Thursday, March 9, 2017


The weather was gearing up for another storm on Sunday so Saturday had a touch of "the warm before the storm" to it and it was also very windy ahead of the front.  Temperatures ranged from 24-42 F but it sure seemed colder because of all the wind.  Amazingly, the lifts were never put on wind hold but with it blowing steadily 30-35 mph, plus gusting to 55, it seemed like the lifts stopped a lot.  Mostly cloudy for the morning, the skies did clear to partly-mostly sunny in the afternoon, which was a treat visibility-wise.  Because of the forecasted warmer temperatures, I bravely went down a level in clothing - and didn't even wear my boot covers! But those winds meant that I was a little chilled throughout the day, especially since we did a lot of groomers, and my toes got very cold, although not so much that I had to take a mid-morning break to warm them.

We started off with a couple of runs on Collins per usual.  Then, at H's suggestion, we went straight to Supreme, thinking it might be more protected from the winds.  It was a little more protected but lots of other people figured that out too and at times the singles line wrapped around the corner.  As usual, Sugarloaf was the most wind-buffeted lift and there was hardly anyone skiing over there because of it.  Despite the crowds at Supreme, the line moved pretty quickly, even with shenanigans like kids trying to cut the line and Skier Services pouncing on them.

We ended up skiing together on Supreme the whole day.  The groomers were pretty good but anything off-piste was a generally little stiff.  Amazingly, Challenger was good by the afternoon (well, the bottom half of Challenger that was getting the most sun was good) and I did three runs on it, finishing by veering right at the bottom of the trail and following the rope line.

A whole herd of monoskiers

We noticed that there were a couple of groups getting their Alta on.  A Boys and Girls Club group was gearing up and practicing on the bunny slope first thing in the morning, and on the extra-fun side of things, Monopalooza 2017 was having their day at Alta.  All day we had noticed quite a few more monoskiers than one usually sees - although Alta being Alta, there's always someone weird on the hill.  Then, after lunch, we got to the top of the Supreme lift and there were about forty monoskiers all standing there, taking pictures and having a great time.  They all took off together shortly thereafter, with a bunch of them heading right down under the lift and dropping into the chutes with abandon.  It was very excellent.

Also very excellent: the nearly empty bus we had for the down-canyon ride.  We got our favorite bus driver - a really funny young woman with facial piercings and no time for bullshit, who likes to tell riders to "hang on!" as she roars out onto the roads and does an out-loud countdown when kids are taking too long to get their skis out of the rack - and there were only three of us riding once we got past Snowbird.  Our driver remarked that she couldn't believe H and I were able to read on the moving bus without getting sick, and then later, at a stoplight, she and I swapped sci-fi/fantasy book recommendations.

The winds continued to build over time, even down in the valley, and so much so that we didn't end up skiing on Sunday - just stayed home and listened to the wind howl around the house.  I confess that we felt ambivalent about that: we hate to miss a day of skiing but skiing in a lot of wind (plus flat light) is just not that much fun.  What made us feel better was was the mounting snow totals as the storm front finally pushed into the area: Alta would end up getting around 13" and that's nothing to feel bad about.

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