Wednesday, December 26, 2012

blue and white christmas

It snowed all day on Christmas Eve (more on that later) and well into the night too, the storm leaving us 18 inches of new snow to play in on Christmas Day.  They closed Little Cottonwood Canyon for a couple hours first thing in the morning but it was open again at 8:30 a.m., the skies cloudless and clear blue, and the traffic was moving well by the time we headed up to Alta.  H had an off morning, unusually for him: first dropping one of his skis on his sock-clad feet and then forgetting to put his season pass back into his regular soft-shell after he had worn his bad weather parka to ski the day before.  We didn't realize he'd left his pass at home until we were in the parking lot at Goldminer's Daughter, having just put our ski boots on; luckily, a nice parking lot attendant overheard our dismay and told us that for $10, Skier Services - after checking your ID and confirming that you do, in fact, have a season pass that you've left at home - will give you a day pass, imprinted with "Forgot SP."  We promptly dubbed this the "dumbass pass" and then happily hopped on the lift.


As you might imagine, with all that new snow the skiing was fantastic.  We skied mostly off the Supreme chair of course: breaking trail on the traverse across the top of the Supreme Bowl again, swooping through the freshies in Catherine's Area, tucking into the chutes and trees, nabbing first tracks wherever we could.  The snow was a little bit heavier than the last time we skied deep stuff but man oh man it was fun.  On one run through Catherine's, H was skiing as good as he ever has and managed to solicit two separate "woohoo!"s from other skiers.

A pretty day in Catherine's Area

After lunch we went into the backside, which hadn't been open first thing in the morning so that patrol could do avalanche control, and which had been immediately pounced upon as soon as it opened.  By the time we got there, it was largely skied out but we had some great turns in there even so, finding some really, really deep and soft stashes.

Workin' the backside

Part of the reason the skiing was so good was because there just weren't that many people out skiing.  The parking lots had filled up by the afternoon but we never waited in lift lines and rarely had to take a chair with someone other than just us.  This seems to be standard on Christmas day: families with little kids taking the morning to open presents, leaving the mountain to the diehards (like us) and the folks who've come out specifically to ski over the holiday.  As the day wore on we noticed more lessons, more fur-trimmed ski parkas, more people unfamiliar with the lifts and the trails - but the mountain was still pretty uncrowded.

Can't get enough of that sky

We lasted until just after 2 p.m., at which point our legs were cooked.  [Note: H had done several more nonstop powder runs on his own after I had had to bail out to the groomers for being tired - that's how we both ended up worn out at the same time.]   That was okay, though, as we'd had a magnificent day in the deep stuff under deep blue skies.  I call that a merry Christmas for sure.

Very merry!

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