Tuesday, January 31, 2017

reaping the rewards

This last storm - wow!  The storm cycle lasted from January 20-27 and by the end of it, Alta had gotten 89", moving up the Wasatch Snow Forecast's storm totals chart and just edging out Brighton for the top spot.  With those numbers in mind, and with the forecast for 20s and sunny, we figured Saturday would be slammed.  The bus up the canyon was full, as was the corral as we waited for the lifts to open, but after that the lines didn't seem too long.

Everything was all skied out from Friday, except for Devil's Castle (which wasn't yet open and would stay closed through the day), but we did our best to find good snow.  Off-piste was strangely stiff in places.  I was struggling with my boots, now so packed out that I have difficulty getting them to fasten snugly enough, and that was affecting my skiing but even H noticed the heaviness to the snow in the Backside, even though he was on his Blizzard Cochises, which normally cruise through fluff and chop.  The coverage was great, however, and VERY deep in the trees and through the Cabin Run.

H at Cecret Lake, winter version

Catherine's Area was the best of the available terrain and was very good both all the way out near Catherine's Pass and also in those deep trees we like along the ropeline in the first meadow.  Since the crowd seemed to consist of tourists and families, there really weren't that many people in Catherine's and we were able to keep finding nice, untracked snow in places.  On our way out of our last Catherine's run, we stayed way skier's right, wrapping around a ridge/skiing out of bounds and descending to Alf's via the meadow above the Sunnyside lift.  I flailed around awkwardly in my too-loose boots but H floated right along through the soft stuff.

We skied until 3 and then decided to head out, choosing to go around the EBT instead of taking the rope tow from Sunnyside.  The EBT was miserable as the winds had been picking up throughout the afternoon; the cat track was swollen with wind-drift ridges, making it impossible to glide.  A couple of little kids even got blown over in some of the stronger gusts and the right side of my face felt raw by the time I made it around to the front side of Collins.  Other than that last windy bit, it had been a good day with sunshine and comfortable temperatures - just wish I'd skied it a little better than I had.

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