Orcs

Monarch Mountain

Monarch Ski Area

Salida

A wide-open face providing a delightful companion to the main Mirkwood Bowl.

Freeride Skiing Difficult

Distance
2.3 km
Ascent
88 m
Descent
302 m
Low Point
3.3 km
High Point
3.6 km
Gradient
32˚
Orcs Map

Orcs is located just past Mirkwood Bowl and is separated from the bowl by a spine. Compared to the main Mirkwood Bowl, Orcs, on the other hand, is instead a wide-open face that winds down the mountain at a generally more moderate slope than Mirkwood Bowl. The wide-open face offers skiers the chance to open it up and rip wide-open giant slalom terms with little fear of consequences.

Description

The only thing keeping this line from being rated “moderate” instead of “difficult” is that about 3/4 of the way down, the face abruptly ends at a series of widely-spaced trees and short cliff bands. Generally these cliffs fill in and are skiable, but at times the snow conditions can necessitate careful line selection to thread through this slightly more technical zone, especially if you haven’t skied it before. Also, at this point in the basin the aspect begins to shift more southerly, meaning that some of these lines can become both sun- and wind-affected, producing less reliable snow conditions than the more northerly-facing bowl.

At the end of the day, Orcs is yet another double black diamond line in Mirkwood Basin whose difficulty seems slightly overrated. It’s a fantastic line to ski, especially if all the other powder hounds are busy dropping Mirkwood Bowl, but ultra-technical it is not.

Difficulty

Difficult

Serious gradient of 30-38 degrees where a real risk of slipping exists.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April

Features

  • Face
  • Trees
  • Cliffs
  • Walk Required

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area