Ah, Alta
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skier219
April 7, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
17" today, and it's been snowing all evening. Unbelievable epic skiing in April, during their last full week of the season. Check out their pic of the day archives for photos from Monday 4/7 -- face shots and deep stuff. Part of the mountain was closed today, so I am expecting 24" of uncut snow when that terrain opens tommorow. I am so excited I may not be able to eat more than one plate of pancakes in the morning! (I am big on pancakes). This place rocks!
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
April 8, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
JEALOUS spells what I am right now. Craig, ENJOY!!!!! I have skied Alta and the Bird many times in early April....how sweet it is!
The Colonel \:\)
David
April 8, 2008
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
Glad to hear that you are having a good time! Tear it up for me!!!
skier219
April 8, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
I wore myself out skiing powder, crud, and bumps today. I wasn't really paying attention and skied too hard and too long without breaks (it was that good). The next storm just moved in, with 3-5" predicted overnight and 6-10" for tomorrow. I'm going to take it a bit easier tomorrow, I hope! There's just so much great skiing here right now.
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pagamony - DCSki Supporter
April 8, 2008
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
840 posts
yeah sure, of course ... alta alta alta, powder powder powder, yada yada yada ... but how is Harmony liking it ?

ps: waffles >> pancakes.
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
April 8, 2008
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,860 posts
Things haven't changed since January, nice.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
April 8, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
My sympathies.... All that snow.... accumulating inch by inch.... having to do the chore of skiing... Come back East quickly! There's a nice chill in the air, we haven't seen the sun in two weeks, drizzle every day, awesome cold and clammy... Just like London... Don't you wish you were here?
skier219
April 8, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
 Originally Posted By: pagamony
yeah sure, of course ... alta alta alta, powder powder powder, yada yada yada ... but how is Harmony liking it ?

ps: waffles >> pancakes.


Solo trip this time. I do wish Harmony was here to ski the groomers -- the corduroy is super soft and quiet. It's kind of funny to see the groomed surface a good foot below the powder on the edges of the trails. Pretty much the inverse of what we saw in the mid-A this season.

I'm with you on the waffles, but they don't have any here! Anything I can drown in syrup is good...
skier219
April 8, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
BTW, I heard it snowed 4" per hour yesterday. Insane!
David
April 8, 2008
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
 Originally Posted By: lbotta
There's a nice chill in the air, we haven't seen the sun in two weeks, drizzle every day, awesome cold and clammy... Just like London... Don't you wish you were here?


Speak for yourself. It has been about 80 degrees and 100% sunny the past two days here on this side of the WV Alpps. Tomorrow isn't looking as good though....

Oh yeah, back on topic.... Sounds like another good day. Keep shreddin' it Craig. Wish I was there!!!
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
April 9, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
 Originally Posted By: David
It has been about 80 degrees and 100% sunny the past two days here on this side of the WV Alpps. Tomorrow isn't looking as good though....


Huh?! Send some sun this way. Right now in DC it is 48 with a beautiful Seattle gray and showers and drizzle expected for a week. I had taken my bike out to do its Spring tune and it is still sitting on the balcony...
skier219
April 9, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Well, it was another epic day. I haven't seen numbers yet, but they got at least 6-8" today. It was snowing super hard for the last 2 hours the lifts were running, and is continuing at the same clip. If this goes all night long, tomorrow will be yet another epic powder day. I don't know what I did to deserve such good fortune!

I got pretty tired at the end of the day, and spent the last couple hours on the greens and blues in Albion basin. It was a good move. In addition to being more relaxed, there was more untracked snow over there, some over 20" deep. This is the first time I remember getting face shots on a green trail. I started singing "face shots on a gree-en trail" to the tune of Chris Farley's "fat guy in a little coat" song (perhaps coincidentally, the best snow was on the "Patsy Marley" trail). It all worked out nicely in my head. By then, I was a snowman.

David, I think you need to plan yourself an Alta trip when you catch a break from school and have some dough. You owe it to yourself!

