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Alta, UT 3/2/12 - Best day of the year (so far!)

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Alta, UT 3/2/12 - Best day of the year (so far!)

Postby Admin » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:39 pm

Day 43: Timing is everything.

Along with positioning, that is. With a three-day storm total now reaching 44" and our base finally exceeding 100", demand was high. I had to be on my game and not screw up like I did yesterday. The Little Cottonwood Canyon Road was closed all night and was supposed to open around 8:30 a.m. I worked for a bit in the morning then headed out. Seeing the traffic backed up on Wasatch I took a back way that I know and got myself into the perfect position. I took a photo of my view watching the police turn people around at the roadblock. I can't post that photo as it would reveal too much, but let's just say that when the road opened I was perhaps the 20th car through the checkpoint and heading up the canyon. Score! :bow:

It therefore took no time at all to pass through the chain check and speed up the canyon. When I rolled into the Wildcat parking lot at 9:15 I was perhaps the 20th car to arrive. This was gonna be good.

AmyZ was right behind me but Tony Crocker wasn't, even though he left my house at the same time as me. He was to follow me but instead ended up following the wrong car on I-215, so he didn't get off at the 6200 S exit as he should have. #-o I gave him directions by phone and he was perhaps 100 yards away from where I was when the road opened, yet he didn't arrive at the hill until nearly 10am. Sorry, Tony -- no friends on a powder day.

In fact, I never connected with him all day. I kept calling his phone but it always went to voicemail -- I found out later that his phone battery had died. At one point I skied directly beneath him as he was riding Supreme. I screamed his name repeatedly from about 20 feet away but he somehow never heard me. Maybe his battery was dead too. :lol:

So instead AmyZ and I had everything to ourselves today. Skidog was off lapping Wildcat as we took our first few runs. The very first run featured something I've never skied before: a totally untracked, totally bottomless Sunspot. We just kept heading out the High T far enough to score another untracked line. Our deepest run didn't come until 2:30 p.m., and my very last turn of the day at 3 pm fittingly resulted in a face shot. It was really that good. Every single run featured untracked for nearly the whole vertical. Off the charts.

The road closed again after the morning crush, and folks largely left when the road reopened around 11 am. Shortly thereafter the road unexpectedly closed again, presumably because something avalanched naturally. Reopening time was "TBA." If I couldn't get to the office I'd just move my office to Alta. I had brought my work computer with me, and settled in to get some more work done in GMD before heading back out for a few afternoon runs. That's when they opened Supreme Bowl, and everyone who was there gravitated to Supreme. After one run there it was clear to us that we'd get better snow by heading elsewhere and against the crowd mentality...and it worked like a charm. \:D/

Awesome day. Period.
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/12 - Best day of the year (so far!)

Postby Admin » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:38 pm

Crocker just got here and we held our debriefing. He reports scoring nothing but "sloppy seconds" all day. Our days could not have been more different but I've got a witness to back me up. This just proves my point even more that someone Monday morning quarterbacking from 500 miles away can't come close to understanding what can be done here by someone who spends 80 days or so at Alta every winter.
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/12 - Best day of the year (so far!)

Postby AmyZ » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:07 pm

Great day of skiing with Admin :-D
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Re: Re: Alta, UT 3/2/12 - Best day of the year (so far!)

Postby socal » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:36 pm

Admin wrote:Crocker just got here and we held our debriefing. He reports scoring nothing but "sloppy seconds" all day. Our days could not have been more different but I've got a witness to back me up. This just proves my point even more that someone Monday morning quarterbacking from 500 miles away can't come close to understanding what can be done here by someone who spends 80 days or so at Alta every winter.


Sounds like an amazing day, and certainly better than sitting in the office.

Regarding Tony's Monday morning QBing, if the point of the forums is to give skiers a sense of conditions so they know what to expect then let's be honest, his report of the day is probably more valuable to than gloating over an amazing day that only a local could find, right? Btw I appreciate your report and like knowing how the day went for a local.

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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/12 - Best day of the year (so far!)

Postby SoCal Rider » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:53 pm

Admin wrote:Day 43: Timing is everything.

