Wednesday, February 26, 2014

jumping for joy

Sunday was much better than Saturday!  The sky was a clear, deep blue, the wind subsided and the temperatures were warmer, ending up in the mid-20s at the summit and mid-30s at the base.  I ended up being overdressed but that was really my only complaint since I was skiing much better.  Alta was still extremely busy: the lift lines were fairly long but the trails never really seemed crowded, fortunately.  We did do a couple of warm-up runs on Sugarloaf and watched as Ski Patrol started going through Devil's Castle, setting charge after charge to shake loose any avalanches in anticipation of an opening later in the morning.  Folks eager for first tracks - Devil's Castle has been closed for more than a week - started lining up at the gate before 10 a.m.  We weren't about to do that so we headed to Supreme and Catherine's Area.

H in Catherine's Area

Those paltry couple of inches from the day before didn't hold up and everything was pretty well tracked out.  It had been cold enough that the snow stayed soft, though, so we went in there over and over again, dodging tourists and looking for what deep pockets we could find.  On one Catherine's run, we went what we call "all the way in," to the ridge overlooking Brighton.  When we got there, we saw a guy sidestepping on an outcrop leading to a big kicker that led to - a long, long way down.  I called out to him, "Are you going off that?"  And he said yes.

That's a big jump

H and I were impressed so we parked ourselves along the ridge and pulled out our phones.  The guy asked if we would send him any pictures since he doesn't get to do this very often, so we took down his phone number and aimed our phones.  He dropped in, went over the jump and plummeted to the steep landing, where he hit with a huge puff of snow and immediately popped up, arms raised in celebration.  It was super-impressive and I'm so glad we were there to see it (and also to be there in case something went wrong, because it looked like he was there by himself).

Up, up and away (and then down-down-down)

After lunch we took a run through Devil's Castle.  There was quite a lot of snow in there and I struggled a little on my short skis.  H flew right through it, however, so he did another run after that before we went back to Supreme.  The lift lines stayed long all day but everyone was pretty mellow and happy in the sunshine.  After a day of traversing and skiing off-piste, my legs called it quits around 3:15 p.m.  I felt pretty good about our day, attaining a little redemption after the less than stellar day before.

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