Alta, UT 12/17/11

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Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Admin » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:38 pm

Day 13: Backside, baby!!

We've had a whopping 7" of new snow since Thanksgiving, so while a persistent dome of high pressure looms overhead we've had deep blue skies in the mountains.

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The moon over the Sugarloaf moonscape


The last thing you'd expect is a powder day. But with Alta opening Backside for the first time this season, that's exactly what we got.

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We discover Backside's open


We did nothing but lap backside all day, and I'm so sick of manmade groomers (even though they're better than the windswept manmade groomers at a certain other unnamed ski area) that this development didn't come a moment too soon. After crossing the saddle from Yellow Trail the traverse was a rock-strewn boneyard for about 20 yards, so that kept the riff-raff out. We honestly scored untracked on every single run until we called it a day at 1:30 pm.

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The white carpet on Backside


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The white carpet on Backside


When we got into Susie's trees there was only one other track: patrol's.

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Bobby Danger in Susie's Trees


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Bobby Danger chases the patrol in Susie's Trees


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Backside


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Backside


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Admin lovin' life (photo: Bobby Danger)


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AmyZ on Backside (photo: Bobby Danger)


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Bobby Danger on Backside


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Bobby Danger on Backside


It also meant that we could get into the north-facing lines like Eagle's Nest without the Jitterbug bootpack.

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Bobby Danger in Eagle's Nest


Base depths may be lean and new snowfall may be desperately needed, but today absolutely rocked!

It felt great to get above the gunk that's hanging over the valley with our current inversion. A note of caution, however...such inversions often lead to black ice on the roads in the morning, as was the case today. The canyon road closed for an hour this morning when someone decided to try using the non-existent "north entrance" to the Tanner Flat campground. That's a common spot for folks to go over the edge -- their rear end loses traction going around that right turn and by the time they regain traction they're pointed right over the cliff. They closed the road to allow the Life Flight heli to land and presumably to extract the vehicle as well. AmyZ (who surreptitiously joined up here this week) and Marc_C both got caught by the closure -- I was lucky enough to have barely cleared it by about 10 minutes because I planned on having breakfast at GMD before the lifts opened.
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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:48 pm

I'm not sure the manmade groomers are any different in Utah than here (particularly on the other side of the Wasatch which has had a whopping 27 inches natural snow), but any California skier would be envious of what you guys were skiing today.

Nice to see Backside opening. Presumably that will help snow stability when LCC's normal weather returns.
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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Admin » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:55 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I'm not sure the manmade groomers are any different in Utah than here


Really? Presumably you had to get through one of these to get to them:

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Sorry, but you'll have to explain to me what that is, I don't think that I've seen one of those this year. And I've seen nothing that looks like this anytime this season, either:

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:snowball fight:

OK, I'm done ribbing and gloating. :-#

Tony Crocker wrote:Nice to see Backside opening. Presumably that will help snow stability when LCC's normal weather returns.


It sure will -- gotta churn up that sugar beneath and pack it down. There was even a slight facet layer on the surface of the untracked we were skiing today from the cold, clear nights producing slight surface hoar on the top layer of the 7" from earlier this week. I imagine that this was a huge motivating factor to getting it skied today, although to be honest I don't understand why they waited as long as they did. In other years Backside has opened with as much or even less snow. But you can see those slides that they generated this week, so that may be the reason after all.
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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Bobby Danger » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:36 pm

day 17....... to start with everyone should use caution when entering the canyon in the early morning hours , there's black ice up and down the length of the canyon road . especially this morning just after tanners campground , when i drove past there my rear end of my truck broke loose for a couple seconds but i didn't over correct like most do , that corner sometimes collects a couple cars a year . the black ice seems to form just above the valley junk that floates up the canyon , but the ice is really anywhere on the road . SUPRIZE- SUPRIZE admin and i skied right past the yellow trail gate on our first run like a couple tourist . he first noticed it open when we were out under the sugarloaf chair ,there was signage at the bottom of east greely with a few patrol tracks , that weren't there last weekend !!!! as far as helping to stabilize the snow pack without question this is a big help , it won't take long for the altoids to beat the crap out of it so it becomes base , some serious concern cause there is a couple of feet of puuuuuure sugar out there, its hard to even side step in that stuff it doesn't pack under foot with just a little pressure , it takes a beating over acouple of hours to pack . i would probably avoid heading down the center of backside proper there's a large boulder field at the first set of flats that's probably not to deeply buried !! don't need to say to much the pictures do a good job of speaking to how much fun that was today !!!!!! not to large a crowd today although it's getting harder to tell there's some acreage to travel across now that spreads um out !!!
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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby mrgskier » Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:55 pm

