Saturday, April 30, 2011


Saturday morning, April 30, we woke up to 4-5 inches of snow on the ground at the house.  That's nuts.  What's even crazier: Alta had gotten SIXTEEN inches overnight.  Current mountain statistics: 206-inch base ("settled snow") depth and 724 inches season-to-date, making it - thus far - the third snowiest winter on record.  We have been so spoiled.  And it's been great!

We took our time getting up there, thinking that there wouldn't be too many people there what with it being so late in the season and all.  We were totally wrong about that.  We arrived at Alta at 10:30 a.m. and had to park on the access road (for the first time all season) because the parking lot was totally full.  The lift lines were pretty substantial too, especially since only the Collins lift and the Wildcat lift were open.  (My heart broke just a little thinking about all that pristine powder untouchable over in Catherine's Area.)  It didn't seem too crowded though, and folks started to leave around noon, and we switched back and forth between the singles line at Collins and the little Wildcat double.

Seems more like mid-winter than mid-spring

I know I've said this before, but coming from back east it continues to amaze me: there is so much snow up there.  It's amazing.  One patroller H talked to said he can't remember the last time Alta was open into May (tomorrow is closing day), maybe twenty years ago.  People are starting to get nervous about the potential flooding since it's all going to melt and it's all going to run out of the canyon and down into the valley.  But for now, it's still just so much fun.  Despite the crowds and our late start, we were still finding untracked stuff tucked in the trees.

I used my powder skis, of course, having learned my lesson.  I wasn't skiing that great, however, as I'm still not used to them: they're magnificent in the wide opens, but I'm not yet used to turning them in the chops and the narrows, and I don't feel I can stop as quickly on them as I can on my Volkls.  Still, we did the High Traverse and down Alf's High Rustler, a trail I'd never skied before; and late in the day we went into West Greeley and enjoyed the less trampled snow there.

Seriously, I've never seen so much snow

I quit earlier than H, but was foiled in my plan to score us some brewskis at the lodge since the Gold Miner's Daughter lodge was totally packed up and closed (except for the bathrooms).  H took another couple of runs until the clouds socked everything in.  It was still snowing when we left - had been all day; not your typical blue-sky spring skiing by any stretch of the imagination - and I expect it'll keep on all night.  That's good: might as well have some freshies for Closing Day.

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