Alta, UT 12/10/11


Staff member
Day 11: OK, I'll say it...we need more snow. Really.

Groomers were fun in the morning (except for Low Boy, where it was downright glassy because they blew the gun too wet) but got scratchy by lunch time. Ungroomed is firm in fast in areas that have been skied, and thick unconsolidated sugar where it's untracked. When we do finally get a big dump, nothing is going to stick to this stuff. Facets run deep.

We spent the morning tearing around the mountain. Our usual crew -- Skidog, Bobby Danger, Amy and yours truly -- were joined by jamesdeluxe, Jamey Parks and Kristen Lummis, publisher of who's in town from Grand Junction, Colo. with her husband and two kids, all of whom can truly rip. Aspen's their home hill. It was also Alta's annual December AT/tele demo day, and jamesdeluxe spent the morning trying different skis from Black Diamond and Voilé. There were far few vendors than normal, most likely due to the thin snow pack. Skidog, Bobby and I instead got to try some of next year's Salomon Rocker 2's mounted with Salomon's AT binding they're releasing next season, the Guardian, all courtesy of Jamey. Wow! Fresh edges...what a concept!

It was a beautiful, sunny day, and it felt great to be out in the mountains today above the inversion smog that's building in the Valley thanks to our persistent high pressure. But like I said, by lunchtime things were getting scratchy on the groomers. So after a lunch on the mountain at Alf's (still a limited grill menu, unfortunately) we decided to push off for an adventure.

That adventure involved a repeat of the boot pack up Jitterbug from last weekend, and I've got to give jamesdeluxe major props here. He arrived from sea level on Thursday night. Friday was day one of skiing for him this season, so today was day two. And I don't think a bootpack up a 43-degree line is something on his usual agenda. So when he stuck it out all the way to the ridgeline, carrying those 10-ton Volants of his, he became my hero today.





So did a father I watched carry skis up Jitterbug for both himself and his 9-year-old son. Kudos for that kid making the hike -- the steps on the bootpack were huge for me, not to mention for that kid. And then on the ridgeline, dad turns to me and asks me where this terrain ends up. It turns out that on top of everything else they were visitors from Toronto. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that they were the only visitors to make that hike today -- besides jamesdeluxe, of course.

We struck out to find untracked, dense snow on the lower half of Gunsight before traversing all the way around Greeley Hill and North Rustler for more untracked in lower Eagle's Nest. It's a pity that jamesdeluxe and Amy got a little too low to reach the Nest, but we all enjoyed that final adventure on the day nonetheless. It certainly beat the afternoon turns on the manmade on the groomers!

Skidog got some action photos today, I didn't. I'd expect that he'll add a few here later tonight.
A fun and educational day despite decidedly subpar (for the Cottonwoods) snow.

The day started off in the parking lot at the bottom of BCC, where Admin drove up, took a look at my 71-waist Volants and made a face that communicated infinite, soul-killing sadness. Thanks to demo day, I got set up with a pair of Black Diamond Verdicts, which felt really good, and would have been a great ski for me at Alta under normal circumstances -- i.e. not skiing on or alongside scratchy groomers.

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Demo Reps

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The Crew At The Top of Sugarloaf

Lunch at Alf's was punctuated by Admin, Bobby D, and Skidog informing me multiple times that I was going to join them on a repeat bootpack hike up Jitterbug. I tried all sorts of excuses -- I'm diabetic; I just had hip surgery; I'm out of shape; I'm a big fairy -- but none of them gave a crap, so off we went. The whole way up, I managed to take five to seven steps at a time interspersed by loud heaving noises and intense sweating. I don't know which was more embarrassing: being left in the dust on the bootpack by a heavy smoker, a nine-year-old kid, or a guy carrying two pairs of skis and helmets.:icon-lol:

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Two Ontarians Traversing Out Toward Gunsight

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Catching My Breath In The North Rustler Trees

Thanks to Admin and posse for allowing me to tag along. It's very cool that they're more interested in showing off their home mountain to visitors than maximizing their vert.
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The first 10 days of December have been dry on a widespread basis. California: zero snow. PNW: zero snow. Western Canada: 0-9 inches. US Northern Rockies: 0-5 inches. Wasatch: 0-3 inches. I-70 Colorado: 5-10 inches. Northeast: 12 at Jay, otherwise 0-7 inches. Somehow more snow has materialized in the Southwest: Big Bear 15, Brian Head 27, Arizona Snowbowl 23, Telluride 14, Taos' base has increased a foot and it has gone from 20-39% open. Wolf Creek gets the prize by a mile with 50 inches so far in December.

Admin always goes for quality over quantity. Grunt work is necessary to achieve that under current conditions.
Got a few photos. Nothing great the light wasnt awesome by the time we got back there, but here they are.



Bobby D expressing himself


Enjoyable day and any day on the snow is A GREAT DAY... I do agree with admin though...we need some friggin snow.

Well, the snow thing. But what can I say, we still had a great morning and all the braveskifamily thank you for the fun. Our hike up Jitterbug looks about like yours -- sweaty!

We'll be back for some pow. See you then! Cheers!
Great to meet braveskimom. Skidog's pix prove that there were nice turns to be had, but this one is the best, with Bobby looking like an LL Bean model on a photo shoot:

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I've put those Volants into the trunk and they do weigh a ton.

Props to JD for earning turns! Next thing you know, he'll be shopping for telebindings!