You better leave some for us snow-starved eastern skiers! No ski today for me....and tomorrow it will be hiking and skiing the fast grass at MRG. Great pix today....thanks for sharing!
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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Admin » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:11 pm

mrgskier wrote:You better leave some for us snow-starved eastern skiers! No ski today for me....and tomorrow it will be hiking and skiing the fast grass at MRG. Great pix today....thanks for sharing!


Proof that even when it sucks here it's still pretty damned good. Looking forward to seeing you later this month! Oh, and bring some snow with you while you're at it. :wink:
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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Skidog » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:11 pm

Oh well looks like I picked the wrong weekend to switch up Saturdays and Sundays lol. It'll snow eventually.
See you all in the morning.

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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Admin » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:36 pm

Skidog wrote:Oh well looks like I picked the wrong weekend to switch up Saturdays and Sundays lol. It'll snow eventually.
See you all in the morning.


Sure will, bud...same bat time, same bat channel. And FWIW, I've never seen Bobby D milking turns the way he did today. Oh, and I got the liners baked this afternoon on those Garmont Shoguns...hopefully I won't feel like I'm standing on ball bearings tomorrow. The replacement buckles for my broken Endorphins aren't due to arrive until 12/21.
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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:36 pm

admin wrote:Really? Presumably you had to get through one of these to get to them:

Presumably you read the reason for that lineup: the inaugural of a new high speed quad built this summer. That was the only line more than ~10 people the 2 days I was skiing. Christmas will be a different story, but don't expect Alta to be deserted then either considering the dire conditions on the other side of the Wasatch. This Christmas looks to be a VERY close analogy to my 1986-87 stay at the Alta Peruvian.
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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Admin » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:41 am

Tony Crocker wrote:
admin wrote:Really? Presumably you had to get through one of these to get to them:

Presumably you read the reason for that lineup: the inaugural of a new high speed quad built this summer. That was the only line more than ~10 people the 2 days I was skiing. Christmas will be a different story, but don't expect Alta to be deserted then either considering the dire conditions on the other side of the Wasatch. This Christmas looks to be a VERY close analogy to my 1986-87 stay at the Alta Peruvian.


Oh, I know...again, I was intentionally giving you crap. There's no way our current natural snow base will withstand holiday traffic. Hopefully this system on the horizon for next weekend, and about which the models are still in disagreement, will come through instead of splitting again.
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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Evren » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:02 pm

Leave it to Admin et al. to find untracked snow at this juncture. Didn't think it was possible.
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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Marc_C » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:56 pm

Evren wrote:Leave it to Admin et al. to find untracked snow at this juncture. Didn't think it was possible.

It took no special skill other than noting that the rope was dropped. Even the electronic signs advertised that lower Backside was open.
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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Evren » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:38 pm

Marc_C wrote:It took no special skill other than noting that the rope was dropped. Even the electronic signs advertised that lower Backside was open.

Were you skiing powder, then? No pictures, so I'll assume it did not happen :stir:
They were at Alta at the right time while we were sucking our respective thumbs. They got the goods. I am not a think-positive kinda guy, so let me show appreciation this once?
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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:51 pm

Evren wrote:They were at Alta at the right time while we were sucking our respective thumbs.

+1 Admin and I nitpick over some of the nuances in LCC, but if fresh tracks are your priority his crew is a good place to be. =D>
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Re: Alta, UT 12/17/11

Postby Admin » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:53 pm

Evren wrote:Were you skiing powder, then? No pictures, so I'll assume it did not happen :stir:


Even worse, he was there skiing groomers until he received confirmation that Backside was actually any good.
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