The Snorting Elk area lies on the north side of Grubstake point, sandwiched between Green Valley and Northway. This region of the mountain contains numerous tree runs as well as a classic alpine bowl, with plenty of hidden stashes to explore.
Backside Traverse to Northway | This cat-track twists around Grubstake Point to access the Northway zone of the mountain, as well as Snorting Elk Bowl and most of the runs in this section. After unloading from the Green Valley chair, follow skier traffic over the back and skier’s right, in the opposite direciton of the Lucky Shot traverse.
Grubstake Traverse | This skier-cut traverse, also mentioned in the Green Valley section, leads under the Green Valley chair, accessing the Grubstake and Stockholder’s runs first. If you continue further on the obvious traverse, you’ll reach the lower half of Snorting Elk Bowl, accessing not only the bowl but also Rinky Dink further down the ridge.
Grubstake Point Bootpack | Difficulty: 1/5 | An easy, fast bootpack that leads up from the top of the Green Valley Express to the very tip of Grubstake Point. Immediately after unloading from the chair, look up and to the right; you’ll see a well-worn trail. Follow it to the top to access the Elk Chutes as well as a short but sweet run down the frontside, above the large Grubstake face.
Huckleberry | Quality: 6/10 | A Green Valley groomer for those who want a change of pace from Upper Ferk’s or the Valley itself; also a common return route from Northway. To get there from Green Valley, take the backside traverse to the end of the groomed section and continue on the several braided skier-cut traverses heading further north across the frontside. After crossing through a thin line of trees, you’ll find yourself on an open cut run known as Otto Bahn. Follow it down until the obvious fork in the trail; the left side goes slightly up and the right continues downwards. Take the right fork, and follow the traffic down to the base of the Green Valley chair.
Considerations: Intermediate, Groomed, Traversing Required
Snorting Elk | Quality: 6/10 | A steep, sometimes-groomed slope leading down towards the Huckleberry run. After taking the backside traverse to northway, it’s the first face on your right after it comes out onto the frontside once more, in the obvious bowl below Grubstake Point. Remember to pick up some speed for the slight upward portion at the end of the pitch.
Considerations: Advanced, Sometimes Groomed, Traversing Required, Pick up speed at the bottom
Snorting Elk Bowl | Quality: 7-8/10 | This large area has many possible entrances; it’s the vast bowl to the right of the Snorting Elk run. In order of difficulty from easiest to hardest, one could:
- Traverse skier’s right from the Snorting Elk run
- Take the Grubstake Traverse and hop in from there
- Hike the bootpack and drop into one of the chutes
There’s no wrong way; one thing to be careful of is the conditions up in the Elk Chutes if you choose to hike in. Oftentimes they’ll be surprisingly barren due to avalanches or wind.
Considerations: Advanced (First 2 options) to Expert (3rd option), Traverse or Bootpack Required, Ungroomed, Narrow (3rd option), Scary (3rd option), Good snow, Cliffs and Rocks (3rd option)
Willie’s Run | Quality: 8/10 | Lightly gladed slopes down to the Green Valley chair base. Follow the directions for Huckleberry, but stay left at the fork; make sure to keep up speed for this flat and even slightly uphill section. Any of the gaps in the trees on your right should work; follow the fall line straight down to the Green Valley chair.
Considerations: Advanced, Glades, Good snow, Ungroomed
Rinky Dink | Quality: 8/10 | Take the frontside traverse all the way to the ridgeline above Snorting Elk Bowl. Instead of dropping straight in, continue down the ridge until you reach an obvious wide chute. It has great snow a lot of the time, and is one of the many fun, quirky options for advanced skiers in the Green Valley area.
Considerations: Advanced, Traverse Required, Good snow, Rocks (depending on entry), Ungroomed
Strawberry | Quality: 7/10 | As Huckleberry and Snorting Elk merge, traverse high right into the trees, making sure to maintain elevation. You’ll come to the top of a small little point. Continue to your right into the trees from there. This fun run through the trees sometimes maintains pockets of powder if you know where to look.
Considerations: Advanced, Traverses Required, Good Snow, some rocks skier’s right, Ungroomed