Thursday, March 21, 2013

ski guests, day 1: snowbird

Our annual ski guests from back east arrived Friday afternoon, in good humor despite the dearth of snow out here.  H picked C and A up at the airport and swung by Dick & Dixie's for a welcome-back beer on the way home.  We ordered in Chinese and got ready for the next day's skiing, something that involves both organizing gear and drinking PBR.

Pretty skied off in Gad Valley

We'd had a couple of requests to give Snowbird a try which worked out great because W and his non-skier wife were staying up there, as were M and B, who would be joining us for Saturday and Sunday.  The forecast was for sunshine and warm-ish temperatures but we were skeptical about the conditions: it had been extremely warm on Thursday and Friday, so we knew the snow would have gotten really soft during the day but frozen up overnight.

We collected everyone on the plaza at the 'Bird, then rode the tram up.  We went straight to south/southeast-facing Mineral Basin because the snow would soften there first.  It took a while - longer than we had hoped, because of some early clouds - but after a few runs the snow started to loosen up and we were able to play in the chutes and soft bumps without rattling our teeth too much.

Lunch was on the deck at Mid-Gad Lodge, then we stayed on the front side of the mountain for the rest of the afternoon.  Conditions were, shall we say, firm on that side.  Luckily, all our out-of-towners are Mainers with sharp ski edges and talent for skiing on ice.  H and I don't know Snowbird at all, so we were guessing at where to ski, staying in Gad Valley and riding the Little Cloud and Gad 2 lifts.  Regulator Johnson was hard, fast and skied off; our best turns came after a sketchy traverse to Last Choice.

C in Last Choice

We made it to close to the end of the day, then met W's wife on the plaza for apres ski cocktails before heading down the canyon.  It was just H, C, A and me for dinner so we stayed in, made pasta with pesto and chicken, and called it a night at a reasonable time.  With one ski day down and three to go, it was going to be a marathon, not a sprint.

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