Along with positioning, that is. With a three-day storm total now reaching 44" and our base finally exceeding 100", demand was high. I had to be on my game and not screw up like I did yesterday. The Little Cottonwood Canyon Road was closed all night and was supposed to open around 8:30 a.m. I worked for a bit in the morning then headed out. Seeing the traffic backed up on Wasatch I took a back way that I know and got myself into the perfect position. I took a photo of my view watching the police turn people around at the roadblock. I can't post that photo as it would reveal too much, but let's just say that when the road opened I was perhaps the 20th car through the checkpoint and heading up the canyon. Score! :bow:

It therefore took no time at all to pass through the chain check and speed up the canyon. When I rolled into the Wildcat parking lot at 9:15 I was perhaps the 20th car to arrive. This was gonna be good.

AmyZ was right behind me but Tony Crocker wasn't, even though he left my house at the same time as me. He was to follow me but instead ended up following the wrong car on I-215, so he didn't get off at the 6200 S exit as he should have. #-o I gave him directions by phone and he was perhaps 100 yards away from where I was when the road opened, yet he didn't arrive at the hill until nearly 10am. Sorry, Tony -- no friends on a powder day.

In fact, I never connected with him all day. I kept calling his phone but it always went to voicemail -- I found out later that his phone battery had died. At one point I skied directly beneath him as he was riding Supreme. I screamed his name repeatedly from about 20 feet away but he somehow never heard me. Maybe his battery was dead too. :lol:

So instead AmyZ and I had everything to ourselves today. Skidog was off lapping Wildcat as we took our first few runs. The very first run featured something I've never skied before: a totally untracked, totally bottomless Sunspot. We just kept heading out the High T far enough to score another untracked line. Our deepest run didn't come until 2:30 p.m., and my very last turn of the day at 3 pm fittingly resulted in a face shot. It was really that good. Every single run featured untracked for nearly the whole vertical. Off the charts.

The road closed again after the morning crush, and folks largely left when the road reopened around 11 am. Shortly thereafter the road unexpectedly closed again, presumably because something avalanched naturally. Reopening time was "TBA." If I couldn't get to the office I'd just move my office to Alta. I had brought my work computer with me, and settled in to get some more work done in GMD before heading back out for a few afternoon runs. That's when they opened Supreme Bowl, and everyone who was there gravitated to Supreme. After one run there it was clear to us that we'd get better snow by heading elsewhere and against the crowd mentality...and it worked like a charm. \:D/

Awesome day. Period.


F, Tony, when are you going home? Glendale misses ya.
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Re: Re: Re: Alta, UT 3/2/12 - Best day of the year (so far!)

Postby Admin » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:03 pm

socal wrote:Regarding Tony's Monday morning QBing, if the point of the forums is to give skiers a sense of conditions so they know what to expect then let's be honest, his report of the day is probably more valuable to than gloating over an amazing day that only a local could find, right?


That's very true, actually. However, let's be clear: I'm not gloating. The Wasatch gets the credit, not me. I didn't talk to anyone today other than Tony who reported anything less than a stellar day.


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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/12 - Best day of the year (so far!)

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:47 am

In no way could today at Alta be considered a bad day. It's probably a 9 out of 10 for me. But Tuesday and Wednesday at Mt. Rose and Northstar were much better. The snow in the seriously steep Mt. Rose Chutes was comparable to Alta's and I got in there right after they opened. Northstar, due to its "Flatstar" reputation, is about as non-competitive as it gets on a powder day. The reputation is true, as there are only 2 lifts steep enough to ski continuous powder. But they are 1,800 and 1,600 vertical with spaced trees between the runs, so you don't need to be an 80 day/year local to score untracked all day long. FYI Tuesday was my 2nd day lifetime at Mt. Rose and Wednesday was my 5th at Northstar. Today was my 32nd at Alta.

