Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Days 8, 9, 10 - Big Storms, Maiden Dawn Patrol, and Going Bust at Alta

As expected, I'm behind on my ski day logging. But I guess that's not so bad since I've been busy skiing.

Day 8 - Dawn Patrol!!

Thursday morning (Dec 20), Josh and I decided we wanted to get a piece of the big storm that was hitting SLC. We got up at 4:00AM and busted up to Solitude and Willow to ski hourglass/USA Bowl. It was snowing as we skinned, but relatively pleasant. We made good time to the top of the ridge, but when we got there the wind was whipping! Wished we had a rope as we looked down into the Monitors - I bet they would've went huge with a nice fat cornice drop. Huckering down, we traversed the ridge to USA Bowl, hoping that it was sheltered from the wind. Um....not so much. USA Bowl was completely raked. Gametime decision to traverse back to hourglass and get off the ridge. The snow was good and deep, with a little bit of a windslab on top. Tricky skiing on the top half, but nice soft snow in the bottom half of the run. Not a lot of turning to be had in 1+ feet of new snow on 20 degree slopes, but it was an awesome workout. Great way to start the day.....except for the drive down. The Element needed tires in a bad way, and that morning the plow happened to not be plowing down the canyon in the morning. The result was a ice-skating 2 mph drive down the canyon that took about five years off my life. Let's just say we got new tires on Friday night. Much better.

Stats for the day:
4.4 miles
1800 ft vertical

(click on the maps below for route and profile info!)

Day 9 - A First at Solitude, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Honeycomb Canyon

After beating my head against my desk on Friday (Dec 21) as two feet of snow was being skied up the canyons, I felt a small bit of respite when I heard that Solitude hadn't opened Honeycomb. Josh and I got up to Powderhorn by about 9:15, psyched to get some well-deserved powder. However, honeycomb wasn't open. We spent the morning skiing the Powderhorn trees and finding some good stuff off Summit, but we were getting a little worried that we were going to get the shaft. I started bitching about how I always have the worst timing, and I'm never the one that's getting off the lift as patrol opens gates. I'm always the one that takes off down the slope right before the rope drops. Well, maybe it was my time. Lo and behold, as we're getting off the lift, patrol is flipping the Honeycomb sign to "open". We followed the patroller off into Black Bess and dropped in early to avoid the massive amounts of avy debris from the morning's bombings. Good stuff. After Josh completely exploded on a compression in the Honeycomb runout (funny, but I'm glad you're not hurt honey!) we hauled down to the lift, and rallied back down to Sunrise. 20 minutes later, we were hiking up the Summit ridge to ski Buckeye. Good lord, it was good. We did about 4 more laps before we had to leave, and it was hard to say goodbye. Skiing next to your tracks after the 40 minute lift loop is pretty sweet.

Day 10 - Remembering Why We Have to Get Alta Season Passes Next Year

I try to deny it. I try to say how much I love Solitude. I try to convince myself that Alta is not all it's worked up to be. God damn, I'm not going to fight it anymore. I LOVE THAT PLACE.

I met up with Tara and Chase on Monday Dec 24, as they were working on day 3 in a row. Chase was pretty worked, but he was up for another awesome morning. The temps had risen considerably overnight and we were stripping layers all morning in the heat. We started the day in Supreme and found some awesome snow in Supreme Bowl. Definitely heat-affected, but still soft and really creamy. It was great catching up and laughing on the chairlift - it seems like nothing ever changes when we all get back together. We hit the rope tow to get back over to Collins (Sugarloaf traverse was closed) and Gwen and Tara wanted to get up to Gunsight. We hit the wrong traverse and ended up at Thirds. The wind was raking the ridge, but once we dropped down into Gunsight, it was beautiful. I forgot how fun it is to ski long, steep runs. Another rope tow, and the Hays wanted to go in for lunch. I wasn't ready, so I took off and decided to check out Jitterbug/No Name. The entrance wasn't too great, but the skiing was awesome. I met up with Connie and Craig, and Tara joined us since Chase was done. We did a few more runs off the high T and I called it day to get home to my boy. Of course, as if to reciprocate for Saturday's excellent luck, I left right about the time it started snowing. Craig told me later that High Boy was on all afternoon. God, I suck.

I love that place. The snow stays good longer. The runs are long and steep. There are lots of friends to ski with. The views are spectacular. I guess we're skiing at least 11 days at Solitude this year, because I'm ready to go back to Alta.

No comments: