Thursday, April 13, 2017

april visitors: day 2 shredding the gnar

We are going to count Monday at Alta as a successful day.  The snow was fantastic, the weather was perfect and D and K were pretty much grinning ear-to-ear the whole time.  After that wonderful storm moved out Sunday afternoon, the clouds stuck around, preserving the cool temperatures and keeping the snow cold and soft.  There were a few high, thin clouds at first, with the mid-mountain temperature around 16 F, but the skies cleared as the day wore on.  It did warm up a bit, getting to 41F at the base by the afternoon,  but the snow stayed pretty good even then.

D, K and me, top of Sugarloaf

D and K were (self-professedly) excited and nervous as we drove up the canyon.  The parking lot was almost a third full and the Collins corral had a lot of people in it, certainly more than would be expected on a normal mid-April Monday.  But most of those people were just there for a Baldy Chute run or first tracks in Devil's Castle and cleared out by lunchtime - we still never waited in line once.  D and K got their lift tickets; we loaded up on Collins and were off!

D and me on Supreme

K had requested to be eased into her ski day so we went straight to the Sugarloaf side, cruising Devil's Elbow on very soft corduroy.  Neither D nor K get to ski all that much but when they do, it's back east and they were both absolutely thrilled at the conditions: NO ICE WHATSOEVER.  H led the way on his teles and I skied sweep, in case I needed to collect equipment after a yard sale (unnecessarily, as it turned out).  We soon learned that K had no fear of speed.  And D kept saying over and over again how much fun he was having.

H, K and me, Snowbird Pass

After a number of runs on Sugarloaf, we moved over to Supreme, where the conveyor belt lift loading fazed them not at all.  We skied there until lunch time, doing laps on Big Dipper and Rock N' Roll.  At lunch, H quizzed our guests on how the reality of Alta compared to what they anticipated.  They both said that they had been a little nervous about how difficult the trails might be but that they definitely felt comfortable on what we'd been skiing.  H then pointed out that we'd skipped the bunny slopes entirely and had been skiing intermediate/blue trails all morning, and K looked pretty pleased about that.

H and K, Supreme selfie

So then after lunch I had the bright idea to go on a Cabin Run.  Back east, you rarely (if ever) get the opportunity to ski off-piste and I thought it might be fun for them to do something completely different: in the trees and the deep snow.  The pitch is pretty gentle in there so we did okay, although both D and K were amazed at how different it is, skiing in deep snow as compared to on groomed trails.  People got stuck a couple of times and K had one impressive fall when her ski tip got snagged in a tree, her binding releasing her into a puff of soft snow.  But we all made it out of the woods and back onto the groomed trails.  And then I wasn't allowed to pick any more trails for the rest of the day.

D and K, apres.  Smiles for days!

We skied until after 2:30 p.m., at which point K said her legs were getting a little shaky.  We went out through Sunnyside - and K, noting the trails, said she was glad we skipped the bunny slope and went right to the main mountain - and along the tow rope.  Skiing on a Monday means that there are plenty of patio tables available, even on sunny days, and we grabbed one right in the center of the patio so we could sip beverages and recap the day.  The recap was that it had been a really, really great day.

One of K's friends, envious that she was going skiing in Utah, had told her to "shred the gnar."  After a sunny day at Alta, skiing at altitude and going into the deep stuff in the trees, she can absolutely report back that she did indeed shred the gnar.

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