H took the week off between Christmas and New Year's Day, allowing him to rack up the ski days while I toiled away at work.
On Monday, he dusted off his telemark gear and reminded himself how to ski on them. Amazingly it wasn't that crowded up at Alta - so strange, during Christmas vacation - and he even managed three lift rides all by himself. The light was very flat and the temperature cold but reasonable (10 F at peak, 20 F at base). Ski patrol opened the Back Side in the afternoon (Yellow Trail, East Greeley, etc.), which they had been bombing the hell out of on Sunday, but he didn't venture in, his legs already fatigued from a whole day on teles.
Tuesday was cloudy and colder, damp, and just barely snowing off and on all day. Again, it didn't seem crowded - which is strange. H skied on his teles all day and although he thrashed his legs - telemark skiing is a lot more work than regular alpine skiing - he said he felt like he was starting to figure it out. Bonus: just as H was leaving for the day, he met Toby, a huge, sweet, slobbery St. Bernard who is a Town of Alta resident (i.e. licensed and allowed in the canyon), who was just strolling through the parking lot with his human.
H hemmed and hawed over Wednesday until around 9:30 a.m., trying to decide if he wanted to ski with more of the same conditions-wise. He did end up going up - because really, why wouldn't you? - but reported that it felt colder than earlier in the week (starting temperature at the base of 10 F) and all but one of his runs was taken in very flat light. Again, the trails and lift lines did not seem too crowded but Alf's at lunchtime was a complete zoo.
At 7 a.m. on Thursday, it was -5 at Wildcat base and so, as I trundled off to work, H took his time getting ready for skiing. It had gotten to not-quite 2 F when he got in line for the first chair of the day and warmed up all the way to 8 F by the time he called it quits. The sun was out, however, and it's always easier to face the cold when it's under bluebird skies. H reported that it wasn't as busy as he expected it to be - not doubt due to the frigid temperatures.
And now we're hunkered down at the house for New Year's Eve, a big pot of potato soup warming on the stove, sparkling brut rosé in our glasses and a Twilight Zone marathon on t.v. Happy New Year, everyone!