Sunday, December 25, 2016

no groomers

Just in time for Christmas, another wonderful storm moved into Utah.  It started late afternoon on Friday and then just settled in for a while.  It was fairly warm on Friday into Saturday, so we just got rain down in the valley.  Temperatures up at Alta were pretty warm too: 20 F at the summit and around 30 F at the base on Christmas Eve Day.  The best part is that the storm stuck around all day on Saturday so (a) there were hardly any people because people out here don't like to ski when it's snowing and (b) the day got better as it went on, with tracks getting filled in quickly.  And I was pretty sure it was going to be a good day when there was a 150 lb. St. Bernard greeting skiers - Toby, certified therapy dog - outside the Goldminer's Daughter Lodge when we got off the bus.

We did four runs off of Collins to start.  Since Alta reported only three inches overnight (which had increased considerably by the time we got up there), I was skiing on my Salomons.  They were clearly too skinny for the actual amount of snow but I had figured that the snow would be kind of heavy/wet and would get chunked up quickly, and my Salomons are much easier to turn than my wider Rossignols.  And I was right: nothing at all had been groomed out so Corkscrew quickly became a bumped-up mess.  I abandoned it after two runs and found Collins Face to be skiing much better with less traffic.

Top of Collins Face

H then announced that he was going for Gunsight.  I wasn't feeling it so I decided to head for Supreme and we made plans to meet for lunch at Alf's.  The Gunsight run ended up being pretty good but a long slog: he was one of the first people in there and the traverse/sidestep had started low - it took him 35 minutes between the hiking up and the skiing.  The first ten meters in the chute were a little gnarly too but he said that after that, the snow was fantastic.  Over at Supreme, it was very windy.  The conditions were mixed at the top but were excellent in the trees: deep, soft and light.  With my skinny skis I didn't dare go into Catherine's but had a lot of fun on No. Nine Express, the Erosion Gullies and the ropeline/low gates into Vicky's/White Squaw.

View from Gunsight

After lunch (where we were pleased to see our favorite cashier, Carrie, back at work during her month-long winter break from UVM), we both went to Supreme.  With the free refills from the continuing snow, it was just so good - and there was hardly anyone there so our tracks were getting filled in between runs.  (The storm total by Christmas morning would be 17" for Alta.)

With several more days of skiing ahead of us. we didn't fight it when our legs started to holler, catching the 2:30 bus back down to the valley.  Soon enough we were in our soft pants, the Christmas tree lights glowing softly  Dinner was a New Mexican green chile stew and a brut pink champagne and entertainment was Elf.  Outside, the temperatures dropped and the snow started to fall in our yard as well as up in the mountains.  It would be another good day for skiing on Christmas but, frankly, it would be hard to beat what we'd just had on Christmas Eve.

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