Sunday, April 10, 2011


It sure doesn't seem much like spring up here in northern Utah.  It's about 20 degrees below normal for this time of year and the latest storm has not only put several unmelting inches of snow on our lawn, but also (at this point) another 31 inches up at Alta.  And it's still snowing.  It's an embarassment of riches, really - not that H and I are complaining.

The canyon road was closed from 6-8 a.m. this morning for avalanche control and when we left the house a little before 9 a.m. on Saturday, we wondered what sort of traffic was waiting for us.  Answer: none - it took us 25 minutes to get up there with no stopping.  Despite the huge dumping of new snow and even tho' Alta is open for another three weekends, people have largely given up on skiing.  Not us, however.  I stepped into my pretty new Rossignols, tucked my powder cords up into my ski pants (so I wouldn't lose my pretty new Rossignols) and away we went.

We didn't wait in a single lift line all day - that's how much nobody was skiing.  Also, we were the first ones in on the lower traverse into Catherine's Area, and we were the second ones in there too.  Even on the third trip in we didn't see anybody over there, although we did see other tracks.  When people finally started skiing there, I was a little put out at having to share it after having had it to ourselves for so many runs. 

How were the new skis?  AWESOME.  Longer and wider but lighter, I could tell the difference immediately, noting that they don't hold an edge on the groomers like my Volkls.  In the deep stuff, they were just glorious: porpoising up out of the snow instead of submarining down.  There's a lot for me to remember to ski in powder as opposed to what I've done all my life back east: keep my weight centered over the skis (not forward); keep my weight evenly balanced on both skis (instead of putting most weight on my downhill skis); roll my ankles from side to side (instead of trying to set an edge and carve my turns).  These new skis help so much - I didn't fight the powder nearly as much as I have before, and H said that I was skiing much faster.

Speaking of skiing much faster, I missed it, having gone on ahead, but H took an EPIC fall just as we were exiting Catherine's Area.  He'd straightened out his skis, just before getting onto the groomed run-out to go back to the lift, when he hit a hard ridge in the flat light.  He immediately ejected from both skis and launched himself around fifty feet before crashing face first on the trail.  He landed flat on his chest/stomach/chin, knocking the wind out of himself, but luckily didn't tweak a knee or shoulder.  When he rejoined me at the Supreme lift (where I was wondering what could possibly have happened), he was still a little shaken up, but by the time we got to the top he was fine.  He may be a little stiff tomorrow but no headache or sore ribs or anything like that.  And he's the one always telling me to be careful!

We stayed at Catherine's until lunch, then switched to East Greeley, and then H did a couple of runs by himself off the Wildcat chair while I held down a chair in the lodge.  The new skis are fabulous but the snow is full of water this time of year and not that fluffy champagne powder for which Utah is famous - and heavy snow is tiring to ski in.  I gotta say, I wish I'd gotten powder skis sooner in the season - because we've had a lot of deep snow days - and I can't wait for H to get a pair of his own.  Who knows what kind of impressive falls he'll be able to take then!

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