Colonel, I caught up with the "Wild Bunch" today, and they said for you to meet up with them next time you're at Alta if you want to join. They give out patches at their periodic socials.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
April 9, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
Skier219,
Thanks, I thought that might be the case. Have you ventured over to Snowbird at all, or just enjoyed the meca, Alta?
Keep the reports coming....
The Colonel
skier219
April 10, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
10" overnight and mostly sunny skies made for another spectacular ski day.

Because of a long line at the Collins lift this morning, I rode the Wildcat lift for what turned into epic powder runs. There is a black trail off the top of that lift which must have been groomed right after closing yesterday, for it contained all of last night's plunder and then some. I skied that 5-6 times in boot-top powder, and that ranked as some of the most enjoyable skiing I have ever experienced. No hiking or traversing required.

Later in the morning, I took some ungroomed runs off Wildcat, and it was actually too deep! I couldn't even get turns going, and ended up straightlining it (even in slow-mo it was scary). Even a 94mm waist ski isn't enough to float me without some serious speed.

The rest of the day consisted of powder, crud, and slow-growing bumps off the Collins and Sugarloaf lifts. My Fischer Wateas are really great in crud, to the point where it becomes like a fun combination of powder and bumps. I finally got the hang of driving those skis through moguls, which is quite a feat for me -- both the 94mm waist and 186cm length make these skis seem unwieldy at first, but they turn into pussy cats with some practice. These are among the best soft snow skis I have ever owned, and they do well on hard snow too. In case you're wondering how hardpack shows up on a powder day, there were some wind-scoured sections off the top of Sugarloaf that rivaled east coast boilerplate. These were intermixed with huge drifts, lips, and cornices which made for dramatic looking lines.

All in all, this has been a remarkable trip, in April no less. This has been, without doubt, the best skiing I have experienced in years. Pretty awesome way to close out the season. Normally I am sad to leave Alta, but this time, I'm feeling quite content. I'm enjoying a beer, watching the avy dogs get off work, and seeing the groomers hit the slopes. Nice way to wind down. Until next season!
JimK - DCSki Columnist
April 10, 2008
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,727 posts
These posts are amazing. Like going back in time a month or two earlier in the season. But we really need some pictures.

Tonite in DC it is about 70 degrees and my tulips are blooming.
David
April 10, 2008
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
Dang man. I won't go as far to say that hate you right now...but man I am jealous. I'm glad to hear that the trip went so epic. It isn't too often when you can get lucky enough to get a whole trip in which every single day is that good. In April for that matter. I've always pondered on where I would like to take my first trip out west. I think that doing trips exactly the way you have this year is probably at the top of my list.... All Hail Alta!!!
skier219
April 10, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Yeah, I really feel like Alta is a very pure and authentic ski experience. It has the best vibe of any place I've skied. As they say, it's a real bro-brah atmosphere. I especially like the amount of terrain and trails for skiers like me in the level 8 range. Plenty of opportunities to test out the tougher stuff too.

I didn't bring a camera this time, but have a few pics on my iPhone that I will post when I'm home. There are some great shots on the Alta website, and the webcams of course.

Sadly, it will warm up into the 40s and 50s over the weekend, and of course Sunday is their last regular day anyhow. Imagine closing with over 160" base!
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
April 11, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
Craig,
Glad the trip turned out so well. Just a reminder to folks that while Alta is closing, Snowbird, which adjoins Alta, will be open for daily skiing until mid May, and weekend through at least the end of May. By the way, Snowbird is offering a great late season rate if you use the AMEX card to pay, check out their website for rates and any new closing info. So there still remains great, readily accessible Utah skiing. And a reminder to any DCSkiers who board and are thinking of going to Alta next season, Alta remains one of the few areas that only permits skiing on their slopes, either two planks or a monoski. Snowbird does allow boarders and skiers.
As for the current conditions, they are epic, but not totally without precedent. I have skied Alta and Snowbird at least 4 times in early-mid April and never skied on less than a 125 inch base.
Have a safe trip home. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip and seeing the pictures.
The Colonel \:\)
skier219
April 12, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
OK, here are a few photos I took with my phone, most are looking out the window of my room at the GMD:

This was the scene when I arrived; Alta had gotten 17" in 12 hours:



Interestingly, the road up Little Cottonwood Canyon was clear until just before we reached Snowbird, and it wasn't snowing that hard until reaching Alta just a little further up the road. Though they are right next door to each other, Alta was getting more snow that day, perhaps because they are at the very end of the canyon. It's a true micro-climate for sure. Down in SLC, the grass was green and people were out golfing!

