Friday, April 24, 2015

shenanigans: alta's 2015 closing day #1

A carbon-copy of Saturday weather-wise, Sunday was Alta's soft close for 2014/2015 season - the last day of daily operations, although they'll be open for one more weekend.  For whatever reason, closing day #1 is when all the Alta crazies come out to play and they were out in full force on Sunday.

We got up there about a half-hour earlier than we had the day before and cruised the frozen corduroy for a while.  There seemed to hardly be anyone else skiing at that point.  We went directly to Sugarloaf and when H off-loaded a couple of PBRs into the lifties' treats cooler, he got applause and a handshake from the lifties.  The snow got softer with every run and we did laps on Devil's Elbow and Rollercoaster, with a mid-morning cruise by the now-closed Supreme lift before it got too sticky.  By then Extrovert had softened enough to give it a try.  H liked it pretty well and added it to his repertoire; halfway down it, my legs started shrieking at me and I realized I had thrashed my quads too badly on Saturday to be able to do anything but cruise groomers.  After our last 2014/2015 lunch at Alf's, we said farewell to the Sugarloaf lift (which will not be open for Alta's last weekend) and moved back to the Collins side.  We did several runs there, noting that the parking lot at Wildcat base had filled up for the first time in weeks and weeks.  But where were all the people?

Party people

All the people, in all their costumed glory, were hanging out underneath the Wildcat lift, perched on the sides of a gully just below Wildcat Bowl, watching the 5th 2nd Annual Frank World Classic Ski Competition and partying their butts off.  There were fantastic costumes: giraffe, dragon, unicorn, banana, Winnie-the-Pooh, boys in ballgowns, fairy wings, gold lamé, pleather, short-shorts, wigs of all kinds, 1980s sunglasses and ski outfits, Alta stickers worn as pasties, blue leisure suits - you name it, someone was probably wearing it.  I saw one guy walking around with a big bowl of fruit salad; another guy climbed up a tree to take photographs.  The partiers were drinking terrible beer, smoking funny things, shooting off firecrackers, throwing snowballs at each other and people in the chairlift above and cheering on the folks in the ski jump competition.   the organizers had built six ski jumps and every great jump brought a roar from the assembled crowd - as did the one naked ski jumper.  It was hilarious and a lot of fun - everyone just enjoying the gorgeous day, blowing off steam, celebrating another season at Alta.

We stayed up at the Frank quite a while, enjoying the people-watching, and then skied down to the Collins lift for one more run.  When we got back to the truck, there was a live Southern rock band playing at the far end of the parking lot so we walked down and listened to them for a while as we drank our aprés-ski beers.  The wind was brisk, however, so we didn't linger too long, heading down canyon around 3:30 p.m.

There's just one more weekend left for Alta although Snowbird will be open a while longer, with a tentative closing date of May 17th.  Mother Nature is not quite done with us, however, and the forecasters are saying there's another decent storm approaching, perhaps one last hurrah for those of us who like fresh snow.  To that I say, hurrah indeed.

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