I was perhaps 20-25 cars behind admin at the holding area. But after the initial automotive "rope drop" that admin got through, the cops controlled the local traffic light so that my progress getting onto the Little Cottonwood Road was agonizingly slow and I loaded my first chair at 10AM. I botched my first attempt at the High T, ended up too low in the same Sunspots area, well tracked 45 minutes after admin. Second run out Greely Hill was untracked but so deep it almost had to be straightlined at the moderate intermediate pitch. By the time I got up there again there was a lot of fog, so the wide open areas didn't seem like a great idea. I poked my way into a bony entry around North Rustler, scoring deep untracked for a few turns but more chopped powder lower down where access had been easier. This is in the 10:30-11AM timeframe.

I have no complaints about liftlines. Collins did not get out the end of its maze until 11AM and Wildcat was a reasonable alternative then. The Wildcat run was similar to the previous one in North Rustler. Ironically my most continuous untracked run came next, right under the upper part of Wildcat on the way to the Collins midstation. After a short but cold wait there, I looked for a tough entry into Hourglass. When I got down the Colllins line had evaporated but I was cold, went into GMD to warm up ~1PM, came right back out when I saw the food line and took a run to Eagle's Nest. Next time up Collins I noted that Supreme Bowl had been removed from the closed list so headed that way. I hadn't been there in ~15 years as that area can get sun hammered. With upper mountain temps in single digits all day that was not an issue today. I loved the terrain but the confined chutes do get their powder chopped quick. At the end of my second Supreme run its liftline was out the end of its maze and it was 2PM, so I went into Alf's for some soup. After 1 run on Sugarloaf I went to the bottom (via Sunnyside and the rope tow because EBT was closed), then up Wildcat to my final run in Keyhole. This had more untracked that any run I had skied since noon, so a nice way to finish with a prompt condo pickup from the friendly new driver this season.

admin early this morning wrote:Backside will be open before I have to stop for work or lunch

:bs: :bs: :bs:

No one can predict the weather precisely, but this is the second Alta powder day I've seen that has been seriously constrained (except perhaps for the 80 day/year locals) by much expansive terrain remaining closed. This of course results in the open acreage being hammered much faster. Over dinner notes were compared, and Snowbird got a much higher proportion of terrain open. It thus might have been easier to stay in untracked over there despite likely longer liftlines. As Sugarloaf Pass was closed until sometime in the afternoon I did not consider going to Snowbird, presuming incorrectly that Mineral Basin was also closed. For most of us I recommend the combined pass on a big day in LCC with gradual opening of terrain, and a working cell phone to help figure out where to be. The latter snafu was my dumbest mistake of the day.
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Alta, UT 3/2/12 - Best day of the year (so far!)

Postby socal » Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:26 am

Admin wrote:
socal wrote:Regarding Tony's Monday morning QBing, if the point of the forums is to give skiers a sense of conditions so they know what to expect then let's be honest, his report of the day is probably more valuable to than gloating over an amazing day that only a local could find, right?


That's very true, actually. However, let's be clear: I'm not gloating. The Wasatch gets the credit, not me. I didn't talk to anyone today other than Tony who reported anything less than a stellar day.


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Didn't mean gloating in a bad way, by the way.
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/12 - Best day of the year (so far!)

Postby Skidog » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:11 am

I got to alta at about 930 and up top of collins for my first run at about 10..I had a completely untracked line UNDER THE LIFT then out the saddle to about xmas tree and skied relatively untracked to the cat track. My next 4 RUNS were off wildcat...first one i literally had to set the traverse back out to wildcat..if you dont get this it means it was UNTRACKED...i repeated this moving ever so slightly further towards Westward ho gate and had a full 3 more, choking on snow, untracked runs...then the crowds started getting fugly and i did one more and split.

Sorry Tony but im goiing with marc here on your armchair qbing most of the time about what and where pow can be found at Alta. I didnt even need "local knowledge" to get my 4 completely untracked runs off wildcat...You've been to alta plenty of times to have a decent idea of where to go...also if you noted how busy snowbbird was..there was NO FRIGGIN way you were finding "untrackked" anything unless you were on the first few trams. easily 3 tiimes as many people at the bird..this = faster tracked up...again even at the bird local knowledge prevails. Unless you know the nooks and crannies you'll be skiing the same stuff the rest of the non locals are skiing and it'll be tracked out..

I will also again echo Admins sentiment..BEST DAY OF YEAR SO FAR....
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