Wednesday, March 27, 2013

ski guests, day 4: return to alta

On our guests' last ski day, we went back to Alta, C, A, H and I meeting W up there.  The weather had switched back to bluebird skies although it wasn't supposed to get quite as warm as it had been on Saturday.  W was on rental alpine gear because of his broken tele binding; it didn't take him long to remember how to ski with his heels locked down.  Patrol opened Baldy Shoulder that morning so that's where we headed first, riding Collins lift up, traversing around the Ballroom to the Tombstone Too/Onno's Slide area.  We got some first tracks in there, but the snow was shallow, just a few inches resting on the rock-hard sun-bake and freeze below.

When we got back to the lift, it was suggested that we ride Wildcat chair and then bootpack up to Baldy Shoulder from the other side.  Once we got up there, I looked at how steep that bootpack was and immediately decided that it wasn't going to be worth the effort.  While I watched from Aggie's Alley (intermediate groomer) below, the other four hiked up.  Because it was so strenuous, they didn't go out along the ridge but put their skis back on to get a few turns on the Lo Lo Shoulder.  C went first and I could tell it wasn't any better than what we'd just tried from the other side.  He made about five turns then hit the 18" drop-off to the groomer.  His landing was a little hard, which W saw, so he eased up and took it at an angle when he got down there.  H, however, thought the drop-off was less than it was, hitting it hard and straight on.  When his skis hit the groomer flat, he popped out of both of them, landing on his shoulder and sliding off the groomer and down the other side.  It was spectacular, fast and hard, and he's lucky he didn't get hurt.  He finally stopped sliding and got to his feet while C collected his skis and one of his poles to bring to him.  Once we determined that he was all right, the laughter and merciless teasing began ... and continued all day.

A, C, H and me atop Sugarloaf

After that, we decided that Baldy Shoulder just wasn't worth it and moved over to Supreme, hiking into Catherine's to our secret stash from Sunday.  The snow was still very good plus the views were much better.  It was warm enough to eat lunch on the deck so we did, watching the skiers stream in to just-opened East Greely, coming in through the Hi and Lo Notch chutes.  After lunch, we rode Sugarloaf up and took the EBT around to give the Backside a go ourselves, but were disappointed when the low traverse wasn't open.  Not inclined to hike up the ridge, the boys sidestepped up to Angina Chute and the bowl lines through the Triple By Pass.  A and I tried a run down Extrovert which was rock hard and all skied off, fine for her Maine-honed edges but a little slide-y for me.

A, C and W in Cecret Saddle

On our way back to Supreme, the other four took a trip through Cecret Saddle while I took a flier straight to the lift.  We did a few more runs up through our stash in Catherine's, finally deciding that it was absolutely thrashed.  I quit early, because my feet were cramping up in my boots, and skied out, bringing everyone's boot bags up to the GMD patio and purchasing a PBR pitcher in anticipation.  A joined me about a half hour later but the boys closed all the lifts, first Supreme, then Sugarloaf, and finally making laps on Collins until it shut down.  Then we all hung out in the sun on the patio until we closed that too.

GMD patio apres ski

After we went back to the house (W and his wife stayed with us that night too) and cleaned up, we met up with M and B and a bunch of folks from H's work for dinner at Stella Grill.  C reenacted H's crash for the folks who hadn't been there to see it, using drinking straws.  Back at the house, we had a few more beverages while the guests packed their gear up for their morning flights.  Everyone was tired and happy - not as happy as we would have been with better snow, but enjoying the time we spent together out on the hill, because any day skiing is better than a day not skiing.

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