Date: November 27, 2011
Resort: Snowbird, Utah
Conditions: PP/MG/FG. Base depths 28-35 inches, 75 inches for the season so far. (We need snow).
Weather: Mild. Temps in the upper 20's breaking through the 30's and even 40's. Temperature inversion. Nice sunshine.
2012 Trip Report #: 2
Report: The thing that everyone was following this past week was the Tram: was it going to open? When? Why? Rumors were circulating last weekend, on the mountain and online, that things were dire. Word had it that when the mountain ops did their repair work in October they found more wrong than expected and that certain 40 year old parts were no longer made. Rumors were that the Tram was down until March. Then word came on Monday that it was operating....that was until an incident on Tuesday or Wednesday when the Blue Cab hit one of the towers in a microburst, resulting in some blown out windows (the same ones that were replaced this summer). Crews worked Wednesday and Thanksgiving to get it going. Finally on Friday it opened for skiing and I knew I needed to get back...like there was any question.
I planned on hitting the Tram first thing to take advantage of the longer vertical runs and new terrain (Regulator Johnson in the Little Cloud Basin...a favorite steep cruiser). I got to Snowbird at about 8:20 for the 9:00 am opening, got a good spot, and headed into the Snowbird Center. I booted up and pulled out my ski lock to lock my Monster 76's in cases the snow softened and I wanted a softer ski than the Tigersharks. Well, ski locks only work if you remember the combination.....I fuddled around and then got it finally. As I headed upstairs, my gloves fell out of my pocket. In the 2 minutes they were on the floor, someone had picked them up and got them to lost and found. I grabbed them and then finally got into the Tram queue. I was on the first tram up..which was worth it. The Tram was less than half full.
We got to the summit and was greeted with a view I don't get sick of at all:
Regulator Johnson was great. Soft MG manmade snow with some chalky natural mixed in:
For those that have not skied it, think of either White Nitro at Sugarloaf or Ovation at Killington and you've pretty much got it. Steep, groomed, fast.
I skied down through Gad Valley, via Bassackwards to Bass Highway, and then back to the Snowbird Center for another round. Turns out that I was able to time it so that I arrived just before the Tram did, so it was litterally ski off, get on, and repeat with no wait. I did this for four laps. Those 3,000 vertical runs were nice.
At about 10:15, I opted to head down Bassackwards to the base of Gadzoom.
I did about four or five rounds on Gadzoom, alternating between Bassackwards (above) and Lunch Run:
Anything not groomed or with snowmaking was bony at best and really tracked out. Some very firm bumps:
And Big Emma really was taking a beating. With the Tram operating, all skiers from Gadzoom and the Tram were funneled down it. Needless to say, it became "the Greatest Ice on Earth."
Some nice bumps on the side, but they were firm. I managed to find some good soft snow in the middle, but you had to skid to get to it. So ice is not reserved for the east!
Lower Gad Valley skied very nicely and Gadzoom's lines were very short compared to last weekend:
After a few runs I headed down Bass Avenue to go check out the Chickadee Area, aka the beginner area right beside the Cliff Lodge. It is a pleasant area for little ones and beginners. Basking in the sun was nice:
By now it was about 11:40 and I had time for one more run, so to the Tram I went. 7:30 for a 3,000 vertical run is really nice. Now I see why some Sugarloafers want their "signature lift" to the summit. It really makes for some great skiing. Mineral Basin and Baldy are not ready...not really close: