SLC, 2/8-2/11/2014 (Solitude, Snow Basin, Powder Mountain)

baldyskier

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(I apologize for the mixed up post- I don't do this enough)
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Snow Basin, 2/8/2014
Only beginner Lift was open at 9:00, with more to open at 9:45. Wind was high, though, and Snow Basin decided to close for the day. We got weather vouchers and headed back down for lunch.

Solitude 2/9/2014
Road said chains or 4WD, but storm was warm and bus lot was full, so we drove up w/o incident.
There was powder in the trees off Powderhorn 2 Lift. Summit Lift had good snow, although was more skied off in spots. Traversing further out led to more steepness.
I wiped out in an especially steep part. My skis stayed on but my right pole came off. I staged my skis in front of a tree and struggled to climb up about 30' in deep and steep to look for the pole, to no avail. My first time at Solitude, and I was impressed. Plenty of powder, and some challenging terrain off Summit.

Snow Basin, 2/10/2014
We decided to go back to SB today to use the weather voucher from Saturday's wind closure. SB had received around 4-5" of new snow overnight. It was hero snow on top of a harder base where yesterday's crowd had skied on ungroomed areas off Strawberry Lift. Closer to the bottom the ungroomed areas were hard enough underneath that it was best to head to the groomed areas to get back to the lift.
We headed for John Paul Lift, then on up the Mt. Allen Tram. There was a fair amount of powder on the top. I hiked up NoName. The upper portion was excellent, but the lower section was not so nice, as the surface was hard and the going more tedious.
Later I took the same lifts again, but headed down at the Women's Downhill start house. The powder was nice once again. I worked my way further to skier's right after that, and was able to find a mixture of some nice powder in the trees, then some sections of the tedious harder surface.
We had lunch a the John Paul Lodge, which is always a treat. The weather was windy with some fog.
The sun shone through at times in the morning, degrading the powder on the women's downhill run.
I headed over to Middle Bowl to avoid having to go all the way to the bottom and found great powder in the trees.

Powder Mountain, 2/11/2014
Powder was closed on Saturday and Sunday due to an avalanched that blocked the access road. We started skiing at about 9:30 this morning, making our way to Hidden Lakes Lift from the main lodge. Hidden Lakes area was open on Monday, so it was mostly skied off with some powder occasionally in the trees. We went on over to Sunrise Lift, which just opened today. The Poma Lift line was quite long (about 15 minutes), but the powder was worth it. The weather was somewhat windy, overcast and oftentimes foggy, with snow falling at times. On my 2nd time doing Sunrise I opted to hike up, avoiding the Poma Lift line. As I got toward the area that gives access to Cobabe Canyon a patrolman announced that the Paradise Lift was open, and that he was therefore able to open the Cobabe area. The powder was nice and deep (not super-light, but it skied like a dream). I went up the Paradise Left, then back across to Hidden Lakes Lift. The slope in between still had good powder. I went back up to the Sunrise Lift, which almost deserted (more empty Pomas than occupied). Apparently everyone had gone to the slopes under Paradise. I took a look at that terrain next time I went back up, but opted to go back to Cobabe once again. Though there were more tracks, lots of fresh powder was there for the taking. This was a great day; Powder Mountain came through for me, yet again. My friend Jeff, who had skied with me in Utah last year (on older, narrow skis), had new equipment this year, and was instantly hooked on powder skiing.
 

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I had the same issue that you did on 2/8 - however, I intended to go to PowMow on 2/9 only to find it closed due to the road avalanche. Ended up using the voucher at Snowbasin...

2/9 Snowbasin
- Started out on John Paul Lift - snow was definitely rain affected. There were some decent skiable lines up top. Bottom half of the mountain skied like a 32 degree storm day at Mt Baldy. Not exactly 3%........ Mt Allen Tram was closed.....visibility was tough. Light was VERY flat.

