Saturday, January 23, 2010

Snowbird blues

Not a very successful end to the second trip to Utah and the 16th day on the slopes. Found one of the few closing parking spaces at around 10 but it didn't matter. Gadzoom was the only thing open and it had a 30 minute line. So we ate lunch and hung around. Eventually Gad 2, Little Cloud and Wilbere opened so all went our own way. Eventually I met Brian/Kevin on Peruvian but by then I was pretty darn sick of huge mounds of snow covered by varying amounts of powder. Not clear why, but every slope at Snowbird is bumped up. And the paths through the trees usually had one snowboard event through them that pretty much wiped out the path. Took off after 2pm and worked our way down so Maripat and I could go see Avatar 3D in the Imax theatre after having an early dinner at Salt City Burger. The lessons are clear.
  1. A powder Saturday probably isn't worth it if you don't want to stand in long lines.
  2. Before you go to Snowbird ALWAYS check to see what is open. For a weekend you need every lift open to make it tolerable.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Supreme Day

Snowy all day and windy. Luckily Supreme opened up since the wind off of Sugerloaf chased everyone else insidee. Brian continues to fight a cold and apparently it caused quite a good spill. Eventually Supreme Bowl opened up to some great skiing. On the good side the graupel and high density snow is covering up (some) rocks [though not enough to save me when I tried my favorite chutes]; the downside it is was a lot denser and not as cool as yesterday. Eventually the kids joined me and we ran it until it shut down. Kevin guided us on a final trip up Superloaf (still windy/cold) then the long trip home on the snow covered road listening to ShopKo on-sale Country Christmas music...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

More powder

They keep getting more snow than forcasted (no complaints). This is nice change from earlier when we would get our hopes up and end up with a trace. Got an earlier start and skied Sugerloaf all morning. Most everything else was closed and never opened up today, except Hi-T stuff (which I did later). It is amazing how quickly the snow settles (and is thus not so much fun). Got a few runs over at Mineral and was again surprised that the snow there is often a bit denser. Kept looking at the cliffs above Baldy Express for a break in the rocks but alas there isn't enough snow this year to try any of them.

More skiing with everyone and its such a joy to see how good Eb and Kevin are (Brian was fighting something so he wasn't his usual self). I also have been practicing skiing on one foot since it is more clear to me now what a useful skill that might be in the future. It's pretty amazing how dependent one gets on two skis; yet how easy it is to adjust to one foot [still a long way to go before I could get myself down supreme bowl with one ski...]

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

East Greeley Team

After waiting a 1/2 hour for them to open up East Greeley along came Elizabeth, then Brian then Kevin. As amazing as they were hiking up, they were pretty impressive coming down as well in at least of foot of powder (it's been closed a while). Further down, Kevin had a simply spectacular wipe out. Earlier, all 5 of us did some powder off the top of sugerloaf. Everyone is starting to understand that powder skiing is entirely different (perhaps that will help me get support for my never ending requests for ski trips). Kevin and I had a great time at the end of the day doing the lower part of Greeley and hunting down powder spots. It is simply amazing how fast young people learn new skills.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brian and Maripat are still here.

Brian and MP are going to stay here with rest of us. The new (GRRR) Delta wouldn't tell us what it would cost to change unless we went to the airport (or if it was possible). Luckily 6 inches of snow yesterday and 9 today means that there is lots to do here. Brian was a huge help with Kevin/Eb today. Kevin pretty much takes on anything (except going under the Supreme lift - he is worried that people will say something if he falls). Eb too was winding her way through the powder like a true hound. Brian claims he has nothing left to learn... (ah to be 13).

