Friday, April 17, 2015

in which we say goodbye to supreme for another year

I know I said last weekend was one of my most epic fails in figuring out what to wear, but I think I need to revamp that and say that this whole ski season has been one outfit failure after another.  Case in point: I did it again on Sunday.  I looked at Alta's weather conditions and forecast - I did - and it said 25 F at 5 a.m., mostly sunny skies, high of 46F.  I upped my game a little bit and wore my UnderArmor base layer, plus a pair of hand warmers, and at the very last minute swapped out my mid layer for a lightweight fleece to wear under my uninsulated shell.  But it was way colder than I had been led to believe - it was 19F at the top until nearly noon! - and I was not warm the whole day.  (Poor H got very, very tired of hearing me complain about my frozen toes.)  And yet, despite my poor clothing decisions, it was a very good day of skiing.

The conditions were pretty good, for one thing.  Alta had gotten about an inch of snow overnight and, amazingly, that improved things a whole lot.  It was dust on crust for sure, since Saturday's soft spring conditions had gotten rock hard overnight, but that dust was soft and nice to ski on.  It was awfully grabby too, for some reason, slowing our wax-free skis down a lot.  Because of the colder temperatures, it took a long time for the snow to soften up (after 2 p.m. by my count) but that little bit of extra really made a difference.  There were hardly any people there either, which helped keep the snow on the trails.  We started off at Sugarloaf, just doing laps on Devil's Elbow and Rollercoaster.  Extrovert was pretty hard and I only did one run down it, dodging a couple of other skiers who were not at all happy with the frozen conditions; H liked it quite a lot and skied it several more times.  I'm not sure he made any turns.

A little after 11 a.m., we went over to Supreme to see what was going on there.  This was the last day for that chairlift as Alta does a rolling close:  Supreme and Cecret close first; then Sugarloaf and Wildcat will close next Sunday; then Collins and Sunnyside will be open for one last weekend.  On each lift's last day, people usually give "lifty treats" (cans of beer usually) to say thank you for the season.  Not-Ben had been our favorite lifty at Supreme: he ran the lift line very well, not suffering any fools, and he came to recognize us when, weekend after weekend, we knew how to go through the singles line correctly.  I'd picked up a small bottle of Jack Daniels and when we got over to Supreme, Not-Ben was standing in the corral so I just handed him the whiskey and said thank you.

We did a couple of runs on Supreme (where we saw Stef from Skier Services who said that she knew we'd be there for the last day) and then went in for lunch because my toes were frozen.  After lunch, as we made our way onto Sugarloaf, Martha from Skier Services remarked that she was surprised we weren't at Supreme.  Apparently we've got a reputation for liking that lift - it's nice to be a local.  We then went around the EBT and skied Collins for a couple of hours, doing laps on Mambo, Main Street and Aggie's Alley.  As the snow finally softened in places, my legs began to fatigue and I tried something new: not turning so much.  Lo and behold, it is much easier on the legs to make long arcs instead of lots of tiny turns.  Who knew?  I'll have to try that more often.

At 2:45 p.m., we went all the way back to Supreme and managed to get in three more runs there before the lift closed - for the season - at 3:30 p.m.  After that there was nothing left to do but ski out via Collins, perch on the truck's tailgate and have a toast to another season on Supreme.  Two more weekends left.

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