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Alta, UT 3/2/13

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Alta, UT 3/2/13

Postby Admin » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:26 pm

Day 48: Baldy.

The Expected Openings report indicated that ASP would be checking out Baldy this morning, and sure enough, as we waited for the mountain to open we saw several patrollers on the Baldy summit just before a bomb detonated on The Lawn between Little and Main Chutes. Weather was sunny and warm, with base area highs predicted to approach 40. We were having coffee at Baldy Brews when we overheard via Shannon's radio that they had indeed opened Main Chute, Little Chute and Dogleg.

We, however, decided that it would be best to wait a bit. The debris that spilled out of Main Chute was full of thick chunks of snow that would only be better after folks skied it before us. And they had plenty of takers today.

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More people than I've seen on Baldy in a good long time


For those who may be unfamiliar, that photo above shows the hiking route to the Baldy summit from Alta. In the middleground is the ticket checkpoint between Alta and Snowbird. The hike begins just to the right of those ticket gates, and heads directly uphill just to the left of the rock bands that separate East Baldy on the right from the southeastern aspect visible above the top terminal of Snowbird's Baldy Express chairlift. People are visible along the entire hike from the beginning to the summit.

By the time we headed up right after lunch we too had a large group, including Kingslug, Bobby Danger, AmyZ, TheOtherAmy, TheOtherAmy's other half, Skidog, Telejon, Malcolm, Devin, Mira, Sima and yours truly. And for once we actually had someone along with some talent behind the camera lens. Corey Kopischke is a professional photographer currently based in both Steamboat Springs and here in Utah. The rest of these photos (except for the last one at dinner) were taken by Corey and used here with his permission. Corey's work may be viewed online at www.coreykopischke.com.

By afternoon Main Chute itself was filled with big, soft, fluffy bumps of loose snow that skied in a rhythm like a leaf falling from the sky. They may have been bumps and regular readers know how I feel about moguls, but they were perfect.

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The start of the hike


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That steep first stretch (TheOtherAmy and Skidog)


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Our crew passing Perla's, with Supreme in the middleground and the Uinta Mountains in the background


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Admin and Skidog


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TheOtherAmy and Corey atop Baldy


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Lining up to drop into Main Chute


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Our crew atop Main Chute (L to R: Devin, Malcolm, Admin, Telejon [barely visible], Sima, Bobby Danger, Skidog, AmyZ, some random guy, Mira and Kingslug)


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Skidog


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In Main Chute


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Admin, really unhappy with a turn!


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Kingslug


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Skidog, Sima and Mira watching others still in Main Chute


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More people than I've ever seen in Main Chute at one time!


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Bobby Danger


We finished up with a late dinner at the Red Iguana 2 in SLC -- this time with a small table of only 14!

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Dinner at the Red Iguana 2
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/13

Postby Evren » Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:57 pm

That entrance looks steeper than anything. I don't know whether to be impressed with the photo for capturing that (they hardly ever do) or with the skiers for diving in.
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/13

Postby Skidog » Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:01 pm

Evren wrote:That entrance looks steeper than anything. I don't know whether to be impressed with the photo for capturing that (they hardly ever do) or with the skiers for diving in.


It's not really as steep as it looks IMHO. The entrance the skier in the pic took was just a perfect run in. I dropped right down what looks to be a vertical face in the pic. Smooth edgable chalk and just a short side slip down not your first turn. 100 feet in you hit the soft stuff and it was divine.
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/13

Postby Admin » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:22 pm

Skidog wrote:
Evren wrote:That entrance looks steeper than anything. I don't know whether to be impressed with the photo for capturing that (they hardly ever do) or with the skiers for diving in.


It's not really as steep as it looks IMHO. The entrance the skier in the pic took was just a perfect run in. I dropped right down what looks to be a vertical face in the pic. Smooth edgable chalk and just a short side slip down not your first turn. 100 feet in you hit the soft stuff and it was divine.


It's not every day that I agree with Skidog, but I do on this one. :wink: I think that his entry, which was to looker's left of the skier dropping into the chute in the photo, was a bit ballsier than mine, which was the same as the skier in the photo. It really was a case of just dipping your tips over the edge and riding out that line in a controlled manner, which wasn't that difficult to do as the snow was very grippy and therefore very forgiving.

