Thursday, March 30, 2017

opposite day

Where Saturday was warm, cloudy, windy and wet, Sunday started cold, clear and sunny (19 F to start, but the base did warm to close to 40 F by mid afternoon) - a gorgeous bluebird morning.  I said to H that I predicted a much busier ski day attendance-wise since so many people don't like to storm-ski.  Add six inches of fresh snow to bright sunshine and the hordes emerge!

Because of the storm, the morning conditions were fantastic, with soft, smooth corduroy that our skis could just fly over.  Collins was cold, however, with most of its trails and all of the lift in the shade.  I had dressed a little lightly and after the first life ride and run back down I was already chilled.  I left H to head for sunnier Sugarloaf, making plans to rendezvous at Alf's for lunch if we didn't find each other first out on the slopes.

Alta's Main Street (ski trail)

It was definitely warmer on the Sugarloaf side and I just did laps there for a while.  But temperatures were still in the 20s and the groomers weren't warming me up at all, even the multiple Extrovert runs I did.  On one lift ride up, the guy sitting next to me was sweating and breathing hard; I asked him where he'd just skied.  He had just come down through Yellow Trail/Glory Hole/Glory Gulch and seemed very pleased with the snow.  I was a little skeptical, asking if it wasn't hard and scratchy under the new snow and he assured me that it was fine, even with just a few scratchy spots.  He sold me and since the line for the newly-opened Devil's Castle was quite long, I skated around the EBT and into the Backside.

The first pitch was okay, not great, and I moved across the low Yellow Trail traverse to Yellow Trail corner to contemplate my next move.  I realized that I was standing above a short pitch that H and I had never skied - we actually talked about it a couple weekends ago, because the turns looked nice.  It just went between a couple of stands of trees, not more than eight turns long, before turning left and following above Glory Gulch towards Glitch and Glatch.  Just a couple people had been down it and it looked good so I went for it.  My first turn was great, my second turn was great ... and on my third turn I hit a big crunchy bump under that nice fluffy top layer.  My skis stopped cold and I highsided it.  I wish H had been around to see it because it must have been impressive: I somersaulted off-axis twice and somehow managed to land standing upright, without having lost my skis.  If anyone had been around to see it, I'm sure I would have gotten some applause.

I met back up with H a couple of runs later and we skied together for the rest of the day.  The shock of adrenaline left my legs a little shaky so I was happy to cruise groomers for the rest of the day.  After lunch we moved to Supreme and did laps there.  Anything with bumps was pretty bad, scraped off in between the moguls, but the cruisers like Rock N' Roll and Lower Big Dipper were quite good.  I looked longingly at the folks hiking into Catherine's Area but reminded myself that if there were crusty bumps hidden in the Backside, there would certainly be plenty lurking in Catherine's as well.

The clouds moved in after lunch and after 2 p.m. the light got very, very flat.  I had been enough of a menace when I could see what I was skiing that we didn't feel the need to push our luck.  At the time of this writing, at home, I'm still mobile but I can feel some stiffness in my neck and shoulder.  I have a feeling I may be paying for that spectacular fall a little later tonight.

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