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Snowbird, UT 1/5/07

Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:22 am

Day 29: Knee-deep

Thursday's storm was a surprise. It started 6 hours earlier than normal, it started as snow in the SLV instead of rain as predicted, and there was a whole lot more of it and a whole lot drier than expected when I hit Snowbird today.

I'm attending one of Kristen Ulmer's Ski to Live clinics this weekend for an upcoming story. I drove up at 4:30 last night to the Cliff Lodge for the orientation and the roads were nasty, nasty, nasty. They had restricted canyon access to 4x4 or chains, and actually had two sheriff's deputies at the canyon entrance checking cars. It was dumping throughout the earlier evening, but seemed to taper off around 8 p.m. so I thought that was pretty much it.

I had to head back up at 6:15 a.m. for the program's 7 a.m. yoga session. This was my first attempt at yoga. My impression? Twister for the Marquis de Sade. 4x4/chain restrictions were still in place, and much to my surprise it was still snowing moderately when I arrived. \:D/

SLC locals have been powder-starved for 10 days or so, and the Tram line stretched halfway across the Tram Plaza even by 8:15 a.m. We roughly divided into three groups on the Tram Plaza at 9:15 -- those who wanted hard-charging take-no-prisoners aggressive skiing, those who wanted to mix powder and groomers, and those who wanted to take it easy. Despite only 4 hours of sleep overnight (The Kid's flight arrived back in SLC at 12:30 a.m., so I didn't get to bed until 2:00) I opted for the first group.

And charge we did. How hard? Just to give you an idea, one member of the group is a heli-skiing guide in Valdez. The statistics don't look like much, for we only did 4 runs before a 1:30 lunch, but holy crap, what four runs they were! We still got 10,909 verts in as those four runs consisted of three Trams and one MBE (thank God for line-cutting privileges for the clinic participants today). Two of those in a row were Baldy hikes, although we had a long break in between as we searched for a missing member of the group (it turned out that he lost a ski on a rock in the powder and never did find it after an hour of searching). Despite the fact that the mountain tracked up faster than I've ever seen it, we still scored knee-deep or better in Utah untracked fluff all day. As has so often been the case this winter, the wind moved the snow around such that it was much, much deeper than the reported 13 inches in places, and the lake effect machine kept the snow falling at varying rates all day. Step on the gas pedal a bit and we had face shots all day. Despite cloudless skies in the SLV, it was still snowing up there when I left at 7:15 pm.

We had a 3-hour zen enlightenment session at the end of the ski day, so I ambled back to the truck after lunch for a one-hour nap to stay awake through the evening. I admittedly went into this with a skeptical mind, but there were some nuggets to glean both for managing fear while skiing and to improve one's personal life and awareness of themselves - interesting stuff, but this will be the most challenging piece that I've ever had to write. More fun and games are on tap for tomorrow.

The group today lived up to its classification, and we worked so hard and so fast that I dared not slow the group down for on-hill photos. I only took one photo, and that was of the Cliff Lodge at 4 pm after awakening from my nap, just to show the snow still coming down.
01 snowbird snowstorm 070105.jpg
Still snowing well outside of the Cliff Lodge at 4 pm
01 snowbird snowstorm 070105.jpg (45.01 KiB) Viewed 2613 times
00 suunto s6 070105.jpg
Suunto S6 data for the day
00 suunto s6 070105.jpg (55.74 KiB) Viewed 2605 times

re: Snowbird, UT 1/5/07

Sat Jan 06, 2007 7:47 pm

Sounds like a damn good time. I feel the ski searches pain (except by a some sort of miracle I found my ski 200 yards down hill).

re: Snowbird, UT 1/5/07

Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:59 pm

Rogerk, I split your questions about Ski to Live's techniques for dealing with fear to a new topic here: ... php?t=2603
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