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Alta, UT 2/6-7/2016

PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:37 pm
by Admin
Days 42 & 43: Warm sunshine.

After what seems like powder days for weeks on end, we finally caught a weekend of warm sunshine. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

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I just love this photo, obviously not that I took it. KSL-TV took this photo of Alta from their helicopter on Friday, 2/5/2016.

Thursday night was the last storm of this cycle. Alta picked up 13" of cold smoke when the forecast was for only a trace to 3". And it was highly localized -- Brighton picked up 5", the Park City ridge line 3" and everyone else a dusting. Season total is now over 300" to date, and the settled snow base at the mid-Collins snow plot is finally in triple digits.

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The white board at Supreme says it all.

So as might be expected, the day after a storm and with sunny, warm weather, LCC was mobbed on Saturday. I overslept and didn't leave the house until 8:35 a.m., and traffic was like a powder day -- I was lucky to make it to GMD at 9:15.

The only gate that remained closed on Friday was Devil's Castle, and that was on the expected openings list for Saturday. Sure enough, people were lining up for the rope drop as early as 10:30 a.m. -- and it didn't open until 1 p.m. The line was insane, and there was no way that I was going to wait for that feeding frenzy.

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The line-up for Devil's Castle still a full hour before it would open.

Instead, we lapped Supreme hoping to get into the Castle via the Apron Gate, but when the line for Supreme got excessive while ASP was still bombing the Castle we abandoned that strategy, too.

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Telejon and AmyZ prepare to board Supreme.

We actually got a new terrain option this week that we haven't seen for a few years: the Russo gate that leads from Thirds into Eddie's High Nowhere, providing a sort-of "back door" to access upper Backside without the High Notch hike. Skidog found out on Friday that ASP re-established that gate, so of course we had to go sample that route.

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Looking out across Backside from Eddie's High.

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Looking out across Backside from Eddie's High.

We found absolute untracked still remaining in a little stash that we frequent near the bottom of Backside. Late in the day, we were returning there from the top of Sugarloaf, and I decided to drop off the EBT en route to meadow skip through some low angle untracked. There were hard balls of cat crap below the EBT, and I straightlined through those both to avoid having to turn on that stuff, and also to carry some speed into the untracked below when BAM! I got body-slammed into the ground. I'm still not entirely sure what I hit, but I think that it was someone's sitzmark that I obliterated when I fell in the same place. Both of my skis went from mach 3 to zero instantly and I double-ejected. The shovel of one ski hit me in the ribs and I wrenched my lower back in the process.

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So when I got up this morning, instead of heading straight to the coffee machine I made a detour first to the bottle of ibuprofen and popped four. For a moment I considered skipping skiing today, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. I'm glad that I did, for I think that skiing actually stretched my back out, for the better. Now it's the ribs that hurt the most.

Weather today was nearly identical to Saturday's, but with a bit of wind added to the mix at the highest elevations. Crowds were a bit more manageable than they were on Saturday.

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Albion Gully and Little Cottonwood Canyon.

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The Collins loading area from the Goldminer's Daughter Saloon.

After lunch, Bobby Danger and AmyZ went to Snowbird while TheOtherAmy went home, so I was on my own. I headed for this season's first trip to Devil's Castle, finding cold, dry snow that was still only lightly tracked below Stadium Jump.

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Devil's Castle

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Devil's Castle

Just moments after taking those two photos, I was milking the powder below Stadium Jump when I heard a yell from behind me. It came from a moron punk who was straightlining the hill at 40-50 mph, and he was bearing down on me only a second or two from impact. I had to throw myself to the ground to keep from ending up in front of him and I swear to God, he missed me by about 18".

We were literally the only two people in sight. He kept going, and I was pissed. I chased him down and gave him a few choice words. His response? "But dude, you came out of nowhere!"

I not-so-calmly pointed out that I was the downhill skier, and without any blind rollovers or even a single friggin' tree I certainly did not "come out of nowhere." I further pointed out that he was nowhere in control to avoid skiers below him, swore at him a few more times and skied off.

Effin' moron. If he had hit me at that speed he could've killed me, and the little [censored] had the nerve to act like it was my fault.

I was still fuming about the whole encounter when I arrived at Supreme to take a few laps. What ultimately calmed me down was bumping into Tirolerpeter at the loading area, as he's up visiting from Vegas for a few days. It's not up to me to explain this, but Peter -- given your recent history I'm just glad that you're simply still alive, much less skiing. Good on you, bud! =D>

I finished up my Sunday with a trip down Greeley Hill. I thought that Mrs. Admin was going to come up for the 2:30-4:30 ticket, but when she didn't show I called it a day and headed home, well satisfied by another fine weekend in paradise.