Well, we didn’t ski it from the top (a perfect excuse to return!), but we did ski it in positively blower Utah conditions. This was no less than a snorkel meter 2 event, for the record. Timpanogos’ Cold Fusion was as close to heaven as Utah offered up on Saturday. With a text from Jim Knight the evening before, I knew only that a few people had signed on, and where and when to meet (Pine Hollow, 6 am). Arriving a full hour late intending to catch up to the group, I pulled in to see several folks milling about. I might have recognized Jim’s van if my head weren’t in the clouds. As it was, at the dawn hour, everything was in clouds, including my brain.
Fortunately, everyone else had had their own tribulations, so my late arrival was pretty much perfect, all told. I suited up and all were quickly off. Soon enough, we discovered that some of those vehicles in the parking lot that were covered in the earlier morning snows must have contained skiers. A skin track was in place. Nice.
After two plus hours of steady, slightly inclined slogging, we were beneath Cold Fusion, staring up the throat of a completely untracked line. At this point, the trio breaking trail also came into view. Our group had spread out quite a bit, with those in front eager to help out with the trail breaking chore. It didn’t take too long to catch up to the party and see some untouched snow cover. Upon catching the party, someone asked if I was with Jim. Does everyone in Utah County know each other or what? (No one ever asks me if I’m out with Swain, for example; however, he’s usually so far out in front that the question wouldn’t logically come up..)
Who knows? Not I. What I do know is that I checked the snow frequently for stability and thought it was bomber. Until, high on the mountain, it suddenly seemed much less so. We persevered, using islands of (minimal) safety to keep ascending. Stability seemed to deteriorate, then suddenly we were standing next to the chute.
Uncertain of the conditions in this loaded gun, I volunteered to do a roped ski belay. A slow moving slough is all that greeted my efforts. Well, that, and a whole lot of snorkel meter 2 quality, untracked pow.
I think the common phrase at the end of the day was, ‘best pow day of the year.’ It was for me. But don’t get me wrong: there’s a lot to be said for bulletproof, knee breaker ice skiing, too.
The thing about skiing Cold Fusion at this time of year is that one gets to enjoy a very lengthy slog out, just as they did on the way in. And me? I saw the time and realized I had to get moving. I pushed and pushed and pushed with the ski poles, feeling as if I were rowing a boat, and moving about equally as fast. Reaching my car alone, I transitioned and was soon driving away, hoping that the turns were a good replacement for the goodbye’s I didn’t speak. Until next time..