I’ve always shied away from the turns all year scene, abbreviated TAY, due to one thing: August. I’ve skied as late as July, and as early as September, when those months offered decent possibilities. August has always seemed pretty desperate to me – think 8 foot wide strips of snow about 300 feet long. Unexciting. But with the record snow amounts deposited during the 2010/2011 ‘Winter that would not end,’ this seemed like the year to take advantage of turns that were a bit better than the usual August ski scene (in Utah, anyway).
Yeah, glaciers are year round, and there are a few of them available in both the Tetons and the Wasatch. But they always involve a disproportionately long hike for comparatively short ski turns. Worse, many glaciers aren’t all that steep. The ones that are often offer deep crevasses, such as that found on the Middle Teton glacier. By the typical August, it looms deep and wide. Foreboding.
All that, to some extent, explains why I’ve studiously avoided TAY in the past, despite offers from sage friends. This year, I decided to break out of my own reluctance and get it while it was (probably) about as good as it gets in August. And it was, just as a few days before, sublime. The rain from prior days seemed to have cleared some swaths of debris from certain portions of the descent, which made for decent turns.
In other sections, it was definitely August. The snow surface mix was, frankly, less than half snow. It’s kinda grey at this point. Rocks have fallen into place in sections that are already tight, creating ‘cruxes,’ or ‘vital turn situations’ on a run that skied like a bowl two or three months ago. Fun actually – I enjoyed the improved technical challenge, even if it cost me some base scratches.
Kinda doubt that I’ll run the TAY idea out as some participants do, earning turns in 100 consecutive months and such. But it was enjoyable to finally land decent turns in the one remaining month I’d never skied.
And while it’s hard to say things with absolute certainty – I’ve learned to rule nothing out – it seems likely that those were my last turns of the 2010/2011 ski season. Fortunately, there’s the possibility of late September turns less than two months away…