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Couloir Series: The Kindergarten Couloir on Boom Mountain

The Kindergarten Couloir is many burgeoning ski mountaineers' first objectives. Beware of the late-season monster cornice that forms every year

Photo by: Anthony Walsh

The Kindergarten Couloir is a classic Rockies ski descent and many burgeoning ski mountaineers’ first objectives. The north-facing line offers a short approach, moderately steep gradient and a secluded atmosphere out of sight from the highway.

To access Kindergarten, park at the Boom Lake Day Use Area along Highway 93 South. Follow the summer hiking trail for 5 kilometres towards the lake and branch left once you are in line with the couloir. Many choose to follow the hiking trail all the way to the lake, but overshoot the line and are forced to backtrack about half a kilometre. Set your uptrack through a patch of trees to the right of the Kindergarten fan until it makes sense to transition to bootpacking.

Bootpacking low in the couloir. © Anthony Walsh

Despite its entry-level status, Kindergarten Couloir is not to be taken lightly. The lee-side feature is often capped by a cornice and prevents suitors from fully topping out the line. The couloir’s steep quartzite walls also house hanging cornices and have caused at least one serious accident in the past. Consider packing crampons and a lightweight axe if anticipating less-than-blower conditions. The couloir averages about 40 degrees and would be a nasty place to lose control in hard pack conditions.

© Anthony Walsh

Kindergarten Couloir is about 13 kilometres car-to-car, 900 metres of elevation and requires 5-7 hours depending on snow conditions. As the long days of March come around, skiers across the Rockies are taking stock of their springtime ski objectives. If avalanche conditions permit, the Kindergarten Couloir is a worthy consideration.

Read about a November 2017 descent here, and a March 2015 descent by IFMGA mountain guide Andrew Wexler and friends here. Beware of the often underestimated cornice in spring, many local ski guides say to only ski this line in fall before the cornice forms. This article does not substitute backcountry training or experience, always be sure to check avalanche conditions here.

Couloir Series

Grand Daddy Couloir, Rockies
Corbet’s Couloir, Jackson
Saudan Couloir, Whistler

Lead photo: Anthony Walsh