Tuesday, February 5, 2013

early start, late(-ish) finish

There'd still been no new snow since the storm moved out Thursday but the forecast was for sunshine all around.  We figured it would be busy Saturday so we left early, getting up to Alta with over twenty minutes until they opened the Collins lift.  When we pulled into the parking lot, it was as empty as it's been but as we lingered in the lodge, the cars rolled in and the lift line corral filled up.  The day ended up being super-busy, as busy as any day during Christmas week.  Not a problem: when it's crowded we ride the singles line.  I talked to a lot of folks on those chairlift rides (H, not so much) and the crowd was mostly out-of-state visitors - which was awesome because (1) more tourism money for the resort and (2) most of them don't know where the best places to ski are.

In the trees in Catherine's Area

We skied our usual places (i.e., not the front side), hanging out at Supreme for a bit while Ski Patrol shot the heck out of Devil's Castle.  We were just about to move over to Sugarloaf so H could ski East Greeley when we saw a patroller drop the rope into the trees on Apron Bench.  We jumped in there - first tracks! - and carefully crossed the debris field from the massive natural slide that had come down from East Castle, then dove into the trees and gullies.  The snow was completely untouched, dense and settled but pristine, and we had a blast cruising through it.  I took a header off a little drop-off, somersaulting to land with just my head, hands and ski tips out of the snow.  Luckily, H was there to capture the moment.

Post-somersault.  It's all good.

They did eventually open Devil's Castle and we took a run in there, after it had been mostly tracked out but still enjoying the deeper sections.  The afternoon was spent in Catherine's Area where we hiked up over and over again (the traverse across the Supreme Bowl was in less than excellent shape).  Despite our early start, we kept skiing until close to 3:30 p.m. - my latest day to date!  My legs are definitely getting stronger which is good because man, skiing Alta is fun.

Dark blue sky above Supreme Bowl

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