Day 37: The perfect storm.
(That's Skrad's subtitle for the day -- I'd never be that corny.
But a big, hearty thank you to UDOT, even though they cost me a vacation day. I put the computer back down to head up this morning for a couple of runs with birthday boy jkamien, intending to take just a short break from work. But then they closed the road at 10:30 a.m., with an estimated reopening at noon. I'd just gotten there at 9 a.m. for a 9:15 opening, so I wasn't going to split before 10:30 -- I'd just stay a little longer than planned. No biggie. But noon turned into 12:30 p.m. That turned into 1 p.m. Eventually, the estimate was pushed back to 3 p.m., and at that point I had no option but to call my employer and cash in a PTO day.
But damn, it was worth it! The 5 a.m. morning report was only 1" of new, a disappointment, so few folks bothered to get up there before the 10:30 a.m. road closure. They made a huge mistake! At opening it was puking at a couple of inches per hour and the wind was on auto-groom. It was actually 5" by opening (eight inches would fall today in total) and it was dense and creamy. And there was (relatively) no one there, semi-country club skiing!
Jkamien and I headed for the Kitty, hoping to stay out of the 55 mph wind gusts atop Collins and in the trees where we could actually see something. But Wildcat would be delayed until 10:30 a.m., so we gave up and started on Collins.Waiting for the Kitty in a full-on blizzard.
Boy oh boy, were we hemmed in! On looker's left, there was no skiing beyond Liftline Trees and the High T and Tower 10/Saddle Traverse were both closed. On looker's right, the boundary was at the Main Street gate. Liftline, Fred's Trees or Mambo...the choice was easy: Fred's.
Divine! Smooth, creamy, untracked goodness! From the Angle Station we traversed across Rock Gully and were the absolute first folks out into Wildcat Face -- trust me, that didn't suck. So much so that we did it again.
At the end of our third trip out there it was 10:28 by the time we reached the base, so we opted to wait for Wildcat and it opened right on schedule. More untracked goodness! Jkamien was huffing and puffing, mostly because he was working much too hard on these skinny little 78mm Stockli Stormriders. Thank goodness he's a strong skier, but man...that's just working too damned hard for nothing!
We lapped Wildcat a few more times before noticing that they opened the High Traverse, so we returned to Collins, where we passed my friend Jill waiting at the Angle Station. She and her friend Neil, both from Park City, joined us for a few runs through North Rustler before lunch.JillJillJill
Jkamien and three other guests at GMD formed a team for a trivia contest last night and came in second place, and won a plate of nachos and wings in the GMD saloon. I had bid Jill and Neil farewell, intending to head back to work, but once I realized that the road opening was delayed until 3 p.m. I joined the trivia winners in the bar for lunch and called my boss. It was then that I learned that Snowbird was closed completely! I was shocked so I checked their website -- sure enough, it showed 0/11 lifts open. I'm stumped.
Jkamien picked up some Armada JJ's at lunch and had a much better afternoon. After lunch we bumped into Skrad and spent most of the afternoon with him, with repeat laps through Thirds down to Garbage Chute, Bombay (I call the two the same; Skrad pointed out to me that they're actually different lines), and High Boy, which was ridiculously smooth and silky.
A self-avowed Collins snob, Skrad backed out when jkamien and I headed up Wildcat for one final run, a bus run down to the Bypass Road.jkamienjkamienjkamien
We finished up close to 3:45, when I joined jkamien in the saloon for an après-ski beer before heading down canyon at 4:30. Most of the few people who were there today had already split once the road reopened at 3:00, so the hassle factor of driving down canyon at 4:30 was non-existent.
Today didn't quite go as intended, but I'm actually glad that it didn't!