Day 44: Corn on the cob.
Tony Crocker, Liz and I ventured north today to the Ogden Valley to Snowbasin.
Ever since Monday's snowstorm it's been frighteningly warm in Utah, with temperatures in the mountains in the 40s and the Salt Lake Valley in the mid-60s. This is weather that's 5 or 6 weeks ahead of schedule. The Crocker Utah curse continues.
But still, today was delightfully gorgeous out. Friend Nathan, visiting from New York, joined us on our third run. We spent the morning with Megan Collins, who works in Snowbasin's marketing department and whom I first met while she was working at Crested Butte two seasons ago
. Thanks to a chance encounter in John Paul Lodge we spent much of the afternoon with Snowbasin patroller Kevin Sheridan, who was one of my guides with Whisper Ridge Cat Skiing last winter
and has since become a valued friend. Talk about expert local guidance!
We managed to find great snow today, with a few exceptions. I figured north-facing Lone Tree would be carvable and chalky; instead it was bulletproof and downright frightening. All I could do is hope that my Dynafits would hang on as I tried to ride the chattering,bucking bronco and probably knocked a few fillings loose in the process. Still, that was today's worst error in judgment and we quickly learned from our mistake. A high, thin cloud layer that moved in the afternoon slowed the softening, but our last run through untracked corn from the top of Philpot Ridge all the way down to Penny Lane was undoubtedly the best run of the day. The next best thing to untracked pow is untracked corn.
We hoped to ski Mt. Ogden Chute today, but while waiting for it to soften Ski Patrol closed the gate that access that hike at around noon for fear of wet slides. By playing our aspects right we scored nearly perfect corn all day long. I even managed to drag Crocker into what he considers to be tight trees.
Snowbasin was packed today thanks in part to their only demo day of the season, and even at 10 a.m. we were forced to park in the next to last Maples lot. Still, liftlines were nearly non-existent.