Monday, April 25, 2016

next to last, 2015/2016

Our next-to-last day of the 2015/2016 ski season was actually pretty similar to our next-to-last day of the 2014/2015 season.  A front moved through Friday evening, bringing high winds and choking dust to the valley when we went out for dinner (pulled pork plates and local beers at Bandit's Bar & Grill), then settling in and bringing a few inches of snow to the mountains.  The forecast promised off and on snow all day, getting heavy in the afternoon, with gusty winds and dropping temperatures.  This of course sent me into a tizzy about what to wear and I didn't quite get it right.

They didn't quite get the forecast right either, though, as we found mostly cloudy skies, flat light, gusty winds, occasional spits of snow and temperatures ranging from 26 F (summit) to 36 F (base).  Snow conditions were soft-ish, although the new snow got clumped up and scraped off the more-frozen base as people skied throughout the day.  Low down near the base area, things stayed soft, turning to slush as the day wore on, even without any sunshine to speak of.  Nor were there any skiers to speak of - when we left, the Wildcat base parking lot hadn't even gotten half full.

Not to worry: avalanche danger was actually 
pretty low when we skied past Supreme

With only the Collins and Sunnyside lifts open, skiable terrain was limited, especially with closures like the High Traverse and the Backside.  Off-piste wasn't a great option either since it had been sunny midweek and the ungroomed areas were pretty crusty from sunbake underneath the newly fallen snow.  Mountain operations had groomed both Mambo and Main Street, however, as well as Aggie's Alley which was accessible if you were willing to skate across the traverse past Ballroom, so there was enough to ski on, even if we were skiing the same trails over and over.  We did do an "around the world" run, off the top of Collins to Sugarloaf, cut across to Supreme, down through Sunnyside and back to Collins via the interminable rope-tow; it was sticky and slow and we had it all to ourselves.

I wasn't really feeling it for some reason (probably because I was a bit cold all morning with my not-quite-right layers) and we bailed out at noon.  More snow was scheduled to move through Saturday afternoon and evening so the chances of some heavy, sticky fresh for Sunday morning were pretty good.  It would be nice to have a sunny, warm, real spring skiing day for the final day of the season - it doesn't seem like we've had that many real spring skiing days - we'll just have to see what Mother Nature decides to bring us.

P.S. I haven't talked about it because I try to keep things positive here, but the lawsuit against Alta is finally over - hooray!!!  A couple of years ago a group of snowboarders sued Alta, saying that since Alta is on leased National Forest Service land, they were being discriminated against by not being allowed to ride at Alta - never mind that there are thirteen other Utah ski resorts that allow snowboarding, including Snowbird which is right next door.  The federal judge in Utah smacked them down and then they appealed the decision, taking the suit to the federal appeals court in Colorado.  This past week, the appeals court smacked them down again with a 3-0 decision.  So Alta is, was and continues to be for skiers.

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