Heavenly. More than one person said Heavenly lived up to it's name on what may have been my best powder day of the year. We had expected to go to Kirkwood, where 10-16" was predicted for Wed night/Thursday vs. 4-7" at Heavenly. But when I first woke up, the deck rail had 5-6"
My friend does not have much recent powder experience or ski fitness and said he crashed twice following me into the untracked. I waited a couple of minutes, then could not move out of loading area when he arrived and loaded a couple of chairs behind me. I was probably in the first dozen on the chair and got first tracks into Dipper Bowl, skiing the right side and setting the exit. Next lap, I rode chair with friend and had another long untracked line down the center on the bowl. I waited a couple of minutes at bottom and did not see him so I texted from chair that I would take Milky Way Bowl which has a little hike past the nearly totally buried armory, to get to it and a long return which should give him a chance to catch up. While people had been going into Milky Way area, where visibility was poor, all of them seemed to be traversing across the ridge to the right. I had an untracked line down the steepest part of the bowl just right of center with faceshots on three turns in a row. The next two laps I got a little longer untracked line in the right corner and then hit the first set of trees.
One of my Dipper rides was with a 1st year Heavenly patroller who said he had just closed the gate for Fulstone and did not think Killibrew would open as they had set off a lot of slides there and some in Mott, which I had already heard would open soon. He also said that once you go out the Fulstone gate you are not supposed to return and even though almost everyone does, you can have your pass suspended for 4 weeks. Based on the slide activity he saw, he did not recommend skiing unpatrolled and uncontrolled Firebreak. I kept lapping Milky Way Bowl until I saw the Mott OPEN sign at the top and skied along top of ridge separating Mott and Killibrew and went down Bill's. It was untracked, but almost every turn would set off a sluff and 2-3 off them ran for a couple of hundred feet or more. They were only the top few inches and while it was disconcerting, I continued down moving between trees and trying to stay out of the sluffs I was making. My next two runs were mostly untracked, especially first run, skiers left of the chair, an area I usually avoid as it gets sun affected quickly. I also took a run skiers right of chair where snow was better and then left Mott to re-fill my water after traversing to, then skiing down between Bills and The Y. I skied Comet twice, dropping off Comet run into moderately tracked in steep face between run and chair but I was still making most of my turns in untracked. I went up Dipper and saw Killibrew OPEN at the top. I was able to stay on traverse to Gate A and skied almost untracked nearly 1000 foot wide Outer Limits, then the steep Meadows. I repeated Killibrew, but due to bad visibility and deep snow dropped off the traverse (something I did at least twice more) and had to duck rope to get back to Outer Limits which did not ski as well as first lap. I continued down ridge at bottom to get 20 or so untracked turns in Boundary Chutes before hitting low exit. I took one more Mott/Dipper lap skiing off the traverse in trees past Milky Way Bowl, then skiing past Mott's Rocky Point to Ernie's where it was hard to find areas that had not slid or sluffed. For those counting that was my only semi-dud in 8 laps on Mott chair.
I skied Nevada Trail to Stagecoach base. Tony Crocker may be interested that I have been taking that from Dipper or Mott chair to move lower on NV without taking despised Crossover. You have to carry speed past East Peak Lake's dam and then ski a road for while past Galaxy runs and end up at Stagecoach base. I rode chair from which I spotted and skied a lightly tracked area not far skiers right of Stagecoach chair, then went over a knoll I had never been on to get some untracked N-facing. I went up Stageoach, then after skiing trees under top of N-bowl chair, I went up Olympic then skied light tracked Pines. I skied trees to skiers left of North Bowl and barely crossed a track. It was surprising how untracked it was at nearly 3 PM. That was partially due to all Boulder base facilities including lift being closed. Shuttles were running as they needed base parking as overflow to Stagecoach. I thought timed the shuttle perfectly as I arrived less than 2 minutes before 3, but first shuttle that came 5-10 minutes later was going to gondola base and I'd already had my friend take my car there as I planned to ski down. After a total wait of about 20 minutes the shuttle arrived and said they were on a 45 minute schedule. I went up Stagecoach and Olympic and went solo through Firebreak gate. I had turned off my phone for a couple of hours to make sure I had battery for the run, but it shut down with over 30 percent charge as it did not like heavy snow and cold when I took picture of gate. I heard voices and caught up with two skiers starting their second Firebreak lap and joined up with them. We skied great powder for over 2K vertical before having to get around rocky point and locate snow bridge to cross creek. The rest of the run was an adventure, until on the exit path where it seemed like I was poling on 3 inches of snow over asphalt. Snow was much thinner at base and where we walked down hill where many people were playing in snow after crossing road behind Harrah's. The guys I followed down said, even though visibility was worse, skiing was much better on 2nd lap as it was snowing hard enough to cover most tracks. My watch counted 29.2K with an estimated 20-24K of powder. Sky chair was closed most of the day which meant that CA skiers could not get to NV and if you skied for NV to CA, you could not return. The gondola and as far as I know Tamarack chair were running, but lines never built up on any NV chairs. I'm going back to Heavenly this morning as friend who has put me up the last two nights needs a ride. 6" new reported Friday, but a lot of that fell during yesterday as it seemed to be clearing about 9 PM.
and it was dumping and blowing where we stayed at about 7500' near Stagecoach. Heavenly reported 10" new (Kirkwood said 12") and another 2-4" fell during the day. (I later heard that not only where there avalanche related traffic problems getting to Kirkwood they closed lifts early due to lightning). We were 20-30 back in line at Stagecoach when it opened a little late about 9:15, and rode with a couple of regulars including one who had already taken a lap with ski patrol. He said snow was a little heavy at that level so we went straight to Dipper, getting powder turns in the old East Peak chair area.