Tuesday, January 27, 2015

if you're just skiing groomers, you might as well count them

Another weekend, still no new snow.  We're about 26% below "normal" snowfall (and after the last three years I'm beginning to think that "normal" may need to be recalibrated) but we're still ahead of where we were last year at this time.  So there's that.  As we headed up the canyon after a leisurely breakfast of coffee, o.j. and fried egg sandwiches with bacon, I figured that the only locals up at Alta would be eastern transplants like us, people who don't mind skiing/know how to ski on hard snow, in addition to the tourists.  Native Utahns think that the conditions are "icy" right now.  It isn't icy, if you've ever skied back east, but it is firm and fast.  Real eastern icy conditions are referred to as "packed powder" anyway.

It was partly sunny in the morning and in the mid-20s, good temperatures and positively pleasant when the sun came up over the mountains.  As we did our five runs on Collins first thing, no one was going into Main Street/Race Course at all but a fair number of people were taking the traverse across the Ballroom and then bootpacking straight up (currently allowed by Ski Patrol) to just below the cliffs to nab some untracked snow.  H thought that looked like a lot of work for just five or six turns.  I agreed.

We stuck to groomers all day since the offpiste stuff was quite firm, moving from Collins to Sugarloaf to Supreme.  The Supreme lift line got really busy just before lunch but afterwards, all the people disappeared and we were skiing right onto the lift.  We ended up doing nineteen runs with 26,800 vertical feet on the day before I got too cold (even though the temperatures were fairly warm for the time of year, we weren't working very hard since we were just skiing groomers and my feet got very cold) and we called it a day.  The clouds had moved in by then anyway and the light was flat.  There was still no measurable snow on the horizon - although the cloud cover was spitting a snowflake out occasionally - but Sunday's forecast was for spring skiing-like warmth.  If you can't have snow, you might as well have sunshine, I guess.

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