California Corn Farming
On our second day in the Eastern Sierra, we decided to hunt for corn. After skiing Morrison Col the day before, we drove down the 395 to look at snow conditions. The long east facing runs off McGee were still in. Since our friends KJ and Doug wanted to link up, we figured McGee would be a great low commitment option for us to farm some corn laps.
McGee is unique amongst ski tours I have done because you park literally right off the highway next to a trailer park complex. From there the tour is pretty straightforward:
- Get out of your car.
- Walk 3000 feet up any of the lines.
- Ski 3000 feet of corn back down to your car.
Even though it was supposedly a cool day, we were already sweltering in the east facing furnace at 9 am as we skinned up McGee. We were all unacclimatized to both the elevation and heat!
The snow was already perfect corn on our way up, which was worrisome. Would it be overcooked by the time we went down?
The east face of McGee is deceptively large. From the bottom, it looks like you’ll be at the top in an hour or two. But it is actually a 3400 ft climb to the ridge another 400 ft to the true summit!
A light breeze kept things chilly on the ridge, but we knew the snow was cooking beneath. We each chose our own line down the southeast side. Our fears of overcooked corn were assuaged; it was still great corn!
There was plenty of hollering with the great views, vibes, and snow. Halfway down, Rio, John and I decided to head back up for one more lap while the others descended back to the car.
Another hot climb led back to the ridge, where we hiked north to the main east facing gully that descends right back to the car. This proud 3400 ft line is called “Trailer Park Gully”. It garners a mere two stars in the guidebook.
The top was still a bit firm, but it quickly softened into absolute hero corn. I completely let it loose and skied as fast as possible.
We laughed our way down 3000 ft of perfect corn. It may have been the best corn run of my life.
We were reunited with the others at the car, where we took a look back at the lush, fertile corn slopes of McGee. It was almost too easy – perfect moderate corn bowls right from the car. We all just shook our heads. In years like this, the spring skiing in the Eastern Sierra is so good it is hard to comprehend. McGee is the low hanging corn, but also just the tip of the iceberg.