Wednesday, November 21, 2012

much better than expected

What with it snowing all day on Saturday and all through the overnight, we found a nice surprise when we got up to Alta Sunday morning: at least four inches of dense, new snow.  No, the storm wasn't a huge dumper - 11" storm total by the time it moved out Sunday evening - but what we need right now is heavy dense snow like that to make a good base.  (Note to weather gods: I think it's a good base now, so start dumping.)  Temperature and precipitation throughout the day were about the same as Saturday, maybe a little colder and not so wet, visibility slightly better.  The crowd was at about the same number, with fewer little kids and more really good skiers in their 30s who had waited for the snow.

Because the conditions were really good for mid-November!  The groomers had a layer of creamy snow laid down on top of them, covering the corduroy, which made for nice, smooth turns.  Better yet, there was enough snow that we were able to go off-piste for a few runs without fearing for our ski bases too much; we took some turns on the lower portions of West Rustler and in the bowl under the Wildcat lift - the snow was deep and soft, and completely unexpected for November 18th.  We skied 'til 1:30 p.m., at which point my legs were beat and the groomers had been skied to a high gloss.  It was a really fun early season day.

Extra added wildlife bonus:  on our last ride up the Sugarloaf chair, we noticed a critter making its way across Sugarbowl, right under the lift.  It was an ermine carrying a big, fat mouse back to its den.  The ermine was in full winter fur, all white except for the tip of its tail, and what caught our eye was the dark grey mouse in its mouth - if it hadn't been taking its lunch home, we might not have even noticed it.

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