Monday, March 28, 2016


A very nice midweek storm brought Alta a much-welcomed 20 inches of snow and that, plus a sudden drop in temperatures, made it feel a little bit like winter again Saturday morning.  The reported 7:00 a.m./12F mid-mountain temperature caused me to fret about what to wear and I ended up settling on some winter-like gear: down parka, heavy long-johns and my boot covers.  The layering worked very well for the morning; in the afternoon, the sun came out strongly, as it is wont to do at the end of March, and I was way overdressed.  Still, when it began to cloud up just a bit in the afternoon, I appreciated the extra warmth.

Both H and I thought that the snow was really pretty good.  It had stayed fairly cold and cloudy up at Alta through the week, which kept that new snow soft.  It was largely tracked out, with only a two-inch refresh from Friday, but explorations into Catherine's Area and the trees below East Castle/the Apron paid off nicely.  It was definitely warming up, however, and by the afternoon, things started to get heavy and sticky in the direct sun.  The winter conditions weren't lasting long but we enjoyed them while we could.

Gosh, that's pretty

I'm not a naturally outgoing person so I'm not sure why I like talking to strangers on the chairlift so much.  I suspect it's because it's for a very limited amount of time - once you get off the chair at the top, you never see these people again - plus there are so many tourists who have so many questions about Alta and Utah that there's always something to talk about.  Some days bring better conversationalists than others: Saturday actually turned out to be an excellent day for chairlift conversations.  Here's a sampling of what we got:

  • A guy from Swansea, Wales, who works with our neighbor, regularly skis in New Hampshire, was just in Portland (ME) last week and had a great dinner at Duckfat, and who is a Swansea City Swans fan (which is the Premier League team I support)
  • Another Brit who has a client who plays for Leicester City but who, as a lifelong Tottenham Hotspurs fan, was conflicted about Leicester's Cinderella story this year
  • The liftie who was on his fifth day of work, having shown up at Alta as a stop along his Mountain Collective grand tour and learned they were hiring - he was SO excited about his new job, which included a mountainside place to live and a meal plan
  • A woman on tele skis who lived in D.C., although with her daughter living in Grand Junction, CO, and her son in the Bay Area, "the compass is definitely pointing west."  Her family are long-time Altaholics and when we talked about how much fun Alta gets to be in the springtime, she told me that her son once skied High Rustler naked when he worked there for a season
  • An Aussie who had never been to Alta before but who, after his first three hours, was a total convert, gushing over the scenery and the terrain
The people are a large part of what I like about Alta, despite my complaining when the tourists can't figure out the lift lines.  Alta skiers are, for the most part, down to earth and friendly people who are just there to ski.  I am absolutely proud to call myself an Alta skier (in case you hadn't figured that out).

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