Day 94: Face shots on Memorial Day
While others across the country were enjoying their Memorial Day BBQs, we were enjoying ours:
Last night's impulse was even colder than the previous two, resulting even in an inch of snow at the house this morning. LCC Road was obviously a bit greasy this morning as evidenced by the chained-up Sysco semi which nonetheless jackknifed at the curve at the top of Tanners Flats and nearly took the nonexistent north entrance to the Tanners Flat campground -- maybe the driver thought that was the delivery entrance?
Snowbird reported another 10" of 10% snow over the past 24 hours for a 14" storm total. That was enough to bring out everyone who stayed home over the past three days. The cars heading up the canyon this morning and filling the Bypass Road lot were a strong hint, as was the frothing-at-the-mouth atmosphere abundant there. The problem was that control work was getting a lot to move this morning and as a result the mountain opened two hours late. By arriving at 7:50 a.m. we were fortunately near the head of a pre-opening line that stretched all the way back up the hill to the traverse from the Bypass Road.
When we finally loaded the lift at 10 a.m. I was thrilled to have so few people ahead of us and so many behind us. It was obvious that waiting for two hours standing in line had been a worthwhile endeavor.
Mineral, however, wasn't yet ready and the overhead door guarding the Peruvian Tunnel remained tightly closed. So we had to ski the frontside, but we avoided those who went before us by traversing out to the lower half of Great Scott, skiing over Some Sunny Spot and down across Anderson's Hill to the trees separating Anderson's from Dalton's. You know it's going to be a good Memorial Day when the very first two turns in Great Scott result in face shots. Oddly though the best skiing was in the trees below Rothman Way between Dalton's and Mach Schnell. Absolutely untracked the whole way top to bottom, and absolutely divine.
By the time we returned to the base we were disappointed to see that the Peruvian line wasn't any shorter. Even though Mineral Basin remained closed they were spinning Little Cloud for anyone who could get there. The problem is that getting there isn't easy with both MIneral and the Tram closed. Amazingly some were hiking all the way to Little Cloud from the base, while others had formed a steady conga line leading from the top of Peruvian to Hidden Peak.
We figured that the shortest hike would be reached via the Cool Whip traverse and booting straight up Shot 1 Route 5. That, though, was a ball buster booting up unconsolidated crotch deep snow on a 45-degree pitch.
We dropped into Video Chute one at a time concerned that it might slide. Adjacent chutes had already slid but Video remained clean.
We skied right onto Little Cloud and while loading we learned that Mineral Basin had just opened.
It seemed at first that our effort booting up Shot 1 Route 5 was all for naught, but when we reached the summit ridgeline and looked at the humongous line at MBE down below we abandoned all thoughts of skiing into Mineral and realized that we saved ourselves waiting in that line by booting up the Cirque. The line for MBE was already nearly as long as the Peruvian line had been at opening.
That line also delayed the arrival of the masses into Little Cloud Bowl so we took a run there before they arrived. That side was definitely the windward side last night and the snow, while fun, was definitely more wind compacted and therefore more dense.
Realizing that we'd be trying to avoid crowds for the rest of the day, all three of us -- Bobby Danger, Telejon and yours truly -- decided to bag it and call it a day. We dropped an untracked 10a in the Upper Cirque and finished up with more untracked out the Blackjack gate to end things at noon on a high note rather than spend the afternoon frustrated by the crowds. After the past three days of stellar skiing in what felt like a semi-private ski area (see Friday
)I've got to admit that we got a little bit spoiled.