It was so windy at the top of Collins that H suggested that we just head straight to Supreme, rather than taking a run or two on Sugarloaf. Although the Supreme chair is slow, it is more protected and the Sugarloaf chair is no fun on a windy day. We stayed huddled on Supreme all morning, grousing about how cold we were and how flat the light was. The snow was pretty good, considering we'd only gotten two inches on top of the beaten-down base. The snow was definitely wind-buffed and drifted, though, so in spots your skis would skid across a scraped-off patch only to run up against a drifted pile of puff. We searched out the snow drifts, getting lucky in the trees and further out in Catherine's Area. Looking for shady spots was key since the strong sun earlier in the week had softened the snow considerably, which then froze up overnight; with the cloud cover, the hardened snow was just not softening very quickly.
After lunch, Ski Patrol opened the lowest gate off Rock-n-Roll into the Apron Bench/Boulder Basin trees. The clouds were breaking up, the sun was gaining strength and we were pretty much the only ones in there for our first three runs. I really love it in there. It isn't difficult skiing other than having to pick your way through the trees, but it's so different from what I grew up skiing, where you had to stay on the trails. I can see what people love back-country skiing so much, out on your own, picking your own routes, not skiing over anyone else's tracks. This is kind of like lift-served, in-bounds back-country.
You see that sky and you don't believe
me that it was miserable all morning
Despite our morning's grumbling about how we weren't going to ski all day because the conditions were so poor, the afternoon sun and mellow tree skiing worked their magic on us and we stayed out until 3 p.m. I guess when there's only seven more weekends left in Alta's 2013/2014 ski season, it's hard to quit early.