Tuesday, April 2, 2013

return to spring skiing

It was spring skiing on Saturday, those days where the snow is bulletproof in the mornings and squishy in the afternoons.  Some people hate spring skiing, preferring to ski in the dry, light, winter conditions; other folks only like to ski in the spring when it isn't so dang cold; H and me, we ski in all of it.

Springtime at the top of Supreme

We got up there around 9:30 a.m., knowing that it would be hard and fast for the morning's runs.  Alta has a tendency to send its groomers out as soon as the chairs stop turning, which is fine in the winter.  But in the spring, the snow is too wet that early and the corduroy the groomers put down freezes solid overnight.  We headed immediately for Sugarloaf because its trails get the sun first thing this time of year.  Our runs there were still pretty clattery - skiing on frozen corduroy tickles my feet! - so we moved over to Supreme, where the groomers were in slightly better shape.  After 10:30 a.m., the snow started to soften slightly, although the high, thin clouds kept the sun's full strength from warming things up too much.

We stayed on Supreme all day, returning there after lunch.  At that point, the snow had gone past the sweet spot and turned into mashed potatoes, heavy and very soft.  As the afternoon wore on, it started to get sticky, grabbing our skis if we weren't riding on our edges.  Still, any trail with a decent pitch was a lot of fun.

Squinty smiles in the spring sunshine

H's knee was bugging him a little so we quit around 3:00 p.m.  Our last run, out through Collins, was the best run of the day: since that side of the mountain doesn't get sunbaked all morning, the snow was nice and soft, but not at all sticky.  We put our stuff in the truck and went back up to the GMD patio.  Those thin clouds had moved off and it just seemed right to have a PBR or two out there in the sun.

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