5 minute wait on Needles Gondola......took some lines on Needles Gondola. Headed eventually over to Strawberry around 11 am. Visibility up top was skiing by braille. Couldn't see a thing. There were some nice lines once I got out of the cloud up top. Left Snowbasin at 1 pm. Given the crowds i experienced both days........I think I"ll just stick to Alta ..........
 
From what Evren says, Snow Basin is a better bet on weekdays than weekends, even moreso that the areas south of SLC, since most of the SB patrons are locals. There were virtually no lines on Monday, except for sometimes a 1 tram wait for the Mt. Allen Tram in the morning.

The weather, snow quality, and the flocking on the trees definitely reminded me of a Mt. Baldy day when a storm is moving out.

Visibility was mostly good, although clouds/fog rolled in and out.
 
I was also at Solitude on 2/9. I'd been there before but when I was young and didn't know how to ski, so basically no recollection.

Got second chair on Powderhorn and had a few runs there before meeting some local college kids who kindly showed me around the mountain for a while. We had a few good runs with fun rocky/cliffy terrain in something called "The Cut" before lucking out on the Milk Run gate opening. That gave us 3rd chair Summit and first tracks on Corner Chute. The snow was a bit lighter on Summit but the runs were so short and not particularly steep, so I went back to Powderhorn and started making laps in the Parachute/Middle Slope area. I found that to be by far the best terrain with a nice mix of chutes and cliffs on a slightly longer run, with the added excitement of never knowing when I was going to cliff myself out.

Honeycomb never opened for good reason. After every bomb I heard a considerable amount of snow move, it was a very scary sound and convinced me to avoid any potential avy situations.

Overal, Solitude was fun. The snow was heavy but it was all snow and no rain. It was apparently a very busy day by Solitude's standards but I was able to get first tracks in all the most desirable places without knowing the mountain. The big downside to Solitude, in my opinion, is how short the runs are and how long it takes to lap the excellent terrain in Parachute and Middle Slope (although that certainly helped to keep it fresh).
 
Staley":26n59bz6 said:
I was able to get first tracks in all the most desirable places without knowing the mountain. The big downside to Solitude, in my opinion, is how short the runs are and how long it takes to lap the excellent terrain in Parachute and Middle Slope (although that certainly helped to keep it fresh).
An excellent summary of Solitude. And my "ski fresh tracks all day without knowing the mountain that well" day was a President's Day holiday.
 
Staley":2ceqwsn3 said:
I was also at Solitude on 2/9....
The snow was a bit lighter on Summit but the runs were so short and not particularly steep,...
If you want steep at Solitude there's actually quite a bit in Honeycomb, which I know wasn't open when you were there. Unfortunately it does take a bit of effort to get to it.
If you want even steeper and more hairball, there's always Fantasy Ridge (which is open today, btw):

http://www.skisolitude.com/community/2014/01/fantasy-ridge-was-open/

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ccO-1V68mA[/youtube]

PS: you can find GoPro videos of climbing Fantasy Ridge. Unfortunately, due to the huge wide angle lens of the GoPro coupled with the helmet mount, the fish-eye result makes it look a lot more vertical and sketch than reality (which is sketch enough).
 
Some really nice pictures there, esp of No Name and Strawberry.

A "one car wait" for Mt Allen??? Often I had to wait so that a couple of more people would show up before they'd get it going. This year, it seems people are extra hungry after January's drought.

I very much agree that No Name is excellent up top and gets tedious in the bottom half. There is a way to ski the goods and traverse right for more goods but you have to do that before it feels justified and I have succumbed more than once.

Woman's downhill start is a bit of a letdown, no? I find that hiking halfway up to No Name and dropping off into the same bowl from there is much more satisfying. Hardly anyone does that.

Was at Deer Valley for pretty darn good storm skiing today. But. I notice, every other person has S7s... and this is Deer Valley. If you weren't there when the snow was flying, tough luck.
 
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