We all had a good day today. Luckily the wind blew lots of snow into Supreme Bowl/Catherines. I'm hoping that these "little" storms (6 here, 9 there) this week perk things. I still hit lots of rocks today. Luckily Brian/Kevin were watching me when I lost my ski. Not sure I would have thought to look 100 yards down the slope when my other ski was right next to me. My effort at skiing on one ski was less than successful. And I found the best rocks of the trip shinnying down the slope to get to my ski (ouch!). Later, I traded lunch for 3 trips up Catherine's when everyone was eating. Well worth the trade.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 3

Most of today was touring up to Catherine's Pass. Just perfect and exactly why I chose the Brighton training since this kind of backcountry (excuse me, side-country) is exactly what I expect to do. It is beautiful back there and really complicated (and BUSY). Saw lots of people all taking advantage of the 6 inches that had accumulated. Funny how 6 inches brings a crowd this year.

Sadly the training experience has mostly highlighted things that decrease the thing I love - skiing. Don't ski too hard (rocks/cliffs), don't push (no patrol if you get hurt), avoid steep stuff (avalanche risk). My AT boots are great for climbing and 90% there but unless the snow is super soft I like the higher/firmer feel of my regular boots. Most importantly I absolutely love the HellBents, bindings and all. So I am pretty sure that this "resort" skier won't give up the resorts any day soon(Alta <-> Resort, hummmm).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 2

Fun digging snow pits. We did get to skin up twin lakes pass and look down. The skiing down was not horrible which was actually a pleasant surprise. Now luckily no one is asking me to justify flying out to Utah to experience not horrible skiing. My skinning is improving rapidly though as is my limited understanding of why people do backcountry skiing. Great exercise!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Avi Training Day 1

Second trip to Utah this year and day 9 on the snow. For the first 3 days I am here with Brian for Level 1 Avalanche Training at Brighton. After hearing about the (not) sleeping accommodations, I booked a room at the Brighton Lodge.

Let's see, pretty much every instructor has been personally caught in an avalanche (for one it was 3x in the past 10 years). Our instructor was thankfully found by a friend within 30 seconds. 25% of people die. People without a partner are almost certainly toast. Mistakes are made by folks who are getting a PhD in snow under the leadership of the finest instructors. The cause is (of course) human error which means that in the caution vs. "go for it" powder, caution loses (duh!). Ok, I feel better about this decision.

Tomorrow we learn about how to avoid avalances; supposedly more upbeat...

Sunday, January 3, 2010


A slow morning spent skinning and sledding. Snow in Sandy is a pretty big deal. I need to watch Kevin a little more closely since he thought jumping over a 4 foot cliff was fun. Got everything into the MPV (3 sleds too!) but alas learned that we forgot Kevin boots. Alta charges a reasonable $10 after 12:30 for kids skis/boots so we were not slowed down. Kids and I headed to MB then Little Cloud. I tried Brian's new skis and though they are great at going fast or plowing through hard stuff, they do not like to turn. Was happy to get my Ravyn's back.

Dropped them off back at the hill for some more sledding. So ended all of our first trip to Utah for skiing and the first 8 days of skiing. How sad that its Jan 3rd and that's all the snow I've seen.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Very quiet

We rushed to get out the door and up the mountain only to find out that everyone already ended their holiday or decided to skip a cloudy day with no fresh snow and (sadly) little to none on the way. Still starting by 10:15 was our best time yet. We all had a blast playing with old snow and finding pockets here and there. I finally got to ski some with Maripat in the morning. Eb and I took on Mineral Basin and Collins in the afternoon and found lots of interesting paths, especially the ones near the trees. Brian and I trimmed our skins - one step closer to being ready. At Bindings - check. AT boots - check, hotel room [be real Brad, you're 47] - check, skins - check, practice skinning - soon, buy food - TBD.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Where did everyone go? Almost empty compared to yesterday and much appreciated. Had fun going down Supreme Bowl with Eb and Brian. Alas there isn't enough snow to cover up many of the rocks so he had to climb down one part. They have few fears. Afternoon doing Cecret with the kids and Maripat who found herself sunk in 3 feet of powder. Gotta get her some wider skis. Practically no traffic for a change!