow conditions.

There was just enough snow to ski up and down the peak. The snow conditions, as expected, were bad; but I was careful and made it up a down with nothing injured but my ego.

On the other hand, the band conditions were very good. I got only one call on 10 meters, but 15 and 20 meters were good. I got 48 contacts on CW.

Below is a video I made of the activation.


Great video - some fun skiing on the way down. Glad you didn’t catch an edge on some of the sticks in the snow :wink:

I didn’t notice you logging times of QSOs in your logs. How do you record times?

Hi David,

I do write down the QSO time. You probably couldn’t see it because my right hand is over the card most of the time. Guess I need to get a bigger clip board.

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Another great SOTA and video.

Good “traveling music” helps: I like the bluegrass tune; can never have enough banjo solo, though.

73 de Sevim, WB8BHN

awesome Video Pat! love the music.

I really enjoyed the video Pat, especially hearing some of the calls that I work in the Trans-Atlantic S2S event… and at much greater strength! I like your two-handed technique for keying and logging. Holding a pencil and keying can be difficult at times, though probably easier for me as I use a straight key. :grinning:

73, Gerald

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Thanks for the video. I have noticed that you have been on Teton Pass a few times this winter, I hope the snow was better there. Our snow conditions in Canada have been similar, low snowpack, warm weather and tricky avalanche conditions. Hopefully February and March will bring us both a bit more snow.

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Great video, Pat !
Donno what I was doing, but I missed you on that one. I was on the air
that day, too.
John K6YK

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Hey John. You were probably making a fresh cup of coffee when I was on.

Hi Paul. I put a reminder on my calendar to contact you next summer for a trip to Canada.

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Gerald. Bravo to you if you use a straight key on SOTA!

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Always good to hear you Sevim. IL seems to be a good distance for 20-10. Depends on the conditions, but I always get a lot IL, IN, TN, MI.

Congrats Pat for the amazing acticity. glad to hear you on the Air .

Regards from north of Spain.


Thanks Jon. Always nice to hear you from Spain.

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@K7GUD Thanks for the video Pat. I wish I could find summits to activate in the snow here in SW Colorado.

Tell me about the shelter that you deployed (make, model, etc.)


-Randy, W4IFI

Hi Randy. I use a 2 Person Both Bag. I’ve used it on about 20 winter ski activations and in temps from 0-32 degrees. It keeps me warm enough, and more importantly, my hands warm on a cold, windy summit. I been on activations up to 2 hours and still warm. It can be a little steamy, but tolerable, especially in the dry Rockies climate. Without the bag, my fingers last about 15 minutes before they’re too stiff to work the key or a pencil.
Bothy Bag


I think they are about the same. Both have window, vent, and a sleeve for ski/hiking pole. Bothy more expensive.

Very good. Thanks for the info @K7GUD Pat.