Saturday, March 1, 2014

like a lion

I'm a big fan of March roaring in like a lion and skipping away like a lamb, especially if by "roaring in" you mean "snowstorms."  Our latest storm started on Thursday, paused briefly on Friday and then continued snowing, leaving a storm total of 24" by the time the lifts closed on Saturday, with the promise of several more inches overnight.  This was not light and fluffy champagne powder (which we've had exactly none of this season) but dense, heavy snow, loaded up with water which will be good for the reservoirs eventually.  I decided to ski on my Rossignols, figuring the wider skis would surf on top of the heavy snow whereas my Volkls would just nose-dive and get buried.  It would end up being the right decision.

The canyon road was closed from 6-8 a.m. while they did avalanche control but when we joined the line after the road opened, traffic moved pretty well.  There were lots of folks waiting in line for the Collins lift to open and once they started loading people, the lift ran slowly because of the strong, gusty winds up top.  We saw a notification that Sugarloaf lift was closed and when we got to the top of Collins, we learned that that whole part of the resort was roped off while they did control.  We did learn that Supreme lift was open: it would not be easy to get there without being able to ski across Sugarloaf's terrain and that would likely mean that not too many people would be there.  So we went for it: skiing back down to Collins, taking the rope tow to the beginner area, taking the Sunnyside lift up, skiing over to Alf's, taking the Cecret lift up and then skiing down to the Supreme lift.  It was worth it because there was no lift line at Supreme until 11:30 a.m. and the snow was really good (if heavy).

Storm-skiing in the trees

Although avalanche control bombs seemed to be going off all around us for much of the morning, they never ended up opening Catherine's Area.  They did get Supreme Bowl open, however, and we had some great runs.  We'd go in the top gate off of the Challenger trail and then ski along the rope until we found good-looking chutes and gullies.  There was quite a lot of snow in those gullies and not too many people; most folks seemed to be going more to skier's right into the Bowl proper.  We did a bunch of runs in there, just doing laps.

After lunch, we rode up Sugarloaf (which had finally opened mid-morning), thinking to do a run down Chartreuse.  The wind was really strong, though, whipping the graupel into our faces, so we went back to Supreme.  We did a few more runs in the gullies that we'd been skiing in the morning, then moved over to ski the Erosion Gullies and the trees around and under 3 Bears.  The snow held up really well - especially in the trees - and we had a lot of fun playing around in there.  The snow was heavy, however, and my legs got tired enough that we skied out (having to take that dang rope tow back across from Sunnyside to Collins), getting back to the truck around 3 p.m.

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