Wednesday, December 23, 2015

yesssssssss (qualified)

Finally, finally we've gotten some great snow!  Since Sunday night/Monday morning (12/21), it has been the snowstorm that just won't quit, with Alta getting 40 inches, Sundance getting over 50 inches and Solitude claiming the big total (to date) of 58+ inches.  For the first time in years, the Wasatch mountains are right around their "normal" snowfall for the date.  Fantastic!

H has some vacation days coming to him and so he went up to Alta on Wednesday.  Here are some of the texts I received while I slaved away at my office job:

8:49 a.m. - In line, with the traffic stopped west of Wasatch Boulevard.  Road to open at 9 and Town of Alta interlodged.

9:40 a.m. - Road now open.

9:12 a.m. - Starting to crawl.

9:18 a.m. - Made it to the sheep farm.  3 snow covered sheep walking around.  The rest are standing under the trees with vacant looks on their faces.

9:32 a.m. - Can see the traffic light at Wasatch Blvd.

9:54 a.m. - Just crossed Wasatch Blvd.

10:12 a.m. - On LCC Road.

10:31 a.m. - Wildcat Base.  Parking lot pretty full.  Not loading Collins.

10:52 a.m. - He's working to get it open:

Fitz, on the job (and the 
lift opened shortly thereafter)

10:55 a.m. - Just opened.  But only loading 2 at a time.

Then his phone shut down from the cold and I didn't hear from him again until he was at the car wash back down in the valley.  The report is that while the snow was quite good, the rest of the conditions really weren't.  It was extremely windy and thus cold (around 14 F at the base and 4 F at the top, not counting wind chill).  Visibility was terrible, between the low clouds and the winds blowing the snow around.  Although the snow was fairly light, it was difficult to ski because of the visibility: he'd be skiing along and then hit a pocket whiteout and have to stop because visibility dropped to about four feet.  It was tough skiing for sure: there was one poor tourist family, apparently here with their kids for Christmas, and they were so over their heads that a patroller had to guide them down from the top of Collins to Watson shelter, and then they downloaded on the chairlift from the angle station to base.  H did do eight runs, including a pretty good one in Fred's Trees, but most of the resort was still closed while patrol worked - Wildcat and Collins were the only lifts open all day.

Tough visibility, yes, but look at the snow!

Not the best day by any means ... but there's plenty of ski days ahead.

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