Snowbird, UT 5/8/2005

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Snowbird, UT 5/8/2005

Postby Admin » Sun May 08, 2005 4:47 pm

Fabu!!

I'll admit that despite two weeks without skis on my feet, I wasn't terribly motivated heading up to the hill today at 10 am. The sun was out, the birds were singing, everything was a rich green, flowers were in full bloom, and the golf courses were full -- not that I'm a golfer or anything, but they were full. It felt odd to be going skiing.

What a difference a 10-mile drive up canyon makes! First run down Candleabra in the Gad Chutes with Marc_C, everything changed. Wowzers! An honest-to-goodness powder day in May. OK, so it was only 4" of fresh, and of course it wasn't the lightest stuff in the world, but it was May powder nonetheless. I was motivated anew.

It got noticeably heavier and wetter the lower on the mountain you went, so it made sense to stay high. Second run was out to Knucklehead -- perfect cream cheese. We then headed out the cirque traverse, through what is at this time of year a backcountry gate to access Chimney where we ran into friend Bob Dangerous. There's still a 10- to 12-foot cornice to get into Chimney, but high speed arcs through the throat of the chute were thrilling. It was really getting gloppy down low so we took advantage of our location for a quick lunch on the tram plaza as Dale and Pat joined us.

Back up the tram and into the ungroomed to skier's right of Regulator Johnson, dropping down right onto the GadZoom top terminal before heading back up Little Cloud. This time it was Little Cloud Bowl proper, where a bit of creativity found more untracked cream cheese.

By now the storm clouds were rolling in from the west, so we decided to close out the day with a bang -- my first descent through Great Scott. Again, a cornice entrance still exists, but this was by far the run of the day with the driest, most consistent snow. Big, dependable arcs. We then made the mistake of letting Marc_C take over navigation, for he led us into Dalton's Draw filled with some of the wettest, gloppiest oatmeal I've ever skied. "Hey, Marc...how do I release the parking brakes on these things?!"

That was enough for me -- it was 2:30 pm after 12,465 vertical feet as we traversed back across the mountain via Rothman Way for perfect corn turns down Wilbere Ridge to the car.

Marc_C and Dale went back up for another run. Snowbird closed at 3 pm today, and this was the last day for GadZoom as well. Snowbird will be open on weekends only from here on out to May 30, and will be running only the Tram and Little Cloud until 2:30 pm on their end-of-season schedule. Just about the whole mountain will be skiable, of course, but anything other than Little Cloud Bowl will technically be backcountry skiing.
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01 snowbird big emma.jpg
Good snow cover still exists even down low, as this shot of Big Emma shows.
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02 snowbird gad valley.jpg
Gad Valley.
02 snowbird gad valley.jpg (38.35 KiB) Viewed 5559 times
03 snowbird regulator johnson.jpg
Fresh lines beside Regulator Johnson.
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04 snowbird little cloud.jpg
Little Cloud.
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05 snowbird rasta bowl.jpg
Rasta Bowl.
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06 snowbird twins.jpg
East and West Twin.
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07 snowbird fresh in candleabra.jpg
Fresh snow in Candleabra - May powder!
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08 snowbird marc_c in candleabra.jpg
Marc_C in Candleabra.
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09 snowbird candleabra.jpg
Candleabra.
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10 snowbird little cloud bowl.jpg
Little Cloud Bowl, as seen from Knucklehead Bowl.
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11 snowbird marc_c atop chimney.jpg
Marc_C atop Chimney.
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12 snowbird down chimney.jpg
Looking down the gut of Chimney.
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13 snowbird bob dangerous.jpg
Bob Dangerous on the apron below Chimney.
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13 snowbird great scott.jpg
Great Scott.
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re: Snowbird, UT 5/8/2005

Postby awf170 » Sun May 08, 2005 6:13 pm

that great scott pic does no justice for that trail at all, it looks pretty flat
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Re: re: Snowbird, UT 5/8/2005

Postby Admin » Sun May 08, 2005 6:47 pm

awf170 wrote:that great scott pic does no justice for that trail at all, it looks pretty flat


Yeah, I know. :( Two problems with that one: the light was incredibly flat at that point, and there's really no place other than the tram cabin from where you can get a direct-on view. I'm afraid that I don't have a better one, but Tony Crocker posted this one to Liftlines on March 9, shot from further down the cirque:

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No bumps today, and a lot more snow than when Tony's photo was taken.
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Re: re: Snowbird, UT 5/8/2005

Postby awf170 » Sun May 08, 2005 7:44 pm

Admin wrote:
awf170 wrote:that great scott pic does no justice for that trail at all, it looks pretty flat


