Snowbird: Debut of Peruvian Gulch for 2011-2012 (12/9/11)

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  1. #1
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Camera Snowbird: Debut of Peruvian Gulch for 2011-2012 (12/9/11)

    Date: December 9, 2011

    Resort: Snowbird, Utah

    Conditions: On trail: MG/SM. Off trail: P, some windslab, some chowder. Base depths on Upper Peruvian Gulch approaching 3'. Sketchier lower....

    Weather: Cold, with highs in the upper teens, 20's. Nice sunshine.

    2012 Trip Report #: 4

    Report: Yesterday I saw that Snowbird was planning on opening Peruvian Gulch and the Peruvian Express. They advertised that "Chip's Run was open," which made me happy because it was something new, but also set the bar low because I know that we have struggled so far this season with the dearth of snow. Still, another blue cruiser with snowmaking on it was better than nothing at all. And for those not familiar with Snowbird, Peruvian Express is nothing to sneeze at. She delivers 2,572 vertical feet of goods over a liftline of 8,031 feet. Only the Tram delivers more...and only 328 vertical feet more. To put it in perspective, I think the only lift that comes close in Vermont is Stowe's Forerunner (2,400 vert or so IIRC).

    I pulled up at the usual time...about 8:30am to get ready. The digital displays were only saying that Regulator Johnson was open and Peruvian was not visibly running. So I prepared for another few hours of laps on the runs I had done.

    The Tram was modestly full. As we rode up we all peered into Peruvian. "Looks like a lot more snow than they are saying," someone said to their buddy. Chip's was groomed, but there were other visible options that were open and either groomed or well covered. My game plan was to do a Chip's Run, then probably another Tram run on the other side covering Regulator Johnson and those runs since Wilbere was open and snowmaking had gotten Harper's Ferry, Harper's Ferry East, and Wilbere Ridge/Cutoff all open.

    The Tram operator did the usual advisory for the riders. "Welcome to Hidden Peak. At this time, please be advised that skiing is for advanced skiers and riders only. We have Regulator Johnson and Chip's Run open from the top with manmade snow. Anything not groomed is early season conditions, so hazards exist under the snow." That confirmed that Chip's was open and I went.

    As I turned onto the switchbacks and then dove down the headwall above the Peruvian, I found the snow to be softer than on Gad Valley and as I headed down, there were many more options than advertised. They say only 11 trails are open; it's much more than that. The first run was down Chip's to Middle Men's Downhill, and then Chip's Face back to the lift. Wow. Another was in order, this time I ventured into Surf Turn Gully to see what the natural offerings were. The snow had set up pretty firm, so I cut back to Chip's and followed it down to Rothman's and then down Wilbere Ridge, Cutoff, to Wilbere Lift. Wow, what a difference a week makes. Better base and almost edge-to-edge cord. Off of Wilbere I hit Harper's Ferry to Bass Highway and then back up to Peruvian.

    Well, I had left the front side skis in the car and opted for the Monster 76's, give the snow depth and my desire to try some natural stuff (bumps, pow, whatever). So I decided to head back over near Surf Turn and instead took a nice line down Primrose Path. The snow had been tracked out nicely, so it was packed down, but still soft. Wow, great stuff. I decided to go for it and hit Anderson's Hill for the first taste of pow of the season. Good choice. Though short and shallow in places, it really got me going. So back down Rothman's to Harper's Ferry East for some steep bumps and back to Peruvian.

    I had seen folks trickle into the Cirque via a traverse across Silver Fox. There were some nice tracks and I figured I would give it a go since the Patrol had dropped the ropes.

    Silver Fox had some nice chowder and powder that became a narrow chute. Right above the exposed rock band, folks were easily cutting to skier's left and taking the traverse over two shallow ridges, and across nice lines on Lower Great Scott, Upper Cirque, Middle Cirque, Backyard, Honey Hole, and Naco's Knoll. The sign line was not up, so folks who were brave enough could coast down to Lower Cirque, Joe's Slide, and even the upper reaches of Anderson's Hill. Compared to my adventure in Devil's Apron a year ago, which featured a nasty ridge to cross from Supreme Lift to get the goods, this traverse was tame. I coasted along picking a line near Naco's Knoll and just letting the skis rip the pow right down to Chip's. By now Men's Downhill was scraped clean, so I stuck to Chip's, hitting Lower Primrose Path to get to the lift.

    Back up I went and this time down Chips, where I cut into Anderson's Woods to find some great snow....great until I came to a sudden sign line warning of cliffs. I cut left and found myself and a few other folks peering down a thinly covered ledge drop to Anderson's proper. No way for me...I hiked back and bypassed the equally thin Christmas Tree Chute and Hot Foot Gully heading back to Chip's and then down Rothman's to Wilbere Ridge and to Gadzoom. I lost about 20 minutes on this foray and it was getting late in the morning so I needed to move. I did one spin down the firm Lunch Run/Big Emma and back down to Peruvian to get my legs back under me.

    Next run was down a nice chute that I think is the lower part of Great Scott. I glided across the flats, into the Honey Hole, and back to the bottom, via Phone 3 Shot, that was open and had received a generous amount of overspray (or maybe got snowmaking). Either way, it was nice.



    Back up and I decided to enjoy another ski down Primrose Path, to Honey Hole, down Chip's to Hully Gully and Hubba Bubby Blvd, before taking Chip's all the way to the bottom. I was beat. I got buried in waist deep snow on Hully Gully and fell laughing....

    I also managed to ski Willows, Lower Primrose Path, Chip's Bypass, and a few other traverses. Things are coming together....slowly...but there is way more open than advertised and skiing decently.

    It was thin in places, but man, that Utah pow tasted good.....

    Pics soon.....
    Last edited by thetrailboss; Dec 10, 2011 at 10:30 PM.
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  2. #2
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Some good pics:





    Live, Ski, or Die!


  3. #3
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Some more pictures (finally).

    Sunrise over Mineral Basin:



    Looking down into Peruvian Gulch:



    Gorilla Pass:

    Live, Ski, or Die!


  4. #4
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Live, Ski, or Die!


  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by thetrailboss View Post
    Looks like a little bit of fun out their

  6. #6
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    A lot of fun. We got a surprise storm today...snowing in SLC. Looks like at least 3-4" so far at Snowbird. Every little bit helps....
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  7. #7
    but also set the bar low because I know that we have struggled so far this season with the dearth of snow
    I'm sure most of us wish we had your problems
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  8. #8
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    I'm sure most of us wish we had your problems
    Love it!

    Here are some pictures...finally....

    Mineral Basin Sunrise:



    Looking down into Peruvian Gulch:



    Gorilla Pass:



    Heading up the Lift:



    Middle Cirque/Naco's Knoll:



    It was better than it looks here:



    Silver Fox/Anderson's Hill



    Starting down Anderson's Hill:







    Primrose Path/Silver Fox:

    Live, Ski, or Die!


  9. #9
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Heading into the Cirque....













    Hubba Bubba Boulevard:



    Anderson's Hill:



    Tasty...







    Primrose Path:







    Hully Gully

    Live, Ski, or Die!


  10. #10
    i love those pictures

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