Tuesday, April 7, 2015

never quite warmed up

Ah, the vagaries of springtime.  We got a small storm earlier in the week, which dropped approximately two inches of snow in the upper Cottonwoods, and then a bit of a cold snap.  This meant that at 5 a.m. on Saturday it was 23F, meaning everything that could freeze solid, did freeze solid.  Of course I got my layers wrong and was cold all day; I should have gone back to the truck and gotten my hand-warmers at least since all we were doing was cruising (me)/flying (H) down groomers and thus not working very hard.

Alta was, not surprisingly, not crowded.  We had clear skies with sunshine but a consistent, chilly wind; at midday, high, thin clouds moved in but after lunch those clouds cleared and we were back to sunny and breezy for the afternoon.  When we started skiing Saturday morning, we went straight to Sugarloaf.  Even there the snow was hard and pretty fast.  Temperatures stayed too cold to allow the conditions soften much in the morning - we were skiing on sugar (granulated) snow but not corn snow.  It was cold on the lifts with the wind and I just didn't warm up as we skied because the hard conditions encouraged us to stay on the groomers.

We tried Supreme, hoping to get out of the wind, and found it slightly more protected from the breeze with not many people.  There were enough skiers, however, that the trails were starting to get scraped off fairly quickly, but with the good visibility we could see where there was snow and aim our skis there.  Our fingers and toes got cold and when we went in for lunch, we were both chilled enough that we never really warmed up, other than getting our fingers and toes back.  We went back to the Collins side after lunch, hoping that the snow would have softened there.  It hadn't, except at the very base where the corral was getting slushy.  The cat track off the top of Collins was hard and slick, treacherous for people not used to used their edges, and H reported that High Main Street was a sheet of ice.  Folks, we've skied on ice back east so this was actually ICE, not what native Utahns think is icy (what Easterners call "packed powder").

You can see how bare the mountainside is across the valley

By 3 p.m., it still hadn't softened much except in a certain few spots in direct sun.  More people had moved back to Collins at this point, which wasn't ideal because they would side-slip down some of the harder sections, scraping off what little snow was there.  When my fingers and toes got cold again, we called it a day, quickly downed a beer on the tailgate and headed home.

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