Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Oops - had this post loaded up but forgot to schedule it to publish ...

The thing to keep in mind whilst spring skiing is that things are going to vary throughout the day: temperatures, condition of the snow, crowds.  We skied 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and started with high, thin clouds, chilly temperatures, rock-hard frozen corduroy on Collins.  It was not crowded because very few people were willing to ski on that surface and so most folks went over to Sugarloaf. By the time we gave up on Collins after about five or six runs, the Wildcat base parking lot was still less than half full.

When we got to Sugarloaf, it was readily apparent that all the people were there.  That lift is still struggling to figure out the singles line: where they've got it now requires the lifties to pay attention and be involved ... and most of the lifties aren't that into that.  We got out of there after one lift ride, not wanting to deal with the crowds, and went to Supreme.  Supreme was as well busy but the singles line moved quickly there.  The issue at this chair was the lift itself which stopped a lot throughout the day, both because of people have loading/unloading issues (dropping poles, falling over on the conveyor belt, falling off the chairs) and also some mechanical issues.

All through the morning it stayed too frozen off-piste to venture far afield: we didn't see anyone (or rather very, very few people) in Devil's Castle, Catherine's Area or the Backside - which was closed most of the morning anyway, most likely due to it being super-frozen.  After lunch we gave Devil's Castle a try: it wasn't frozen but it wasn't soft either; the snow felt tough, scoured fairly featureless from skiing and wind.  We opted to not go back in.  Instead we went back to Supreme and all of a sudden things got soft.  We skied the usual suspects that we've been skiing of late: Sleepy Hollow had huge slushy bumps on it; we didn't bother with Challenger because it hadn't been groomed and there were huge muddy bare patches.  We did do two runs into Catherine's where it was not-soft at the top and very-soft at the bottom.  No porcupine sightings this time.

Well-beaten in Devil's Castle

Here's the thing: if we don't get any snow, there is no way Alta is going to be able to stay open for the next five weeks they're supposed to be open.  There are hot spots opening up all across the mountains and if we don't get some snow on them, fill them in and cool them off, they're just going to spread.

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