Permission slips in hand, J-Bo and I headed to Northern Utah for more field tripping today. I shared the previous day’s Powder Mountain beta and urged a different location for the day’s shredding. Snowbasin, located just a few miles from Powder Mountain, seemed likely to offer up nearly as much snow, and perhaps a little less groomer chop if we were lucky.
We were lucky. Yes.
Turns out we were very lucky and scored our skiing without much interference from groomers, although one did make an appearance eventually. In the meantime, Continue reading ‘Checking the Goods at Snowbasin’
Winter is walking up the steps, about to knock on the front door. In that respect, we’re about to turn a seasonal corner. As a committed skier, the implied excitement level is akin to watching the (eight) trailer(s) that appear before the main movie feature. But, mere weeks before the snow begins to fall in earnest, a few different sorts of corners have turned. I noticed it most specifically today on the Broad Fork Twins, following a few vignettes. They played out as follows:
Vignette I. You know how your shirt rides up when you’re wearing a backpack? Habitually, without much thought, I pull mine down to reduce the chafe this can lead to, caused by backpack against skin. I’ve noticed J-Bo has a similar habit. (Probably most people do.) Our shirts are pretty much pulled down to the no-chafe zone 99% of the time.
On or near the Broad Fork Twins summit ridge, I notice that J-Bo’s shirt has Continue reading ‘Turning the Corner’
A Bit of Backstory…
Last night I roped J-Bo into joining me on a little project I’d begun dreaming of three years earlier. Back then, I had an outstanding ski day at Alta – on a pass, it’s true! – that unfolded like this: Powder had dropped from the sky in quantity in earlier days. Baldy had been closed in the interim. I expected/guessed/hoped it would open on this bluebird day.
I did a few laps waiting for patrol to drop the rope to the Baldy OB, at the top of the Sugarloaf chairlift. From each vantage point possible, I kept an eye on the scene. People began queueing up. On my fourth chairlift lap or so, while still about 20 chairs from the uppermost lift tower, I watched the rope drop and about 20-30 people rush up the booter. Excitedly, I exited the chair and followed the fray. Everyone seemed to be headed to Main Chute, or the summit. I quickly dropped Perla’s and laughed my way down the deep untracked.
Skiing to the midway loading point for the Collins lift, I took that to the top, then skied down to the Sugarloaf lift, again heading to the top. From there, the booter again. So the day progressed. I ticked off the main four north/northeast facing chutes (Perla’s, Dog Leg, Little, and Main) as the day unfolded.
It was great. The powder was incredible, people were friendly, the weather perfect. However, even back then, it was Continue reading ’5 Chutes: Pipeline, Perlas, Dog Leg, Little, and Main’
Pinball Alley. Not a very wide alley.
Landed a decent photo of Pinball Alley when I was on Cardiff Peak with J-Bo last week, and it looked continuous upon inspection. Why wait? The days aren’t getting any shorter or colder. I proferred ski options during the invite process. Jason offered his own, suggesting ‘continuous pow.’ Hmm. Presuming that he preferred to avoid using the lengthy shoelaces for a descent, we agreed easily upon Mount Superior’s Pinball. It was a good choice, even if it didn’t offer either of his chosen descriptors.
We met up at the Park n Ride at 7am, and, following a quick drive up the canyon, were quickly in position to ascend. We agreed that booting looked favorable, and left skins in the auto. Some mixed walking – snow, then talus, then snow again – found us at the base of the couloir in short order. We donned crampons, pulled out ice axes, and began to ascend. Because there are shadows cast on the looker’s left half of the line, we found that snow to be quite firm. The snow on the right half was soft corn. Sticking Continue reading ‘Pinball Alley (and Friends)’
Sugarloaf's East face.
Ever since a very snow-sparse adventure ski outing with Andy early in the 2010/2011 ski season, in which we both looked down Sugarloaf’s East face from the summit and wondered if the line were continuous, I’ve had my eye on returning to ski it. (Fortunately, we correctly guessed that it was not continuous, an obvious fact to Alta regulars) Once we skied around to a different vantage point, the sweetness of the line was a little more apparent, as was the need for a little ropework.
It’s been over a year and a half, but the stars finally aligned to enable a descent. It might not have taken so long, but Continue reading ‘Sugarloaf East Face’
Yogg on the Middle Teton summit, with a view of Disappointment Peak below and the Large Teton behind.
After going zero for four on interesting ski descent attempts in the Wasatch in recent weeks, going somewhere else seemed like a no-brainer. Deciding to head to the Tetons took about .5 seconds. Deciding what to ski took longer; any ski mountaineer who has visited the Teton Range knows that there is a lifetime of interesting, challenging, and engaging ski descents to choose from in this single range.
As it’s late in the season in a lackluster snow year, going up high made the most sense. Topping out at 12,804 feet, the Middle Teton offers altitude. I hoped it also offered decent snow. With light snow having fallen in recent days, Continue reading ‘Southwest Couloir Middle Teton’