Day 36: Pretty darned good.
We had a surprisingly large group today, including Bobby Danger, Skidog , AmyZ, rdwore, and a guy I know from a Facebook group named Michael, plus appearances that ranged from short to long term from Marc_C, rdwore's friend John from NYC, and tirolerpeter. Tony Crocker's in town, but he opted to go to Snowbasin so Crocker wasn't there today.
What he missed was a mighty fine day of skiing in Little Cottonwood Canyon. As cold as last weekend was, today was rather warm. There was no chill at all in the air when exiting the car in the Wildcat lot. It wasn't warm enough to turn surfaces into anything other than winter-like snow, but you could ride the lifts without gloves and be quite comfortable. It got up into the mid-50s again today in the Salt Lake Valley.
Light this morning, however, was as flat as could be. But so was Ballroom/Baldy Shoulder, which opened this morning for the first time in recent days after ASP bombed Main Chute and got it to slide. Although you could feel the base out there it was topped by a few inches of creamy, untracked snow, and moguls had disappeared from lines like Harold's that previously had them.
By midday those clouds even started to drop a little bit of snow. Nothing that would matter, but it seemed to be the first wave of the approaching storm.
That made what would follow rather strange, and somewhat surprising. I was considering calling it a day when we all decided to head for Snowbird a little while after finishing lunch. We traveled to Alta West via Westward Ho, which hadn't been skied and offered some untracked, albeit very thick and heavy snow down to the Blackjack Road. We rode the Peruvian chair and headed through the tunnel. Approaching the far portal things ahead looked unusually bright, and we emerged from the tunnel to find Mineral Basin in actual honest-to-goodness sunlight.
While we were in the tunnel the clouds over upper LCC had mysteriously disappeared. Cobalt blue skies sat over both Snowbird and Alta, revealing exceptional visibility for the remainder of the day. I wanted to ski Ski Patrol Gully for the first time this season, but we were first thwarted by the rope line beyond Chamonix 1, the gate through which was closed. We figured that we'd simply access it from the top of Baldy Express, but the Sugar Cliffs gate was closed, too.
So we opted instead to take a lap on the front side. Up Mineral Basin Express and out Road to Provo, which was strangely concave like a mini half pipe, and out to the Rasta Chutes, which were bump free and chalky, as was the lower half of Woopsie's. Up Little Cloud and back into Mineral Basin, Hyena Ridge had the same snow as the Rastas did. The run was merely longer.
We boarded Baldy Express with 10 minutes to spare before it closed for the day, bringing us back to Alta. I cruised back to GMD, popped my boots off and called it a very full day.
Full, indeed...I got home and fell asleep for 2 hours.
There's no longer any substantial difference between snow cover at Alta and Snowbird, other than perhaps the exposed spots in Mineral Basin are a bit thinner. Tomorrow should be completely different than today. A weak storm is expected to bring snow beginning around midnight, with 5 to 10 inches expected before it winds down around this time tomorrow. It won't be bottomless, but it should bring us a clean slate with which to work.
Sent from my HP TouchPad running Android 4.0