Yeah, I know. :( Two problems with that one: the light was incredibly flat at that point, and there's really no place other than the tram cabin from where you can get a direct-on view. I'm afraid that I don't have a better one, but Tony Crocker posted this one to Liftlines on March 9, shot from further down the cirque:

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No bumps today, and a lot more snow than when Tony's photo was taken.


when i went there i thought great scott was around the corner,(which is harder right, because it is tight and steeper?) on the other side of that big rock/cliff and what great scott was the cirque.
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Re: re: Snowbird, UT 5/8/2005

Postby Admin » Sun May 08, 2005 8:09 pm

awf170 wrote:when i went there i thought great scott was around the corner,(which is harder right, because it is tight and steeper?) on the other side of that big rock/cliff and what great scott was the cirque.


No, Tony's labelling is correct. The Peruvian Cirque is actually a huge collection of individually named lines. Where Tony was standing when he took that picture is still in the Cirque. Great Scott is really the southernmost line in the Cirque. Chimney, another line photographed and skied today, is also in the Cirque. So is Elevator, so is Jaws, ...

Around the corner, below the tram tower is the very top of Silver Fox. This actually lies outside of the Cirque. In reality, the bulk of Great Scott is steep but not terrifying. It's primarily the cornice at the top that provides the "entrance exam" and makes it much more intimidating. The rest of it is about the same pitch as the top of Silver Fox, but the latter lacks the cornice entry.
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re: Snowbird, UT 5/8/2005

Postby riverc0il » Sun May 08, 2005 9:53 pm

wow, look at all that snow. how long do you venture your season is going to be after the lifts stop turning? i can't believe we're hiking for scraps over here while you're still getting lift serviced on an entire mountain worth of terrain!
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Re: re: Snowbird, UT 5/8/2005

Postby Admin » Sun May 08, 2005 10:14 pm

riverc0il wrote:wow, look at all that snow. how long do you venture your season is going to be after the lifts stop turning? i can't believe we're hiking for scraps over here while you're still getting lift serviced on an entire mountain worth of terrain!


Bob Dangerous hiked Baldy from Snowbird today and skied Main Chute, and stopped by the construction site for the new Watson Shelter where they've dug the snow out down to the ground. He climbed into the hole and reports that the snow level was a good 10 feet above his head.

I'm giving serious consideration to shooting for 12 consecutive months this year. June and July should be a piece of cake, but August and September may require a bit more of a hike. Early summer may even offer car shuttling at places like Guardsman Pass (between Brighton and Park City, open only during summer).

From Alta's "Photo of the Day" from their website, this was May 1 at a closed Alta:

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Alta's High Rustler on May 4:

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At the moment Alta's mid-mountain base depth at mid-Collins despite being closed is 164" (that's over 13.5 feet, folks!) and Snowbird's next door is currently 141". The Snowtel data I consulted for these numbers, and more stations all along the Wasatch Front can be found here (just click on the station of choice):

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/slc/current/meso.slv.php

I forgot to mention that despite today's temps graupel began to spit from the sky around 1:45 pm. That's after a lunch sitting outside on the tram plaza in just a t-shirt (OK, OK...I had pants on, too :lol: ). Minutes after the brief snow shower we felt the sun bake us to the point of discomfort atop Little Cloud -- and I only had a thin soft shell on top of that t-shirt. There was enough UV getting through the periodic overcast that it was still enough to bake the snow. At this latitude, and at this altitude, the sun can be pretty amazing at this time of year -- yet I saw snow fall from the sky today.
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Re: Snowbird, UT 5/8/2005

Postby Marc_C » Mon May 09, 2005 10:16 am

Admin wrote:We then made the mistake of letting Marc_C take over navigation, for he led us into Dalton's Draw filled with some of the wettest, gloppiest oatmeal I've ever skied. "Hey, Marc...how do I release the parking brakes on these things?!"

Now just a danged minute! We all knew that the bottom half of the mountain was going to be sloppy! I was just looking for something with some pitch that probably would have been skied a lot - meaning some degree of compaction and perhaps small bumps. Dalton's mostly delivered on that and while it took work, really wasn't all that bad (except the last 10 turns or so, which did indeed suck). I found it preferable to the sticky, grabby low-angle groomers we would have encountered otherwise. Of course if you guys would get out of that northeastern habit of short swing turns all over the place and adopt the western way of big GS arcs, you'd find it to be less effort! :wink: :lol:

