Monday, December 21, 2015

a bit on the breezy side

The Sunday-Tuesday storm we were hoping for came through for us, delivering around 40" of snow to Alta by the time it was all over.  This packed down by about half by the time we got up to ski it on Saturday but still: 20" inches goes a ways towards covering up the rocks.  We anticipated a busy day, between the recent storm and more lifts (Supreme and Cecret) being open, so we left the house at 8:30 a.m.  The road up the canyon was a little bit busier than it has been, but it was clear and the vehicles kept moving.  When we pulled into the lot at Wildcat base, however, we wondered where all those cars had gone - they sure didn't seem to be there.

Atop Supreme - at last!

We did a couple of warm-up runs on Collins, noting that while the last storm did a good job of covering up the scratchy spots, there were still plenty of rocks poking through off-piste.  It was a bit on the breezy side too and so we moved over to Sugarloaf, hoping that the backside of the mountain would be more protected.  It wasn't and, in fact, as per usual with the Sugarloaf lift, the winds were even worse.  We tried to escape to the now-open Supreme but ski patrol was still doing avalanche control and they wouldn't be loading the chairs until after noon.  We took an early lunch then, to warm up and kill time, and then returned to Supreme for the rest of our afternoon.  H gleefully jumped onto the ungroomed No. 9 Express, so happy to get off the groomers.  I found the ungroomed and bumpy stuff to be a little stiff and crusty, and difficult to turn in,  Still, it was fun to work a few bumps, even as my legs complained that they weren't quite ready for that yet.

Woohoo/not a groomer

Really the only issue was that I did an appallingly bad job picking my layers this time.  The temperature at the base was 24 F, with a high temperature forecasted for 34-26F under partly sunny skies.  What I neglected to take into account were those fairly high winds, blowing in advance of the next storm.  I just wore my shell over a thin fleece, which neither broke the wind well enough nor was insulated enough.  When we were out of the wind, it was quite pleasant and my layering was fine; in the wind, however, I was cold.  Just more data for the journal, I guess.

The next, small storm moved in overnight, leaving just an inch of new snow on the hill by the time we got up on Sunday.  We stared out the windows at the socked-in mountains and stared at the heavy, low clouds filling up the webcam feeds, ultimately deciding to give it a pass.  If it had been nuking, we would have gone up for some storm skiing; if it had dropped more snow overnight, we would have gone up as well.  But terrible visibility, super-flat light and an inch?  It just wasn't that attractive and we decided that we could be indoor kitties for a day.

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