After spending much time floating down de Nile, it’s hard to turn around and paddle back up the river. But the reality is, last winter is now the river.
Tag Archive for 'snowpack'
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’
Virtually every backcountry skier in the Wasatch passes across the north face of Cardiff Peak at one point or another. It’s the most direct route to Wasatch gems such as Mt. Superior, the Cardiac Ridge, Monte Cristo, and a host of other prime real estate. However, with substantial cliffs bisecting the upper face from the lower, most users don’t travel down the northern fall line from the summit.
Since I subscribe to the deeply religious philosophy of, ‘let not that slope go unskied which can be joined by a rope,’ it seemed high time to visit the terrain. The text to Jason Borro read: Short, sweet, steep, with a rappel. 45 min approach. Rarely done if ever. Tomorrow a.m. You in? Some time later I received a three letter, one word answer, rather than a paragraph of demurring explanations. That’s just what I hoped for. It was Continue reading ‘North Face Cardiff Peak’
It’s difficult to nail down my exact worst day of skiing. Short of a full burial by avalanche, every other episode probably pales in comparison. I say probably because that’s what I’ve heard from survivors.
Anyway, it had to happen sooner or later.. Perhaps it’s fitting that shortly after my best pow day of the season, I treated myself to one of the worst ski days of my life. After all, the idea fits the theme of this season perfectly: best year ever last season, worst year ever this season. Why wouldn’t my life resemble Mother Nature and her manic ways?
I’ve had days like this before, but as far as I can remember, this one provided just that little extra tickle to the funny bone, assuring that it wouldn’t be classified as just an ordinary off-kilter day. In my view, days like this are largely about sheer Continue reading ‘One of the Worst Ski Days of My Life’
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 Continue reading ‘Cold Fusion’
Aiming for something fun and interesting to ski, Swain and I ended up retreating in the face of unstable snow – widespread cracking on a large slope – and simply skied low angle powder in the vicinity of both Red Baldy and Patsy Marley. I think we spent more time pushing our way out through deep snow than actually making turns. Did I mention that the warm snow stuck to our skins mercilessly on the up, despite the addition of skin wax? Right around 9,000 feet, there was a noticeable change in the snow consistency, switching from a heavy, cream cheese consistency to light Utah finery. Didn’t matter, both types stuck to our skins. It was a thrill a minute.
Fortunately, we received compensation both for being denied, as well as having to push our way downhill. On our final run to the car, we were both treated to full-on face slushies as Continue reading ‘Denied’