Monday, February 16, 2015

all open for business

Once again, we took our time getting up to Alta on Saturday.  It was already feeling warm up at 9:30 a.m.; we are 36% below normal/average on snowfall and temperatures for the last month have been way above normal.  On the plus side, Alta's conditions continue to hold their own amazingly well.  On the negative side, ski resorts in California and the Pacific Northwest are already closing and if we don't get some snow soon, I imagine the Park City resorts may not make it through the end of March.  Local forecasters are beginning to get hopeful about a pattern change but still ... we're all pretty envious of the snow the east coast has been getting.

Nearing the top of East Castle

Strangely enough for a holiday weekend, it did not seem as crowded at Alta as it was last Saturday.  Everything is now open, including East Castle and Main Chute on Baldy, which helps spread people out across the resort.  We did four groomer runs on Collins, then moved to Sugarloaf.  We only did one lift ride there before getting twitchy with all the newbies on the trails, so we moved over further to Supreme.  When we got to the top of Supreme, I suggested we do East Castle which had opened a couple of days earlier.  We had done it last March for the first time, shouldering our skis for a thirty-five minute boot-pack up to the very top.  This time they had set the climb as a side-step (reportedly the longest side-step in Utah - and possibly in North America): both brutal and exhausting.  It took us fifty minutes to shuffle up that climb, getting passed only by skiers with AT bindings and skins, left legs burning.  As we had started out, I muttered to H that there was no way I was going to be able to side-step all the way but apparently I'm stubborn and as long as he was moving up, so was I.  By the time we got to the top of 2nd Chute, we were both soaked with sweat.  After resting for a few moments, we skied down with 2nd Chute all to ourselves.  The snow was softer on skier's right but the whole thing was pretty well chunked up with avalanche bombing debris.  My legs were completely wrecked from the side-stepping and once again, just like last year, I skied it terribly, having to stop to rest every few turns.

Just a few more side-steps to go

We went straight to Alf's for lunch once we got out of East Castle to Rock N Roll and my legs were shaking so much that I wasn't sure I'd make it.  After lunch we did a run at Sugarloaf then went back to Supreme for the rest of the afternoon.  Groomers were all my poor legs could take but luckily #9 Express and Sleepy Hollow were skiing really, really well with soft, spring-like conditions.  When Supreme closed at 3:30 p.m., we did one last run on Sugarloaf and then skied out, pointing the truck down canyon at 4 p.m.  I was exhausted when we got home (even with that big hike we managed seventeen runs on the day) and it was unavoidably an early bedtime.

Art shot at the top of 2nd Chute

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