Alta's worst day ever
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Denis - DCSki Supporter
March 4, 2009
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,221 posts
That's the statement I heard from a dozen or more people today who said they have skied there for a lifetime, anywhere from 20 - 40 years, and they never saw such bad conditions. It was firm but it was not ice, as they said. I brought the slalom race carvers today and they don't see ice anyway. Laying down grooves was fun. The bigger problem was wind. SLC TV weather reported a gust of 94 mph on the Wasatch Front today. I saw 3 people midway in the act of sitting on the Albion Chair blown off the loading platform. I decided to ski only Albion to stay down out of the worst of it. Even so the chair was buffeted so much that I had both hands over the back of the chair just to make myself feel better. None of Alta's chairs has a safety bar and they were swinging wildly at times when the wind gusted up.

At about 1 PM the Sugarloaf chair, which goes higher, was shut down vindicating my decision to stay at Albion. On the bus back to SLC I learned that Snowbird had a chair shut down and had to evacuate people from the chairs. Not fun. The valley again hit the high 60s today and it seemed to be above freezing at Alta but it was cloudy and the surface never softened.

Change is supposed to be coming tonight. SLC is supposed to get a dusting of snow and one TV forecaster ventured a "possible 5-10 for the mountains". A more promising storm is sitting off the CA coast and should come in ~ Mon. The last CA storm went north to Idaho after pounding the Sierra. What a weird wild winter. Huge swings where one half of the country is unusually cold and/or snowy while the other half bakes. This goes on for a couple of weeks and then it flips state. A binary winter.
skier219
March 4, 2009
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
It's looking like conditions will flip to favorable starting tonight and for as far out as my forecast goes (currently to next Wednesday). Things are shaping up for a great week next week when I'm there with my two brothers-in-law. I can only bring one set of skis on the plane, so I am keeping my fingers crossed it will be the wide ones on this trip. On my previous trip in Jan, we had the high pressure snowpack and ideal "eastern" conditions.

Denis, let me know if you want to meet up for some runs sometime next week (we ski Mon-Thurs). One of my brothers-in-law is an awesome skier, the other a college-age intermediate, and it's the first time for both at Alta, so I will be trying to keep them on the right terrain and out of trouble. I might be meeting up with a local friend on Wednesday morning, and he will probably be able to guide us all to some good terrain. I'll know more by the weekend.

Keep us posted with your reports!
scootertig
March 4, 2009
Member since 02/19/2006 🔗
365 posts
We're here in SLC, too, and went up to Alta for the "ski free after 3" thing they do. The Albion chair wasn't running, but Sunnyside was, and it was pretty gusty. We ran 4 or 5 laps, then headed to the Porcupine (at the mouth of BCC) for some nachos.

I'll post pix and more detail later, but it's been a weird week here. We came expecting bottomless powder and have been met with almost nothing but hardpack and slush (one in the morning, one in the afternoon), but it'd be silly to call it a bad trip, even after all of that.

Definitely better than being at work (despite what I heard an Alta local say on Sunday, when he claimed he'd rather be at his desk than skiing the "awful" conditions).


aaron
SCWVA
March 5, 2009
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
Denis & Scooter,

Jimmy & JohnL are in SLC this week also. I think they fly out on Saturday. PM me if you want Jimmy's cell #.

Hope the weather turns for the better. Please send some pictures when the pow starts to fly.



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fishnski
March 5, 2009
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Wasn't there some folks stuck on a lift at Snowbird?..Caught the tail end of a report as I was rushing out to work this morn..
David
March 5, 2009
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
Originally Posted By: fishnski
Wasn't there some folks stuck on a lift at Snowbird?..Caught the tail end of a report as I was rushing out to work this morn..


Trying to get out before daylight so the neighbors won't see you swiping their pots eh??
fishnski
March 5, 2009
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Watch yer mouth!!!....you muddah!..(good fog works)
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
March 5, 2009
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
Let's hope Jimmy was not blown off a chair! Anybody heard from him? I think I read the problem with the chair at Snowbird was the cable coming off the guide wheel. The last couple of weeks in March here in the mid-Atlantic are supposed to be much colder than normal. Snowy Luau looking good.
Alta now reporting 10 new inches of snow with up to four inches of flurries today.
The Colonel smile
Denis - DCSki Supporter
March 5, 2009
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,221 posts
It was totally different than yesterday. I knew this would be true when I saw 2-3" of wet sticky snow on my car at sunrise, so I took an early bus to Alta and arrived shortly after opening to find a foot or so of soft new powder. I skied untracked lines from ~ 9-1 when the magic left my legs and I headed down. How do you find untracked at the powder hound capitol of the universe? Easy. Albion. The ridge to rider's right of the chair has lovely lines which, although short, attract very few powder hounds. They are all after bigger stuff. I was alone, when I tend to conservatism and what is wrong with untracked powder anyway? Most of the time I floated without touching bottom. On steeper pitches I sometimes edged too much in order to control speed and heard the scrape of edges on yesterdays crust, but not enough to be a bother. On one ride I saw that a short slide had wiped out some earlier tracks, right beside some earlier tracks I had made. It was not long or big enough to bury a skier but could probably flush one into a tree or rock.

