TR: Snowbasin, Deer Valley, and Snowbird
I got back late Monday night from a 3 day weekend trip to Utah. I arrived at the airport at 11 pm on Friday night and met my friend who was flying in from Philly. We stayed at the comfort suites by the SLC airport. We drove to Snowbasin early on Monday morning and arrived to 3 inches of Utah Powder and heavy fog. In the morning we did a bunch of runs underneath the John Paul quad like Snow king, the Burn, Ellison's, and FTS. The north facing aspects skied very nicely, but the south facing slopes were a little crusty under the new snow. We spent most of the day moving around to avoid the thick but patchy fog. We went over to the Strawberry gondola to make our annual pilgrimage to Lone Tree (A steep tight 1000 vert hike-to chute). The upper gate was closed, but we managed to ski another aspect off of DeMoisy Peak through the lower gate. The now was great but we decided it was much to foggy to go back to the top so we went down to Bear Wallow and lapped that bowl for a few runs. The snow was deep but tracked out. The fog then started to lift a bit and we finished the day with another run on DeMoisy Peak and skied back down to the base area.
A storm rolled in that night with about 8 inches of snow and heavy winds. The forecast predicted 90 mph gusts in Little Cottonwood Canyon (we had planned to go to Snowbird or Alta) so we decided to go to Deer Valley. We were worried about lift closures at Snowbird or Alta and we figured that the multiple faces at DV would allow us to stay out of the wind. When we got there, half of the lifts were on wind hold (including Empire and the Daly Chutes), so we went immediately to the new Lady Morgan Express which was out of the wind. The only access back out of that area is via the Ruby Express. Since that was on wind hold, patrollers used snowmobiles to drag the skiers back to the northside express. The terrain under the Lady Morgan Express was sick with a cliff area about half way down. The snow was dry, but since it was graupel, it was very dense. We skied off the Lady Morgan for a bunch of runs. We then did a few runs down Ontario bowl which was pretty nice. We also skied some great bumps under the northside express. We finished the day at around 3:15 when there were several claps of thunder and some lightening. It snowed all day, but at this point, the snow really coming down. They didn't close the lifts right away which was surprising, but we weren't going to chance it.
We ended up sitting in park for 2 hours on RT 80 west when we were going back to Salt Lake so after making it to the next exit, we turned around and went back to Park City for dinner.
We drove up to snowbird for the last day. We hit some major traffic on the canyon road and it took much longer than expected. We bought our tickets at the Gadzoom base, but Gadzoom was closed for some problems and the line at the mid gad lift was terminal. We drove the car in rental boots over to the Wilbere lift. We then skied down to the Peruvian express. The skiing was phenomenal. There was knee deep, sometimes thigh deep light Utah powder. We headed for Mineral Basin through the ski tunnel. It was mostly tracked out, but still great. We then rode the Mineral chair up to Hidden peak and did a run down Silver fox top to bottom to find deep powder. We wanted to go straight back to the summit to ski the Cirque again, but the tram line was about 30 min. We took the Peruvian back to Mineral Basin, skied Mineral, and then went back to the Cirque. We found some deep untracked on Great Scott. We then went over to the Gadzoom lift, skied Carbonate to the Gad II lift. We skied the Gad II lift line which was in great shape. We went up the Gad II lift again and went down to the cliff area underneath the Gadzoom lift. We skied a tight chute with a rocky entrance and a 2 ft mandatory air. This was enough of a hassle to keep everyone out so the snow was untracked, but it was worth it. We skied back to our car, changed, and headed for the airport. We arrived at 3, packed in the parking lot, and got into the terminal at 3:30 for my 4:15 flight. Overall, it was a great trip to Salt Lake.
Wow That is a ski trip! Over comming aversity, chasing snow and changing in the parking lot.
That sounds like the kind of serious skiing, weather, and fast pace not conducive to picture taking, but if you have any to share, we'd love a peek.