Friday, February 21, 2014

know where to go

We opted out of skiing for Sunday given the less-than-ideal weather forecast, instead opting for a bike ride on the rollers in the basement (H), a run outdoors (me) and plenty of Olympics viewing.  When we got up to Alta on Monday, we overheard some folks talking about Sunday's sleet, wind, graupel and chairlift stoppage for lightning, which confirmed that we'd made the right decision. 

Presidents' Day itself was supposed to be sunny but it was decidedly cloudy and the light got flat in the afternoon.  Alta was quite crowded with tourists and vacationers, so many that we fled immediately to the relative safety of the Supreme lift after witnessing the hordes swarming Sugarloaf.  We ended up skiing in Catherine's Area all day because fewer people were willing to put the work in for the runs.  Sure, there were plenty of hapless folks snowplowing on the traverse, stopping on the traverse, walking up to the traverse and then changing their minds ... but once we got in a little ways, the crowd thinned out and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

The snow was much better than we expected.  It was relatively heavy and wind-loaded but still soft, smooth and skiable, and we ended up getting lots of first tracks as we methodically moved further and further into Catherine's.  Towards the end of our day, we tried a different tack: going into the first clearing of Catherine's and skiing down along the rope to the second gate, then going in there to the trees.  As we started down along the rope, I noticed a young (mid 30s) guy in orange pants coming down behind us but didn't think anything of it.  H and I went in the gate and found fantastic snow in among the trees there, over my knees and soft.  H charged on ahead and I followed.  When I paused for breath on a knoll, Orange-pants Guy pulled up beside me.  I asked him if he was following us and he grinned and said, "Yes!  You guys looked like you knew where you were going.  The snow is great in here!"  I laughed and told him not to tell anyone else, then headed down through the trees to find H.

Despite our recent longer days, I had about had it with the flat light and the clueless crowds by about 2:30 p.m.  We skied out, going around the EBT and down over Collins, the latter being tough due to the poor visibility although the snow wasn't too bad.  We're still hovering around 23% below normal snowfall-wise but the last few days on the hill have still been pretty good.  The forecast doesn't have much new snow in the immediate future but systems should be moving in around the middle of next week.  Sounds good to me - bring it on!

Note:  I'll update this post with photos when our home internet issues are resolved.

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