Tuesday, December 29, 2015

ah yes, here are the hordes

In hindsight, it must have been the cold temperatures keeping the crowds away on Saturday, although H has an alternate theory that people spent Christmas at home, then traveled Saturday, then showed up to ski on Sunday.  Either way, the hordes we expected were at Alta in force on Sunday and all the requisite tourist crowd shenanigans were present throughout the day:  erratic skiing, inability to get on/off lifts, lots of falling, confusion in the lift lines.  It started off cold again (around 3 F at the base of Collins, but with an inversion that had it at 14 F at the top) but warmed up to the mid-20s under the sunshine.

We started off at Collins, with me doing a couple of groomers while H immediately pounced on his Sunspot run.  I needed to warm up after that so we gave the Ballroom a try.  Patrol had opened it late in the afternoon on Saturday and there had been a huge line of folks waiting to get in there; by Sunday morning, it was all tracked out but the wind-buff kept it soft.  The traverse was a little gnarly in a couple of places but it was good enough that we went back and did it again right afterwards.  We also saw our favorite Alf's cashier out there, ripping it up on her tele skis.

This is really too far away to tell, but
there are SO MANY people there

We got over to Supreme as soon as it opened and as we had hoped/feared, patrol had dropped the rope into Catherine's Area.  The snow was fantastic, of course, since this was the first it had been open all season, but there were so many people in there.  So many people.  I don't think I've ever seen so many people on the traverse, not even after a big snow.  Most people dropped off the traverse in the So Long section; we went a little further out to Sunset - contemplated going further but decided against it, mostly because we were overheating from hiking and sidestepping whilst wearing down.  I did two runs in there before needing to cool off on a groomer.  H did one more than I did and then decided to ski back to Collins to put his down jacket in the truck.  I did another couple of Supreme runs - the rest of the hill was practically empty because everyone was out in Catherine's Area, tracking things up - and then met him at Alf's a little after 1 p.m.  This was an excellent plan because despite there being so many people, the later lunch meant we had no trouble scoring a table.

After lunch we did a Cabin Run, having to avoid a ski school group that was stuck in the deep snow, and then moved back to Supreme so H could have one more go at Catherine's.  I opted out because my legs were tired after three straight days on my Rossignols - I haven't done three days in a row on those skis since my brother came to visit.  We skied out a little before 3 p.m..  We hadn't gotten as many runs in as we have on prior days because (a) it takes longer to do Catherine's Area and (b) the lift lines were much longer.  But it still felt like a successful day despite the hordes, clear and cold and at least a couple of good, deep snow runs.

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