Alta, UT 2/21/11

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Alta, UT 2/21/11

Postby Admin » Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:19 pm

Day 52: Insane! (Insane snow, insane traffic, insane crowds.)

Hands-down the best day of the year so far. Also the most crowded I've ever seen the Cottonwood Canyons. Take a bluebird powder day and stick it on a holiday and, well...it's to be expected I guess. Driving up this morning took 50 minutes, double the normal time. Traffic southbound on Wasatch Blvd turning left to head up Big Cottonwood Canyon was backed up for a third of a mile, nearly to the sand pits. Little Cottonwood Canyon was backed up beyond the Swamp Lot, forcing me off onto residential streets to bypass a mile of it. By the time I left the ski area at 11:30 a.m. they were diverting all uphill traffic onto the Bypass Road and forcing them to turn downhill where it rejoins LCC Road at E-Gate, parking Alta skiers between E-gate and the Hellgate Condos. :shock:

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Parking on LCC Road


There was not a single space on the shoulder of LCC Road the entire distance from Snowbird Entry 4 to Entry 1. By 11:41 the Salt Lake County Sheriff closed both BCC and LCC to all uphill traffic because "all ski resorts are at or near capacity." The singles line for Collins wrapped around and up the hill halfway to Wildcat. That equated to 15-minute liftline for Collins all morning.

But it was worth every second for Collins led to the goods today. Yesterday's snow was deep, but of medium or slightly heavier density. The last 9" of our 37" storm that fell overnight was far lighter, and the deeper stuff seemed to dry out in the clear and cold overnight air.

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Restaurant Hill


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Armpit


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Mount Baldy


As a result, we were back to Utah pixie dust this morning, and we arrived atop Collins right as the Ballroom/Baldy Shoulder gate opened for the first time since the storm began. In GMD we bumped into our friend Denis, here from DC for his annual three-week Utah powder bender. He's now 70, and while he may tell you that he's slowing down trust me, this guy can still rip!

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Denis in Ballroom


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Denis in Ballroom


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Denis in Ballroom


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Denis in Ballroom


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Tele Jon in Ballroom


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Tele Jon in Ballroom


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Tele Jon in Ballroom


It was so good, we went back for sloppy seconds.

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Admin in Ballroom (photo: Tele Jon)


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Denis in Ballroom (photo: Tele Jon)


For our third run, Jon and I opted to head out to Backside while Denis went for a third Ballroom. The Backside traverse was only set about a third of the way across the hill, though, so we skied all the way down and around back to Collins. We looked up and spotted Susie's Trees barely touched, so with the traverse not yet set we finished up my day by accessing Susie's via Cheater's Thirds to Eddie's High. Great call! Deep and untracked in Susie's, a fitting way for me to return to work and Jon to continue skiing into the afternoon.
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Re: Alta, UT 2/21/11

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:34 pm

admin wrote:Also the most crowded I've ever seen the Cottonwood Canyons.

I realize admin only had a couple hours, but for a whole day I would have opted for 14 inches at a quieter Snowbasin vs. 16 with the thundering hordes in LCC.
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Re: Alta, UT 2/21/11

Postby Admin » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:37 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
admin wrote:Also the most crowded I've ever seen the Cottonwood Canyons.

I realize admin only had a couple hours, but for a whole day I would have opted for 14 inches at a quieter Snowbasin vs. 16 with the thundering hordes in LCC.


Of course you would've! It wouldn't be a Crocker post if it didn't second-guess my skiing decisions. :roll: Especially because the crowds had Alta so tracked out:

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FWIW, I wouldn't have traded my 37" of fluff at Alta today for a measly 14" at Snowbasin for love nor money.
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Re: Alta, UT 2/21/11

Postby Marc_C » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:49 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
admin wrote:Also the most crowded I've ever seen the Cottonwood Canyons.

I realize admin only had a couple hours, but for a whole day I would have opted for 14 inches at a quieter Snowbasin vs. 16 with the thundering hordes in LCC.

According to a friend who was there (and suggested by some web cams), Snowbasin's lots overflowed by 10:30, with folks parking at least a half mile down both sides of the access road. He said lift lines were the longest he could ever remember. I was at Solitude - same story - lots were full by 10 and all available roadside spots were gone by 10:30 (and they were towing some who attempted "innovative" parking). I heard the same for Brighton. Judging by the amount of cars at the trailheads, the backcountry wasn't too quiet either.

We've been powder starved recently, we get a 2' - 3'+ storm coinciding with a weekend, and it's one of the bigger holiday weekends. None of this is particularly unexpected. Once again, you're offering Utah "expertise" from SoCal with little basis in fact, since it depends on direct observation.
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Re: Alta, UT 2/21/11

Postby Admin » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:54 pm

Marc_C wrote:Once again, you're offering Utah "expertise" from SoCal with little basis in fact, since it depends on direct observation.


My point precisely, and the ignorance displayed gets very annoying in a hurry. And it wasn't 16" in LCC, it was 37" for the areas we were skiing today hadn't been opened since the storm cycle began Saturday morning. And in fairness, that storm total at Snowbasin is 27", not 14", but I wouldn't have been skiing terrain there today that was closed since the storm began. I fully counted on Backside and Ballroom both opening today, and that plan worked like a charm.
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Re: Alta, UT 2/21/11

Postby Skrad » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:41 pm

The best way to have an enjoyable experience on a busy day is to go for hikes. Better snow/ less time in lines. Had two heli quality runs down high notch in the morning and four cat quality runs way out on Bookends. BTW there was no line on MBX after Road to Provo opened around 12:30. Maybe there were no lines at Eagle Point.
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Re: Alta, UT 2/21/11

Postby Bobby Danger » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:18 pm

all for the love of some pow
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Re: Alta, UT 2/21/11

Postby Skrad » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:51 pm

It runs deep
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Re: Alta, UT 2/21/11

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:24 am

Admin wrote: the ignorance displayed gets very annoying in a hurry.

Admin can't resist that delightful mix of Crocker chum. :drool:
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Re: Alta, UT 2/21/11

Postby Admin » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:46 am

Jamesdeluxe, if only it were chum... :roll:

Here's Mike Gorrell's article in the Salt Lake Tribune on yesterday's crowding:

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/51282 ... n.html.csp
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Re: Alta, UT 2/21/11

Postby Admin » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:53 am

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Re: Alta, UT 2/21/11

Postby Marc_C » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:24 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:
Admin wrote: the ignorance displayed gets very annoying in a hurry.

Admin can't resist that delightful mix of Crocker chum. :drool:

Admin wrote:Jamesdeluxe, if only it were chum... :roll:

Exactly - Crocker has these deeply held convictions that, despite being shown, repeatedly and unequivocally, that they're incorrect, he'll restate practically every season as being the truth. It's not chum if someone has a psychotic insistence that the hypothesis is correct.
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Re: Alta, UT 2/21/11

Postby Bobby Danger » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:49 pm

easy professor
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