Wednesday, February 22, 2017

more of everything

Sunday gave us more of everything that we'd gotten on Saturday:  more people riding the morning bus, more people in the lift lines, more snow and more shenanigans out on the hill.  Alta got another four inches overnight, with an 11" storm total and the storm still going.  Temperatures were about the same but the snow quality ranged from big flakes to graupel to tiny bits of ice, depending on where you were on the mountain.  The snow was really quite good - and excellent if you could get off the high traffic areas - but a lot of the mountain was closed for avalanche control (Ballroom, Devil's Castle, Backside, East Castle/Rock N' Roll).  The safety closures, plus the high percentage of tourists, meant that parts of Alta (Mambo, Corkscrew, Devil's Elbow, Sugarbowl) were crowded with people, many of whom were out of their element or in over their heads.  I got cut off multiple times (stopped counting at five) by erratic skiers.  H almost got hit by a clueless dude who came flying onto a trail without looking.  Luckily, H saw him coming and hit the brakes - and then had a few choice words for the guy.

Seriously, though, the snow was terrific.  The visibility was still terrible and my boots were still too loose but for some reason, I was skiing much better than I had been.  I think I figured it out on a run down Razorback:  with the snow and flat light, I literally couldn't see anything, and everything was all bumped up so it just didn't matter - I just went for it.  This technique also worked on Extrovert.  H said he struggled there in the deeper snow but again, I just went for it without worrying about what I might be skiing on, and it worked.

Still in the storm

It worked again in Catherine's Area, when H led the way in there after lunch.  This wasn't the first time he has gone in there on his telemark skis but I suspect it was the most successful to date.  We went out to the middle meadow, leaving all the other skiers behind us the further we went in.  The snow was really good out there: we weren't the first people in there but the snow was still deep and soft and we had the place to ourselves.

That run pretty well wrecked my legs, however, and we decided we could do one more before skiing out.  On the last ride up Supreme, the storm unexpectedly broke.  We could see the cliffs of Devil's Castle for the first time in two days and there were even patches of blue sky overhead.  As much as we hated for it to stop snowing, it was quite nice to be able to see what we were skiing on as we made our way back to base.  It looks as though there will be a break in the action storm-wise for the next couple of days.  With the long weekend, we've got another day left to ski - I guess we'll see what we get on Monday.

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