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ss20 Takes on Utah

ss20

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A minute from the Alta exit off the I-15!
Resort or Ski Area
AltaBird
Date
Nov 21, 2021
Snow Conditions
  1. Powder
For anyone interested who didn't see my post this summer....this is what I'm doing this winter...https://forums.alpinezone.com/threads/some-good-personal-news.143385/

I haven't posted much the past two weeks...been driving cross country. Finally rolled into SLC on Sunday. My gear is in my locker in Alta and I'm almost ready to go. It's been a kinda weird start to the season around here. Tons of October snow that fell up high. Very poor conditions and very warm down low though. For example, I've been told Alta is skiing beautifully up high. Coverage looks good to me. But down at the base of Alta/Snowbird there's almost nothing save what they've been able to make the few times it's been cold enough. Park City/Deer Valley have essentially nothing and their ability to open in the next two weeks looks incredibly bleak. Brighton opened yesterday afternoon and Solitude opened today I believe. A couple inches in LCC/BCC tonight and very cold temps before warming up (again) for the weekend and beyond.

I hope to get up to Alta and actually ski in the next week. I'm in no rush; it's a long season. I waited a long time for this and another few days won't kill me as I get acclimated to my new surroundings.

I hope to post in here every couple weeks to give you guys some cubicle pick-me-ups! Now watch Vermont get an epic 300" season and we get nothing out here, lol.
 

ThatGuy

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Happy to hear you made it there safe! When do you start instructing?
 

abc

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I hope to post in here every couple weeks to give you guys some cubicle pick-me-ups!
Looking forward to hear your stories from Utah.

Though like many others, I won't be in any cubicle for quite some time. I may even be in Utah for extended period later in the season, thanks to the luxury of this "new normal" of remote working.
 
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snoseek

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totally following this one. It will come, even the lean years are pretty damn good there. If you happen to ride MTB check out Corner Canyon down in draper while its still warm, that place is so fun!
 

ss20

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totally following this one. It will come, even the lean years are pretty damn good there. If you happen to ride MTB check out Corner Canyon down in draper while its still warm, that place is so fun!

Last December 1 I skied Alta for the first time. Conditions were the worst the locals had seen. Low snowpack, hard snow, exposed rocks, etc. I think they had 60" so far and it hadn't snowed more than a couple inches in a week or more. I skied 9:15 (opening bell at Alta) to 4:30 having the time of my life. Skiing on essentially "average" East Coast conditions on gnarly West Coast low-coverage terrain. It was a ball. The narrow and crazy tree chutes on Wildcat. A few bowls off of Sugarloaf were open. And skiers doing absolutely incredible things. Every other run I saw skiers doing backflips off a snowmaking whale under the Collins chair. At points where I had to look and examine at what was some of the most technical terrain I had skied I watched others fly down like they'd been doing it their whole life. I was sold after that. Here I am, a year later.

Opening day must've been a ton of fun today. Last night's dusting-1" turned into 3" and flurries all day. Now we're entering a reallllly long dry spell, but still ahead on snowfall from what I can tell.
 

ss20

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Alta, Days 1 and 2

Friday 12/3 and Saturday 12/4

This was it. This was going to make it all worth it. 6 months of figuring logistics. A year+ of knowing "it's happening". And 5+ years of keeping in the back of my mind, debating, thinking, wondering... could I do it? All the time, energy, and fear of relocating solo 2,000 miles away to a state where I don't know a single person...it comes down to today. Day one. At Alta.

I spent the morning going “around the world” and following the sun. First skiing Devil’s Elbow a few times, then working over to Collins. I was offered to hike up Baldy to ski the Chute…”if you really want the true Welcome to Alta experience…” I declined. Still, we traversed across Ballroom to see where it spills out. Damn. That’s a nuts run. Despite only taking a few runs, the altitude was getting to me and we went in from lunch and water. My favorite run was Race Course. East Coast bumps with plenty of “dust” in the troughs. I skied 10:30-3:15, with a 30 minute break. I got home, and slept.

The next day...do it all again. Same weather, blue skies and right around 40 degrees. I got more daring. I skied some steep chutes beyond the end of Baldy Chute. I skied interior Wildcat, skier's left of the chair. I skied Running Dog Nose...a favorite of the day that took me to another stupid steep chute. The Wildcat terrain is so far my favorite. One of the most famous chairs in skiing, seemingly forgotten. Dozens of empty chairs while Collins had a 1-2 minute wait.

Today, I rested. Tomorrow I start training. And by week’s end, we’ll have 12-18” of fresh snow...and I’ll be able to experience “The Greatest Snow on Earth”.

A bad day out West surely beats a good day back East!

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IMG_20211204_135924674.jpg
 

thetrailboss

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Imagine what it will be like when we finally get snow.......

Alta is skiing a lot better than Snowbird.
 

ss20

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Imagine what it will be like when we finally get snow.......

Alta is skiing a lot better than Snowbird.

I cannot wait for Thursday!!!! Snowbird looks very sad down low and I don't see many guns going at all. Maybe 12-20 as I drive by? Where do they get their water?

On a semi-related note I did not realize the lift-served vert at Alta is only 1,900 while Snowbird pushes 3,000!!!
 

thetrailboss

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I cannot wait for Thursday!!!! Snowbird looks very sad down low and I don't see many guns going at all. Maybe 12-20 as I drive by? Where do they get their water?

On a semi-related note I did not realize the lift-served vert at Alta is only 1,900 while Snowbird pushes 3,000!!!
Yeah, as I tell people Alta's lifts takes people to the saddles and cols. Snowbird lifts take people to the top of the mountain. Alta has a lot more hiking. At Snowbird because folks start out at the top most areas are ski into or glide into on a traverse. There are a few hiking areas, but not as many as Alta.

