Trip Report by Native Ambassador Danielle (Nelly) Steinhoff.
When EDGEtv reached out to Moss Halladay about doing a project for their lifestyle entertainment network, he knew just what he wanted to do. His longtime friend, Jeff Mitchum, had invested in a large chunk of land bordering Yosemite National Park and Moss had been dreaming of exploring the zone in the winter for quite some time.
Mentoring under Ansel Adams as a young man, Jeff gained a profound appreciation for the Sierra Nevada Mountains and all that they provide. Before Ansel passed away, he encouraged Jeff to find a place that gave him the feeling that Ansel had when he first saw Yosemite. When Jeff found his place, he decided to call it “Shangri La.” He purchased the land with the intent of preserving the areas peace and perpetual youth and swore us to secrecy on the whereabouts of the zone.
We decided to call the project “Mitchum’s Treasure,” since much like a pirates treasure chest, the goods were buried deep into uncharted territory and Mitchum was the only one with a map. Ecstatic at the opportunity to delve into the mountains despite the shallow snow pack, Moss, Ryland Bell, Abe Blair, Holly Enderle, and I set out on our quest to find some epic terrain to snowboard.
I was excited to be a part of the project and get to ride some new mountains with the group. At first I thought that I wouldn’t be able to swing the trip with the heavy load of competitions I had that season, but with the lack of snow the project had to be pushed back so it worked out that I was able to go. I had never been that deep into the backcountry before and didn’t have much snowmobiling experience in general, let alone in real mountainous terrain, but I was feeling pretty gung ho about just winging it. I’ll admit that I may have put the snowmobile on its side on the first hill climb we had to do… and the right ski of Holly’s snowmobile may have come off later that day… but the boys managed to fix the sled on the fly and it was smooth sailing after that!
We were surprised by the snow quality we found, even though it hadn’t snowed in a while. There were obvious signs of massive D3-D4 natural avalanches from a rainstorm that had come through and flushed out the northern aspects, and the sun had melted most of the southern aspects. But the last storm that had rolled through bonded to the snow pack well and the sun worked its magic and we were able to find some high-quality turns. The group consensus was that we barely scratched the surface of what “Shangri La” has to offer and we can’t wait to go back with more snow.