Depending upon the nature of the snowpack, the first few turns entering Main Chute are pushing around 50 degrees, but the chute thereafter mellows to a consistent 43 degrees or so for its remainder. The biggest fear factors in skiing Main are the exposure and the commitment. You're standing a good 600 vertical feet above the rest of Alta when you're dropping into that chute, there's nothing around to give a false visual sense of security, and once you're in, you're in for good.
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/13

Postby kingslug » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:41 pm

While the enterance does look insane it no way compares to liitle chute. Even I felt fine dropping in where as little years before..freaked me out like nothing else..awesome day..I.got lucky again..and if it wasnt fof the people I was with I would never get to ski things like this.
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/13

Postby Marc_C » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:04 am

kingslug wrote:While the enterance does look insane it no way compares to liitle chute. Even I felt fine dropping in where as little years before..freaked me out like nothing else..

The big difference between the two is that in Main, you're above some part of the chute the entire time, no matter which entry. In Little, other than for the direct (hairball) entry, either of the side entrances are above significant - likely unsurvivable - cliffs, and you're intensely aware of that. Yes, you can't really see them and they're a ways below you, but still..... And that first throat looks sooooo narrow from above.

Regarding the photo of the entry into Main, when taken across from and looking down on the entry, perspective tricks the viewer into thinking it's much steeper. In reality, the actual in-run is of low blue-square steepness at most - possibly less. Of course it leaves you standing in the middle of a near 50 degree slope......
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/13

Postby baldyskier » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:47 pm

Admin wrote:And for once we actually had someone along with some talent behind the camera lens. Corey Kopischke is a professional photographer currently based in both Steamboat Springs and here in Utah. The rest of these photos (except for the last one at dinner) were taken by Corey and used here with his permission.

Great shots of some impressive terrain! What kind of camera/lens was Corey using? I have a DSLR, but it never makes it to the slopes because I'm concerned about damaging it and possibly myself if I fall on it. That looks like some hairy terrain to be toting a DSLR into. I'm wondering if Corey has developed workarounds (or has a good alternative type of camera).
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/13

Postby Admin » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:54 pm

baldyskier wrote:Great shots of some impressive terrain! What kind of camera/lens was Corey using? I have a DSLR, but it never makes it to the slopes because I'm concerned about damaging it and possibly myself if I fall on it. That looks like some hairy terrain to be toting a DSLR into. I'm wondering if Corey has developed workarounds (or has a good alternative type of camera).


I just checked the EXIF data - it was a Canon EOS 7D. I know that he's part of the Canon pro program, because we talked about some gear that he destroyed while canoeing.

He was carrying it inside a padded camera pack within his backpack.

Ironically, most times we've skied together he's just taking photos with his iPhone. I too have resorted to using my phone this year, and haven't taken my Canon SX40 out at all to the hill. It helps that my new phone has an 8 MP camera that shoots a 20-frame sequence in about 5 seconds. I just wish that it had an optical zoom.

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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/13

Postby Admin » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:26 am

Devin just sent me a few of his photos from the day (taken with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel):

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Telejon in Susie's Trees


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Hiking Baldy


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Kingslug


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Malcolm, Telejon and Devin atop Baldy


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Waiting to drop into Main Chute


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Bobby Danger in Main Chute


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Admin (and Devin!)


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Within Main Chute (note Bobby and Admin perched on the spine on the right)
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/13

Postby Marc_C » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:32 am

That's one crowded Main chute!
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/13

Postby Skidog » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:49 am

Marc_C wrote:That's one crowded Main chute!


NEVER seen it like that. Borderline dangerous.
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/13

Postby Bobby Danger » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:36 pm

agree wholeheartedly ... and the real kicker is we had to direct some of those clueless skiers where to go . to many people with out the proper ability to ski that run and simply no direction knowledge as to what was where . reminded me of tuckermans ravine on a nice april day .. :-"
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Re: Alta, UT 3/2/13

Postby stan » Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:46 am

You have to admit, though, that if you have never been up there before and didn't have an experienced guide, even the location of the main chute is not self-evident. The first time I went up there I would have had no idea where to go to even find the main chute if I hadn't been with my daughter (who is on ASP).

I did it a couple hours earlier than you guys did last weekend, and people were quite respectful about giving each other adequate space before dropping in. It was not nearly so crowded as it seemed in Admin's group pictures. At noon it was still soft and creamy after the avy debris was churned up by the first wave. I am back east now, so next year, with luck.
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