Alta, UT 1/14/17

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Alta, UT 1/14/17

Postby Admin » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:14 pm

Day 26

Weather: Gorgeous cloudless skies and rather warm, great to get out of the doom and gloom in the valley. (Nope, mid-January dry spells with accompanying inversions in Utah are a myth, or so I'm told; nothing to see here, folks, just move along.)

Snow: Surprisingly compliant, even on the stuff that's been heavily skied. We got freshies when they opened Ballroom/Baldy Shoulder, Backside and Devil's Castle, all for first time since this week's storms (yes, more untracked even today).

Terrain is now remarkably well-covered. Not only is our base closing in on that magic 100", but many of this season's big storms came in wet and dense without too much wind. Things are covered like I haven't seen them covered in 5 years. Tight gullies like Dumb Chute are now broad boulevards. Getting into North Rustler below High Nowhere is now completely trivial. It's remarkable...as long as no one closes the spigot like happened two years ago, this is truly going to be a great year.

Nevertheless, dropping in from High Notch I inched a bit too close to one of the ridges on a right turn and found a spot where avalanche control had left only a couple of inches of seemingly unblemished snow atop a spine of jagged granite. I feared that my left ski was going to be ripped off my foot. According to Telejon, my impact managed to break off a piece of rock about the size of a large shoebox or small mailbox (I didn't stop to look). I think that's the only thing that prevented damage to the ski. It's unscathed, apparently only because the rock gave way instead of my ski. Still, it's my own fault, for I knew that line had avalanched down to a more shallow layer and I never should've turned so close to the edge of that ridge. I've gotten accustomed to not even thinking about coverage as base depths stack up in this stellar season, but due to avalanches that line probably had a third of the snow that the rest of the mountain does.

Crowds: Mobbed. I honestly think that today was busier than Christmas week. The longest lift lines we dealt with, however, were a manageable 6-10 minutes. Just a lot of map readers on random vectors -- yes, I found myself unexpectedly dodging more than a few -- and the aforementioned new terrain openings got tracked out much faster than they usually do. Snowbird was parked on both sides of the LCC Road. I left at 4 p.m. and it took me 45 minutes to get home on dry roads, twice the normal drive time largely due to Snowbird traffic.

Dining: We escaped the lunch crowds by dining at Rustler Lodge instead -- and yes, the soft shell crab BLT was back on the specials menu! \:D/ Thanks Meg! It came with fries or a different side if you prefer, and with tax and a 20% tip I spent $16 and change on my lunch...very reasonable in both quality and quantity for a sit-down meal in a ski resort. Actually, as much as I love them, a burger and fries at Watson Shelter would've cost me more.

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While Collins was packed when the lifts opened, we chose our own path on the Kitty.


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Hangin' with my homies. (photo: Tom)


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Hamburger Hill


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Devil's Castle making its own weather.


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Castle Apron -- yeah, we just skied that.


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Cool light on Sugarloaf Peak on our last lift ride of the day, although the photo doesn't capture how stunning it looked in person. Nevertheless, I haven't seen the north aspect of the summit that covered in years. Even in a big year it usually blows off.
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Re: Alta, UT 1/14/17

Postby Admin » Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:47 pm

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The imaginary January inversion. (photo: Theresa)


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The imaginary January inversion. (photo: Theresa)
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Re: Alta, UT 1/14/17

Postby lono » Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:47 am

Great report and pictures,I'm halfway thru a 4 to 6 week IR for a foot stress fracture,and that Alta stoke is just what I needed. Thanks.
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Re: Alta, UT 1/14/17

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:33 am

Looks like terrible skiing. Now we know why some locals recommend visitors should avoid this time frame.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Alta, UT 1/14/17

Postby Marc_C » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:56 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Looks like terrible skiing. Now we know why some locals recommend visitors should avoid this time frame.

Only if they're the kind of skier who tracks not only days but percentage and vert feet of powder runs by day.
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Re: Alta, UT 1/14/17

Postby Marc_C » Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:30 pm

Admin wrote:Weather: Gorgeous cloudless skies and rather warm, great to get out of the doom and gloom in the valley. (Nope, mid-January dry spells with accompanying inversions in Utah are a myth, or so I'm told; nothing to see here, folks, just move along.)


What's more, those that claim otherwise will look at the predicted snowfall in the coming week as proof positive. What they don't realize is this (from todays avi report):
We have a series of small storms expected to impact the state starting on Thursday. None of these storms are looking impressive at this time. However, it will bring a nice refresher to the mountains with 5-10" of new snow possible over a few day period.

...will not appreciably change things.
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Re: Alta, UT 1/14/17

Postby Admin » Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:34 pm

Ironically, on the day that led to this post I explained to Telejon over lunch how there was one particular detractor here to the fact that we almost always have a mid-January inversion/dry spell. His response?

"Of course we do! Everyone who lives here knows that."
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Re: Alta, UT 1/14/17

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:17 pm

:dead horse:

Yes you almost always have a January dry spell... and December, February and March dry spells. Snowfall is erratic and it is rare for any month to be continuously snowy.

The January dry spell is more likely to include an inversion because the entire month lies within peak inversion season of mid-December to early February.

Please explain why this has any relevance to an out-of-town ski visitor, who is only interested in snowfall incidence. There is essentially zero difference in LCC snowfall incidence from early December through the end of March.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Alta, UT 1/14/17

Postby Admin » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:27 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:There is essentially zero difference in LCC snowfall incidence from early December through the end of March.


That's true only if you're so short-sighted that you resort to averages to make your point. Were you to do the proper statistical analysis, you'd see what those of us who live here experience around mid-month each January.

So, there's your :dead horse: right back at ya!
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Re: Alta, UT 1/14/17

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:29 am

Every time admin or MarcC drags out the"averages" :dead horse: , I guess have to repost this.
Consecutive snowless day streaks at Alta Collins since 2005:
Dec: 11,9,8,8,7,7,6,6,6,5,5,4,4,4,4,4,4,3,3,3,3,3
Jan: 11,10,9,9,8,8,8,6,5,5,5,4,4,4,4,4,4,3
Feb: 10,10,9,7,7,6,5,5,5,5,4,4,4,4,4,3,3,3,3,3
Mar: 12,11,10,9,9,8,7,6,6,5,5,5,4,4,4,4,3,3,3,3

The above has nothing to do with averages and demonstrates that there's not a dime's worth of difference in in the incidence or severity of dry spells during the winter months at Alta.

The burden of proof is upon admin and MarcC to demonstrate such a difference using actual data instead of seat-of-the-pants impressions. Any time such a demonstration is requested
admin wrote:the silence is deafening.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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