Thursday, January 8, 2015

windy weekend, no waiting

Last Saturday was a cold one, forecast to be 14-19F with flurries and light winds but in actuality, it was 14F at Collins base when we got to Alta and only warmed there to low 20s.  It never got above 12F on the peaks all day.  Also all day: snow, steadily but not heavily (but way more than flurries), with an accumulation of about an inch by 2 p.m.  It was also very windy up on the peaks, making things slightly less pleasant - I'm not a big fan of windy days - although it wasn't nearly as it was that Sunday before Christmas.

There was hardly anyone in the parking lot by Goldminer's Daughter when we got there and we encountered no lift lines all day.  The lodges were a bit more crowded for early lunch since people were trying to get in out of the weather.  Sugarloaf's trails were medium-busy but nothing was as crowded as we expected it to be.  The snow was about the same as New Year's Day although it did improve throughout the day as the snow continued to fall.

For some reason, I was skiing terribly but improved throughout the day too, doing better after lunch. We did five Catherine's Area runs, finding the conditions better the further in we went; when we went all the way in, we actually found some soft snow which was great.  That one pitch is short but the snow is always good there.  We were alternating Catherine's runs with Supreme flyers because I needed to hike back into Catherine's often to stay warm.  We ended up staying on Supreme all day because the wind was to our backs on that chairlift - much more pleasant that way.  Both of us got cold feet but we managed to stay mostly comfortable otherwise, especially with the hiking we were doing. 

Hiking into Catherine's Area on Saturday

As we headed down canyon, the falling snow petered out below Snowbird and by the time we go to the valley, there was some sunshine and blue sky poking through the inversion.  Since it was our move-iversary (five years, three months) we didn't go straight home, instead swinging by the Porcupine for a pitcher of Full Suspension and a chicken quesadilla.

East Greeley

Sunday was a little warmer, a little less windy and a little sunnier.  As usual, we skied Sugarloaf and Supreme (one of these days we should do some early runs on the front side before it gets skied off).  After being closed the day before, the EBT and the Backside were was open and I did much better on my run on through East Greeley than I had managed on New Year's Day.  I hope this means I'm finally getting my ski legs.  Rock N Roll was also open after being closed all Saturday and it had some nice snow on it, at least at first.  Alta was not at all busy: we never waited in line and even lunchtime wasn't crowded.  All the tourists have gone home, it seems, plus not many locals were out because there had been no new snow for days, other than that inch from Saturday.  Still, it was a nice day and a good weekend of skiing.  The week ahead looks dry and inversion-y, however, and it's now just a waiting game until the next storm moves in.

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