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Snowbird and Alta, UT 6/4/06

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 4:22 pm
by Admin
Day 60:

Yesterday was so good, Bob Dangerous and I just had to do it again today! And besides, it let me hit my 60-day target for the lift-served season. With yesterday, that's 20 consecutive calendar months of skiing.

For those who may have missed it, despite the fact that Snowbird "closed" to skiing and snowboarding on May 29 they're allowing folks to ride the summer sightseeing Trams with gear as long as they sign a liability waiver. It's $10 a ride, or $45 for the entire summer season. The Tram runs every 30 minutes, on the hour and the half hour from 11 am until 8 pm, although skis are allowed only until 4 pm.

Unlike yesterday, we managed to make the 11 am Tram. And unlike yesterday, the June sun was blazing through cloudless skies. It's 91 here in the Valley as I write this, and it was already into the mid-70s at the base of Snowbird by 11 am.

For our first run we opted for Nirvana, and to get there via the Mid-Cirque traverse only required us to step across two bare spots no more than 6 feet long each. No big deal, especially for June at a closed ski area. :roll: Nirvana itself...was. Corn perfection, with only small sun cups and reasonably firm snow despite the high temperatures. Nirvana just goes on, and on, and on for an extended vertical drop right down to the top of Big Emma. There we had to sidestep across the plowed road and onto Big Emma, skiing down to Bass Highway. Here we had to click out and only walk the west-facing portion of Bass Highway between Big Emma and Wilbere Ridge, from which point you could ski all the way back to the Tram.

Arriving in time for the noon Tram trip, we learned that Snowbird president Bob Bonar had been hiking in Peruvian Gulch, witnessed folks skiing Great Scott, and telephoned staff to reverse their decision to open the Gulch and once again declare everything in Peruvian Gulch off-limits. So now, you either ski into Gad Valley or hike across the Peruvian Ridge to access the summit of Baldy. We opted for the latter.

Once again, the remaining snow yielded a rather painless hike up Baldy. We paused for a while to admire the views and marvel at the flowering Alpine tundra. Before long, however, we clicked back in and headed to the top of Main Chute just as some iron woman was reaching the top by hiking up from Alta with her dog.

Bob dove in first, kicking off a river of heavy slush that kept running...and running...and running. I dropped in a few hundred verts myself and kicked off a similar river, then topped to take a short video of the curious phemonenon even though we saw the same thing happen last June.

We finished up on Harold's again, where three young women were glissading, and headed down Schuss Gully right back to the parking lot at Goldminer's Daughter as we did yesterday, 3,000 vertical feet below the summit of Baldy.

By now it was 1:30 and we were done. We stopped at Wendy's for a quick lunch and marveled at the view of Salt Lake Twin Peaks and Lone Peak from the parking lot. In between, the top of Snowbird's Hidden Peak was visible, as was the Tram's Tower 4.

"Heluva place for a fast food joint," Bob remarked. "If there was a place back East with a view like this, it would be filled with $10 million homes."

I'm at home typing this with sunburnt arms.

Re: Snowbird and Alta, UT 6/4/06

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:32 am
by Marc_C
Admin wrote:Arriving in time for the noon Tram trip, we learned that Snowbird president Bob Bonar had been hiking in Peruvian Gulch, witnessed folks skiing Great Scott, and telephoned staff to reverse their decision to open the Gulch and once again declare everything in Peruvian Gulch off-limits.

Their web site has been consistent in saying that P.G. is closed to all traffic all summer, so was there really a reversal? Did the tram op or someone say something specific about PG being open on Saturday? Yeah, your photos from Saturday show a lot more tracks than just yours and Bob's!

From the photos, Nirvana looked to be in better corn shape than the chunky goodness of Main Chute. Was that the case?

Re: Snowbird and Alta, UT 6/4/06

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:46 am
by Admin
Marc_C wrote:Their web site has been consistent in saying that P.G. is closed to all traffic all summer, so was there really a reversal? Did the tram op or someone say something specific about PG being open on Saturday? Yeah, your photos from Saturday show a lot more tracks than just yours and Bob's!

From the photos, Nirvana looked to be in better corn shape than the chunky goodness of Main Chute. Was that the case?


On Saturday, no restrictions were announced on the tram. On the 11 am Sunday trip, they announced that the only off-limits area was that section of the ridgeline from Gorilla Pass (the top of the Chip's switchbacks) to Great Scott, not inclusive. By the noon ride the word had arrived that all of the Gulch was again off-limits.

Main wasn't nearly as chunky as the photos would indicate. You're looking at the river of slush. Either side of the river was smooth and perfect.