Both Alta and Snowbird use water for snowmaking that is stored in mine shafts that are now converted into reservoirs. All the water belongs to SLC though.

And honestly it has been too warm to make snow due to the inversion with the colder air down low and the warmer air up high. Hopefully we will now get real winter. Looks like snow and cold air finally.
 

snoseek

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I cannot wait for Thursday!!!! Snowbird looks very sad down low and I don't see many guns going at all. Maybe 12-20 as I drive by? Where do they get their water?

On a semi-related note I did not realize the lift-served vert at Alta is only 1,900 while Snowbird pushes 3,000!!!
I think Supreme is around 1k and I could easily spend the whole afternoon there.

Wildcat is probably under 1500 and probably my favorite pod in lcc
 

ss20

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I think Supreme is around 1k and I could easily spend the whole afternoon there.

Wildcat is probably under 1500 and probably my favorite pod in lcc

They re-did Supreme and it is now a HSQ much longer than the original triple. It's 1,200ft vert. Wildcat is the same vert...my early favorite pod as well. Reminds me of the Bear quad at Killington. No traverse in. No traverse out. Steep and down. Both pods overlooked and considered to be the "lesser" expert terrain at their respective mountains.
 

ss20

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12/9/21 and 12/10/21- Days 6/7- The first powder days

Thursday was very calm...a "local's special". We did not have training but all of us still went up the winding canyon to visit our new home in all her glory. There was maybe 6" down before first chair. At 8:50am I lined up for Wildcat and was the 8th chair up. Oh those first powder turns of the season...not so sweet (but are they ever?). I am shocked how long powder lasts here. All day...you can find fresh tracks with a little work. I did not, as I chose to sample the chop chop most of the day (something I'm much more comfortable with). It was the quintessential powder day... or so I thought...

The next day, Friday...was insane. We had training again and the parking lot was full. The mountain was reporting something around 24". With the base areas jamming and still limited terrain I knew first tracks would be a futile effort for our training group with its 10:30am start (whole mountain delayed due to avi control). My expectations were for soft snow and chopped powder. We get off the Wildcat chair for our first run. We skate 15 feet down the traverse to the most obvious of obvious lines. It looks "good" by any standard, but hard to tell with falling snow and dark clouds. A few people go down in front of me and it looks nice. Still, I'm not holding my breath. Well holy crap I should've. My first true experience with bottomless powder. Snow going over my head. I'm choking on snow from laughing as I ski down. Wow. Best thirty seconds of my skiing life, no joke. Sometimes I have to remind myself I am now living as a tourist...everything is new and what I know is that I know nothing of this new world. We did a few more bottomless runs off that ridge...apparently there's nooks and crannies at Alta that collect all the snow, and under-reporting is the norm.

More powder days coming up... this storm is already over-performing and 36"+ is my bet by end of the day Friday.

Oh yeah, and I'm teaching skiing too. Almost forgot about that one.

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IMG_20211209_110220683.jpg

The day after, mid-day...
IMG_20211211_130604451.jpg
 

ThatGuy

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Living vicariously through this thread, actually smiled reading the part about bottomless powder.
 

thetrailboss

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12/9/21 and 12/10/21- Days 6/7- The first powder days

Thursday was very calm...a "local's special". We did not have training but all of us still went up the winding canyon to visit our new home in all her glory. There was maybe 6" down before first chair. At 8:50am I lined up for Wildcat and was the 8th chair up. Oh those first powder turns of the season...not so sweet (but are they ever?). I am shocked how long powder lasts here. All day...you can find fresh tracks with a little work. I did not, as I chose to sample the chop chop most of the day (something I'm much more comfortable with). It was the quintessential powder day... or so I thought...

The next day, Friday...was insane. We had training again and the parking lot was full. The mountain was reporting something around 24". With the base areas jamming and still limited terrain I knew first tracks would be a futile effort for our training group with its 10:30am start (whole mountain delayed due to avi control). My expectations were for soft snow and chopped powder. We get off the Wildcat chair for our first run. We skate 15 feet down the traverse to the most obvious of obvious lines. It looks "good" by any standard, but hard to tell with falling snow and dark clouds. A few people go down in front of me and it looks nice. Still, I'm not holding my breath. Well holy crap I should've. My first true experience with bottomless powder. Snow going over my head. I'm choking on snow from laughing as I ski down. Wow. Best thirty seconds of my skiing life, no joke. Sometimes I have to remind myself I am now living as a tourist...everything is new and what I know is that I know nothing of this new world. We did a few more bottomless runs off that ridge...apparently there's nooks and crannies at Alta that collect all the snow, and under-reporting is the norm.

More powder days coming up... this storm is already over-performing and 36"+ is my bet by end of the day Friday.

Oh yeah, and I'm teaching skiing too. Almost forgot about that one.

View attachment 52408


View attachment 52409

The day after, mid-day...
View attachment 52411
It's finally filling in. Friday's installment will help.
 

thetrailboss

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So what happened to Collins today? It was closed most of the day. Then Sunnyside went down.
 

ss20

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So what happened to Collins today? It was closed most of the day. Then Sunnyside went down.

Asked around but I didn't hear anything. Collins was down all day a week ago as well. Collins was spinning (empty) on my way out at 4pm. As a bonus they kept Wildcat and Sugarloaf both open til 4:30. Not sure if they're not releasing the full amount of parking reservations but both today and Saturday were dead. Saturday I know was "sold out" based on the reservation site, didn't check for today. I started down the canyon at about 4:20 and the average speed down was the typical dry-road 35-40mph.

I'm hearing rumors about Snowbird being critically understaffed. Could very well be true based on their job openings. Snowbird is requiring employees to be vaxxed, Alta is vax or test weekly.
 
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