Here's the scene at 7:30 am the next morning, as the sun rose on a bluebird day:







This is what it looked like the evening of April 9 from my dinner table:





It had snowed hard all afternoon, and continued overnight with another 10". Here are a couple shots the next morning, April 10:







This was to be the best day of the week, due to the pristine powder conditions in the morning (boot to waist deep) and sunny blue skies. I talked with several locals who said it was one of the top days of the season; local or not, I think we all knew it was a pretty magical spring day. I was truly a life experience to ski down 40 degree slopes off Wildcat with powder shooting past my knees and hips.

This was my final dinner at Alta, tortellini with shrimp and lobster:



Must have been half a lobster in there. All week, I got the impression that the chefs were pulling out the stops with whimsical ingredients and big portions (even more than normal). They feed you like a king at the GMD, and it's a really nice way to start and end epic ski days. Meals are included in the lodging rates (breakfast, apres-ski hors d'oeuvres, and dinner).

Here's a shot from the morning of the 11th, right after I had breakfast and was packing up to leave:



Of course, they had gotten more snow overnight, about 5", so it was going to be another great day. I wouldn't have minded skiing that day, but the previous three days gorging on powder left me totally content -- a nice way to leave Alta.

This is one of the lodge dogs, Kota (sp?), who was keeping me company in the lobby as I waited for the shuttle:



There were three dogs hanging around the lodge, a yellow lab (Toby), a black lab (Licorice), and Kota. It really makes for a laid back atmosphere. The labs were always happy to see people, but Kota looked a bit tired from all the attention. I bet it's been a long season when you just want to crash on the rug!
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
April 12, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Momma nature was good on you and that tortellini made me hungry. Obvious you had a great time!!!!
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
April 12, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
Craig,
Great pictures. Was the menu at GMD the same for each of your visits, or did it change by the week? Was it the same for the week we were both there in Jan?
GMD...a wonderful experience...and as you said, laid back. Now if they only would get an outdoor heated pool. I do love getting snow on my hair, catching snowflakes in my mouth, while swimming in an outdoor heated pool.
Most Utah resorts are shutting down this weekend, which is amazing considering all have an honest base of packed powder over 10 feet deep.
The Colonel \:\)
skier219
April 13, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
The regular menu has been the same all season, but they seem to have more daily specials than I remember back in January. Hard to say, I wasn't paying as much attention to food on that first trip! When my wife came with me in March, we spent more time sampling. On the regular menu, I think the braised lamb shank is the standout by a long shot. The scallops and roasted beet salad were the best appetizers I tried. I also had two different salmon specials this week that were quite good. Chocolate lava cake seems to be the best dessert, but I only had room for it twice on this trip! The main course portions were something. In fact, I feel hungry after returning to my normal eating routine at home. I already told my wife I want to go out for a big meal tomorrow!

They had a 14 foot base when I left the other day, which is quite amazing. Looks like they will end the regular season with 661" of snowfall.
crunchy
April 14, 2008
Member since 02/22/2007 🔗
596 posts
 Originally Posted By: skier219




wow man, for snow pack comparison, this is a similar shot of mt superior from early april last year. deep difference!

skier219
April 14, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Wow, that is quite a difference -- thanks for posting that pic. Would you believe, people were still hiking/skiing that last week? And I believe the choppers were still dropping people off all along the ridges on the other side of the street from Alta and other nearby mountains. It's pretty crazy to see tracks down that stuff!
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