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Alta/Snowbird, Jan. 28-29, 2021

PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 10:36 pm
by Tony Crocker
We drove to Alta for Liz’ clinic both days. Thursday morning we bought some antifog wipes. Those in conjunction with the SAM mask worked all day for me. It was snowy in the morning and chair rides were windy but it was about 30F.

This is the first day I skied a lot of ungroomed terrain since May 1. Snow was good including about 6 inches new in many places. But I get out of breath and have to take breaks when exerting myself, as on the backcountry days last April. I did realize early on to pull the mask up so my mouth was unobstructed on ungroomed runs when I might need more effort. I did not want to disturb the interface with the goggles in order to prevent possible fog.

Liz and I started with some excellent untracked in Spring Valley. This was promising for a low angle powder day, so I took my next two laps on Greely Hill.

The second run was a bit of a slog out as there's still a lot of vegetation with the still below average snowpack.

I took a Sunnyside run on Vail Ridge and then moved to Supreme. Supreme Bowl was open, but those runs funnel down to some bumpy exits.

After a cruiser I needed a break around noon and went into Alf’s. The only people allowed at tables were those ordering food. I sat on some stairs near an upper entrance and fortunately no one complained, even when I ate some jerky. After a Sugarloaf run in the Chartreuse area I skied to Albion and the rope tow because the EBT was still closed.

From Collins I went partway out the High T, dropped in around Watson Line and linked 3 sections with traverses right to extend the fall line. This was the best snow of the day, smooth and consistent soft windpack.

I ride Wildcat and took admin's favored route into Snowbird: not quite ready for prime time. I did not hit rocks but there were a lot of bushes that need to be buried for fluid skiing. I rode the Peruvian chair and got this view of Anderson Hill.

There are lots of trees there that are usually buried by my timeshare week.

I skied Upper Primrose and then cruised to the Creekside base to catch the UTA bus from Entry 1 as Liz' apres session at Alta lasted until 6:15. I skied 14,300 at Alta and 3,300 at Snowbird. In the warm bus I removed hat and goggles and replaced with glasses. When I exited the bus I noticed a broken the left frame and the lens had fallen out. I also left my backpack on the bus. :oops: I called into lost and found, and the message got to the right driver. I went back to the bus stop and retrieved the pack at 5:40.

Friday’s temperatures were similar to Thursday, but the snow was in the afternoon vs. morning. It dumped about 1.5 inches per hour from 2-6PM. After two runs with Liz I skied Highboy.

Getting to Highboy is sketchier than usual. But once in, it's amazing a run that long and steep has no rock issues this season though there is some vegetation you usually don't see. The snow was so good I only had to stop once despite my crappy conditioning this season.

Two singles are allowed on quad lifts and one was a firefighter from Denver who had the Moderna vaccine. He was laid low for about 12 hours after the second one while on his drive to Utah. We heard the same last summer from an eclipse chaser in San Diego who was in Moderna's clinical trial. So I may take it easy for a day if I'm successful in getting a second shot in February.

About 11AM I went to Snowbird. View of Mineral Basin above the last pitch of Lupine Loop:

I got lucky arriving at the top of Hidden Peak within 10 minutes of the opening of Road to Provo. I skied Little Cloud Bowl first, then a second run to the Rastas.

That gray spot below is exposed gravel probably from a slide. I traversed left and found good powder near the trees.

After Little Cloud I needed at rest at MidGad, which like Alf’s was only allowing people in the dining area with sit down reservations. I did snag a bench seat to rest and eat the rest of the jerky. I went back out as the storm was cranking up. So after a bad vis run into Mineral Basin I was tired when I got back to Alta at 2:25. I skied into Watson’s for a hot chocolate and met Amy, Mira and friend Mike on his first ski day in Utah from NYC.

Amy led us on a good local final run, linking a sheltered upper part and a traverse to lower West Rustler. Friday was a good ski day (11,600 at Alta and 7,100 at Snowbird) but at the end I discovered a detached edge on one ski, which usually means they are dead. I have no idea when or where this happened. I grazed a couple of rocks on those powder runs at Snowbird, but nothing major like the time I pulled out an edge on my first Bonafides in Austria 4 years ago.

Liz left her skis with me at 4:15 as she arranged a ride after her clinic. But I was stuck in the Alta lot for 2 more hours due to an accident on the LCC road. I got down about 7PM and Liz about 40 minutes later.