Alta, UT 12/28/14


Staff member
Day 19: Free refills all day long.

Another storm that over-delivers. Snowfall started early this morning and by closing had dropped another foot of 4%. The mountain wasn't crowded at all -- I never had a line even close to five minutes -- but the lodges were. When that much snow falls that fast, holiday visitors seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in the lodges. Personally I absolutely adore storm days.



Visibility was tough, but it's a good thing that it didn't matter.


I skied today with Bobby Danger, AmyZ, and rdwore as well as Arnie and mrgskier who is visiting from Vermont with his entire family. Greeley Bowl to North Rustler was delivering the goods, so we just kept lapping that combo repeatedly. The High T right now is in as good a shape as it ever is. Bobby, Amy and I went to Rustler for lunch for the first time this season to avoid the crowds in the day lodges and I unexpectedly bumped into Tony Crocker's ex.

I intended to end my day with a 3 p.m. bus run accompanied by AmyZ. The snow certainly lived up to expectations.


However, when we popped out onto the road we noticed that there was no traffic flowing in either direction. I called Alta Shuttle, and Matt told me that he couldn't even get out of the Wildcat parking lot. My text messages confirmed that they closed the road completely, which I found out later was due to a plethora of slide-offs. We had no choice but to hoof it back to Alta on our own.

So I took another "last run" with mrgskier and crew, but honestly my legs were shot. I dropped off my skis for an overnight tune and went to GMD. I couldn't score a chair to save my life, either downstairs in the cafe or upstairs in the saloon. I figured that I'd wait things out by relaxing in my truck in the parking lot with a beer to go, but the line to purchase one at Slopeside Joe's was maybe 10-15 people deep. So I headed to the truck sans beer, and by the time I cleared the snow from my truck the road had just reopened at 4:15, a full 45 minutes ahead of schedule. I was in decent position so I went for it.


It took me an hour and 15 minutes to drive the 8 miles to the bottom of the canyon. 45 minutes of that was just to get to the Cliff Lodge at Snowbird. I actually used 1st gear of 4WD Low in my truck for the first time on that road ever, not because I needed it for traction, but because that was the only gear that wouldn't require me to ride my brake as we inched forward at 0-2 mph. To their credit, Unified Police officers were metering traffic, allowing some Snowbird traffic to exit, alternating with Alta traffic. Last season, most of the times that the road closed they'd clear out Snowbird before Alta traffic was even allowed to start to leave. This worked out better than that.
Thanks for making the effort to shoot pictures and post them, despite stormy conditions. They really illustrate the excellent conditions well, and add to the vicarious enjoyment for those of us not able to be there (I took a 3 1/2 hour bike ride today with friends I'm visiting in Florida, so life isn't so bad, but Alta looked like the place to be yesterday).