Wednesday, April 5, 2017

no foolin' for april 1st

April was ushered in with another gorgeous spring day, clear, warm and sunny after several days' worth of valley rain and mountain storms.  We assumed that the slopes would be packed with people, eager for bluebird skies after the eleven inches of snow.  Amazingly, Alta remained uncrowded all day, even into the afternoon.  What's more, the Supreme lift was closed all day for mechanical issues, meaning that there were only two big lifts - Collins and Sugarloaf - running (plus little Wildcat and then Sunnyside over at the bunny slope), and even so the lift lines were never long.  I guess people really are out of the skiing mindset at this point.

My jacket matches the sky!

Because Collins was sounding pretty frozen, we went straight to Sugarloaf to ski in the morning sun.  Ski patrol started shooting up Devil's Castle and the Baldy Chutes right away and when they dropped the rope into the Castle, H and I were among the first people in there, just by managing to time our lift rides correctly.  We traversed in quite a bit further than we usually do, passing a number of huffing and puffing people on the way, until we were in what I consider the leading edge of the middle.  It looks phenomenal, smooth and bright white.  It was rather awful, in actuality: although the new snow was soft underneath, there was a bit of a crust on top.  H was heavy enough to break through while I sometimes was able to skim on top; but turning was extremely difficult for both of us.  I ended up just sitting down a couple of times when the stiff snow forced my skis apart, rather than do the splits or wrench a knee.

Yes, it looks good.  April Fool!

We made big swooping turns down below Sugar Mountain and then went skier's right towards the Stadium Jump.  From here we picked our way down through Boulder Basin since the snow hadn't crusted up as much in the trees.  We weren't setting any records for style or speed but both of us really like poking around in the trees like that.  We made our way out past the Wonderland fort and back to the Sugarloaf lift.  Where we decided that once through the Castle was probably enough for that day.

Don't often get first tracks in Devil's Castle

After lunch we moved back to Collins, figuring the snow would be a little softer.  It was softer than it had been that morning but was still surprisingly scratchy in spots. We did a run on Wildcat - getting on the lift behind a group of presumed Alta employees: in their 20s, wearing short-shorts and leisure suits and long, straight skis - then had to scurry back to Alf's when we discovered that we'd lost the key to our locker.  Luckily, we found the key under the table we'd sat at for lunch and, thus relieved, managed a few more runs.

The snow was great at this point - only sticky in a few places - and I felt like I was skiing well.  Our legs tired, however, and the uncrowded patio at Goldminer's Daughter was calling to us.  April 1st was no joke in the spring skiing department, that's for sure.

Ed. note: there may be a slight delay in upcoming posts ... we have guests coming! Stay tuned!

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