After you left, Dale and I did go up for one more, with the intent of fininshing with Jaws. We got off the Little Cloud lift at 2:50 and headed for the top gate off Regulator. However, it had started to snow a bit harder, the light a bit flatter, and the clouds were closing in fast. All this had motivated the Patrol to close both the top and the mid-Cirque gates. Probably a desire to funnel everyone into Gad Valley and make sweep in worsening conditions up high a bit less effort. So we finished with another Regulator rope line and eventually/finally Wilbere Ridge. The rain-snow line was right around the mid-Gad restaurant.
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re: Snowbird, UT 5/8/2005

Postby awf170 » Mon May 09, 2005 3:38 pm

alright no more discussion of all that snow :wink:
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Re: Snowbird, UT 5/8/2005

Postby Admin » Mon May 09, 2005 4:07 pm

Marc_C wrote:(except the last 10 turns or so, which did indeed suck).

Now there's the understatement of the year! I never thought anything could be that gluey.

Marc_C wrote:Of course if you guys would get out of that northeastern habit of short swing turns all over the place and adopt the western way of big GS arcs, you'd find it to be less effort! :wink: :lol:


"You guys"? Who ya talkin' 'bout? Bob Dangerous? Not a chance! A short excerpt of our conversation yesterday:

Me: "Good turns today, huh?"
Bob D: "What's the point of turning?"

Me? I'm getting over it. Skills acquired from years of skiing tight eastern hardwoods aren't unlearned overnight. Having some big phat sticks helps the unlearning process, though. So would thighs about twice the size of what I've got, as would the balance sense of a grey squirrel on a telephone wire, but hey, I've been kind of proud of myself for adapting to big, western wide-open spaces this season! :wink: I could probably count the number of short-radius turns I've made all season on two hands.

You've got a point, although you probably didn't mean to have one. :roll: It is a different way of skiing when you have the space to do it, which is probably why some lines around here seldom bump up, or when they do they're big, round rollers and not the tight zipper-line bumps. Good thing for me, 'cuz I always sucked at those Jonny Moseley lines anyway. I'm learning to just make those big GS turns and absorb the terrain variations. Except for in the chutes, there's enough room that if I blow it I can just hang on and ride it out. That's assuming, of course, that I manage to hang on long enough to ride it out.

Now, having said that, some of those figure-11s we saw dropping off some of the more precipitous parts of Peruvian Cirque yesterday were just plain sick! :shock: Even Bob "Why Turn?" Dangerous turns more than that, and I've got the photos to prove it:

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Re: Snowbird, UT 5/8/2005

Postby awf170 » Mon May 09, 2005 4:26 pm

Admin wrote:
Marc_C wrote:(except the last 10 turns or so, which did indeed suck).

Now there's the understatement of the year! I never thought anything could be that gluey.

Marc_C wrote:Of course if you guys would get out of that northeastern habit of short swing turns all over the place and adopt the western way of big GS arcs, you'd find it to be less effort! :wink: :lol:


"You guys"? Who ya talkin' 'bout? Bob Dangerous? Not a chance! A short excerpt of our conversation yesterday:

Me: "Good turns today, huh?"
Bob D: "What's the point of turning?"

Me? I'm getting over it. Skills acquired from years of skiing tight eastern hardwoods aren't unlearned overnight. Having some big phat sticks helps the unlearning process, though. So would thighs about twice the size of what I've got, as would the balance sense of a grey squirrel on a telephone wire, but hey, I've been kind of proud of myself for adapting to big, western wide-open spaces this season! :wink: I could probably count the number of short-radius turns I've made all season on two hands.

You've got a point, although you probably didn't mean to have one. :roll: It is a different way of skiing when you have the space to do it, which is probably why some lines around here seldom bump up, or when they do they're big, round rollers and not the tight zipper-line bumps. Good thing for me, 'cuz I always sucked at those Jonny Moseley lines anyway. I'm learning to just make those big GS turns and absorb the terrain variations. Except for in the chutes, there's enough room that if I blow it I can just hang on and ride it out. That's assuming, of course, that I manage to hang on long enough to ride it out.

Now, having said that, some of those figure-11s we saw dropping off some of the more precipitous parts of Peruvian Cirque yesterday were just plain sick! :shock: Even Bob "Why Turn?" Dangerous turns more than that, and I've got the photos to prove it:

Image


ya i turned a ton 2, until i demoed pocket rockets at snowbird, those were awsome i had to fly, really got used to cruising when i got up into high badly traverse and had nice steep wide open slope :D
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re: Snowbird, UT 5/8/2005

Postby riverc0il » Mon May 09, 2005 5:13 pm

figure 11s :lol: i love that term. i guess that's more of a big mountain western thing though, heh.
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