Thursday, April 3, 2014

annual ski guests, 2014 edition: day 3

The storm that got such a late start on Sunday really delivered overnight, leaving an additional 11" of the goods (13" storm total), all of which fell after the lifts stopped turning.  Because of this lovely layer of new snow just waiting to be tracked out, not to mention the bluebird skies, Monday morning at Alta was quite a bit busier than it would have been otherwise.  We were there too, powder skis on and ready to shred.

The first couple of turns in Gunsight

H suggested that we try a frontside run first, before it got completely trampled, but as we cruised out on the High Traverse, he saw the sign saying that Gunsight was open and headed up there instead.  Both C and I were skeptical - Gunsight without a warm-up run first? - but the run turned out to be fantastic.  We didn't get first tracks but it was stuffed full of soft, deep snow.  C took his first fall of the day with his first turn, burying the tips of his tele skis and somersaulting over them; he wiped out another three times on that run alone (and then I stopped counting but he fell a lot, all day, just not used to skiing in such deep powder).  Not to be outdone, I buried my own tip halfway down, but I would actually ski pretty well all day and only fall one other time.  H didn't fall at all, his powder skis carrying him through everything seemingly effortlessly.

C in motion, bottom of Gunsight

After skiing out of Gunsight, we went down and caught the Sunnyside lift to get back to the Sugarloaf lift.  From there, we skied around the EBT and went into Yellow Trail and East Greely, hoping to get a good run there before the sun baked the nice snow.  East Greely in particular was great: people had been in there but it wasn't chopped up too badly.  We could hear bombs going off (and see the smoke) across the valley in the Supreme Bowl and as we rode back up the lift, we could see that patrol had opened Catherine's Area.  We made a beeline for there and then pretty much stayed there all day.

C crashed out / me in motion, bottom of Gunsight

Skier traffic was pretty high into Catherine's but most folks didn't go much further than the So Long clearing, the first one you come to on the traverse.  As we hiked in there again and again, we consistently hiked further in, finding fantastic and untracked snow in the Snowshoe Hill and Last Chance areas.  C preferred skiing the narrow chutes and trees, liking the forced, quick turns, while I reveled in the wider glades.  H just skied everything.

C and me, both upright, East Greely

After lunch we did a run down Chartreuse Nose (chopped up but still deep in spots) and then went back to Supreme.  My legs were starting to fatigue and I stuck to a groomer as the guys went into a low chute in White Squaw.  The next run was back in Catherine's where C's telemark turns were taking a toll on his legs.  The clouds rolled in and the light went flat and yet the snow was too good to quit.  We finally skied out at 3 p.m., C's and my legs so cooked that we had to stop to rest even though we were taking a groomer.  This was C's last ski day of his trip and we did all we could do to show him a good time - having the weather cooperate and bring new snow for one of the best days of the season was pretty sweet.  It was a great visit - can't wait for next year!

Me, pausing and grinning, East Greely

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