Another storm tomorrow night and a third one on Sun./Mon. smile

I will have to see if I can find John L, Jimmy, Scootertig, and Skier 219.
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
March 5, 2009
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,857 posts
Denis, you always seem to have a knack for finding powder. When I retire I'm going to follow you around. I hope you find the DCSki crowd. That would be another good time I'd like to be a part of.

Keep the trip reports coming I really enjoy reading them.
JohnL
March 5, 2009
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Denis,

I'll give you a call on Friday. Alta next Mon or Tues? I'm likely to be skiing Solitude on Saturday, Beaver Mountain (with Tim and the Madeline) on Sunday.

Skied The Canyons today with the Jimmy crew. Probably a foot of fresh with less pow competition than the Cottonwoods. 9990! 9990! Fresh tracks at 4 PM. Some good tales to tell when time permits. Wasn't bottomless, but still a great change from the past few days.

Very weird weather Sun-Wed of this past week. 70 degrees in SLC on Tues; the top of the Grizzly downhill at Snowbasin (9k feet?) was as slushy as Whitetail. Just a bit steeper.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
March 5, 2009
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
Denis,
I think they are staying at Embassy Suites in SLC.
The Colonel smile
scootertig
March 6, 2009
Member since 02/19/2006 🔗
365 posts
I'm skiing Alta tomorrow, then heading home on Saturday morning. Today was very, very good. First ever true "powder day," even if it was on top of a crusty base. I got a core shot. Ugh. Not sure how/when, but it is not pretty...


aaron
Denis - DCSki Supporter
March 6, 2009
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,221 posts
There is a swatch of green & black plaid hanging from one of my pole straps. It is the identifier of the SkiVT List, another forum similar to this one. There is also my picture on Chip's staff page,

http://www.whitegrass.com/graphics/Staff%20Pics/Staff%20WG/DSC01246.jpg

http://www.whitegrass.com/staff.html

I'll be at Alta today.
David
March 6, 2009
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
scootertig
March 6, 2009
Member since 02/19/2006 🔗
365 posts
I'll be in a dark blue Cloudveil jacket, with black pants, black helmet, and orange Nordica Hot Rod Nitrous skis (with a chunk out of the bottom).


aaron
skier219
March 6, 2009
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
I'm thinking Monday will be the "screening" day for my crew as two Alta-newbies find their comfort zone and we all adjust to the elevation change. That plan always goes awry if it's a powder day, in which case it will be a feeding frenzy of spastic proportions. My young brother-in-law Joseph will be new to big mountain skiing and powder, so I plan to stick with him on blue terrain the first day until he finds the groove. There is plenty of good accessible terrain out there, so it will still be fun for me.

Tues-Thurs would be good days for us to meetup with other DCskiers at Alta, maybe for some mid-day or afternoon runs? My other brother-in-law Ed is an awesome skier (started at about age 4) and will be looking for gnar terrain, so if anyone wants a gnar partner, he's the man (he's even talking about Baldy Chutes sick). I'm a bit more conservative than that -- I like being able to get to the apres-ski beer without crutches or a wheelchair wink.

I'm hoping we'll get into Catherine's area for a few moderate runs that the whole skill range can handle. I passed a couple low-angle lines last time I was in there, they were about halfway along the traverse in, but I don't know what's below them or where the runout is. They looked sweet though.

I'll be in a dark blue / gray North Face shell, black North Face pants, blue Leedom helmet, and likely skiing on my dark blue / white Fischer Wateas (they have artwork of a pacific island tribal warrior on the tails, can't miss it). Might have a dorky looking cam on the side of my helmet too -- not sure yet.

Craig
Denis - DCSki Supporter
March 6, 2009
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,221 posts
Powder seconds are pretty good. Perhaps 1/3 of today's turns were in uncut snow and many of the others were in lightly cut powder. I'm not counting the short obligatory groomed terrain required to get there and return to the lift. Light snow fell throughout, turning heavier when I left at 2:15. It is now snowing on and off back in the valley. Tomorrow should be another powder day. I'll be following the advice of a local that Solitude is the place to go on a Sat. after a Fri. snowstorm. There will be a powder stampede to Alta. I have rehydrated and will head for the sauna in a few minutes.

As to next week. I have good friends (a couple) coming on Sat. who will be staying up in LCC so I presume they will want to ski Alta on most if not all days of the week. I also have a brother in law coming Tues. and I may not ski that day since I need to get him at the airport in mid afternoon. He has never been to UT and will want to move around a bit to see other places. Wed. would be an OK day to do Catherines and Thurs. would be better since everyone will have had at least a day to adjust to altitude. I've never been there and would love to do it.

Baldy chutes are rarely open until the spring corn cycle is established. They are too avalanche prone. I do have UT friends but they are available only on Sat. & Sun. I trust them as guides to gnarly terrain. I don't trust myself and if you're smart you won't either. Last Sun. one showed me the Tower 10 chute, but I don't think I could find it reliably on my own and it is in a cliffy neighborhood.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
March 11, 2009
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
You Alta-philes might enjoy this:
Alta article
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
March 11, 2009
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,857 posts
Alta is timeless. I hope the basic character never changes. Like all things in life one must work for the best it has to offer. It is little wonder why it is the Utah ski area I visit most often. It has been a whole year and a least another will go by before I visit again. I know it will seem all cozy and familiar no matter how long before I return.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
March 11, 2009
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
Wonderfully factual article. Alta is indeed timeless. It is the mecca for skiers.
The Colonel smile
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