On to Gunbarrel: rarely has an advanced trail around here been more aptly rated as a double diamond. There was a cornice-- A FREAKIN' CORNICE-- going into the top of Gunbarrel on one part. Nice huge swath of ice on skiers left kept your skis largely pointed downhill after the initial drop so by the time you got to the "flatter" part of the upper drop you were easily approaching 30 mph, even if you didn't bomb the top of the run. I found a nice face that, while hardpack, could hold a ski edge and had to be well over 50 degrees in pitch. A couple of linked turns on that was a real good proving ground for anything-- and I mean anything-- that can be thrown at you out west. I only wish it was about a hundred feet longer and a few feet wider on the entrance; the only real way in was to knife your way down a pointy ridge and if you missed the lip in (which I did more than once) HELLO six foot drop into a ski trough!
The schussers were a little annoying, but I have to give them credit. No one jumped the top of Gunbarrel without at least one buddy making sure the landing area below was clear, and if someone started down the top of Gunbarrel before the schusser went to huck some air, their buddies would tell them to wait while the other person skied through the top face. A lot of people were just going straight down the top of GB and some were doing jumps, going out as much as 30 feet. Given how nice the day was I wished I had had a sandwich and gatorade along; I would have just sat at the bottom of the face and watched people jump for lunch.
The downside? Well, like WT it seems the crowds were much heavier than anyone expected for a Superbowl Sunday. Part of that had to do with a regional ski race going on, and that ski race made for very erratic lines on the triple chair. You would practically ski up to the triple chair for two runs, and then the third time you came down there would be a 10-15 minute wait. The fourth time down there would be a 5-10 minute wait and then maybe it was empty again, or even more full. The lack of consistency got annoying and, although this sounds a little snobbish, it's not much fun to wait 15 minutes in line for a 45 second run down a ski hill.
As a personal grooming preference, I wish they had left at least half of lower Gunbarrel ungroomed, which would have added a nice top-to-bottom mogul run. That would have also kept people from schussing the lower half of GB, which was a bit dangerous given the mix of skiers that occupies that terrain.
But I think the thing I noticed that is changing the most at RT is how much the hill seems to be changing from a ski area to a "snow slide" area or something like that. Recruit is now a super long half pipe, there is a shorter half pipe over in the novice area, half of a beginners area has been taken over by ski jumps, Exhibition was occupied with a race course the whole day (as was part of lower Gunbarrel for a few hours), and of course the racers had turned the upper part of Gunbarrel practically into a ski jump. All told that is probably 20-30% of the mountain now occupied for specialty items that have little to do with traditional skiing/boarding.
To be fair, I'm sure RT is just keeping up with demand but it feels smaller than it used to as a result. And, as another positive, Roundtop did a good job redecorating the interior of their ski lodge, which now has a minor feel of a turn-of-the-century saloon (VERY minor feel but the chandelier is a nice touch). All-in-all a good trip; certainly better than not being on a mountain!
If anyone read through all of this-- did you notice that neither RT nor WT made snow last night (2/2)? How long has it been since the local ski hills felt that they had so much snow on their runs that they didn't even make snow AT NIGHT??? My goodness we seem to be having a good season!
And what exactly do you mean by schussing? I looked this is up in the dictionary and it says "to ski straight down hill."
But in your article this doesn't seem to clear up statements that schussing is often followed by hucking.
I thought hucking involved spitting. If that's the case, then I am glad the shusses looked first before they made their hucks, lest spittle land on some unsuspecting skier below!
BUT unfortunately I looked this up too and it said hucking involved higgling. Alas we have a crazy language!!
How about some other ski-isms?
Why did the schussers need spotters? Was the cornice a blind entry or were they taking a running start before the cornice? I'm assuming the cornice was at the very top of the trail.
that's about all i think off and that's not saying alot!
One option then after the cornice would have been to stick it, then continue from there.
that's another one!!!
Cascade Screworm takes it for me!!
The top of Gunbarrel is not only steep, but it can get much steeper depending on how they blow snow onto the trail. This year, they appear to have formed a very nice lip at the top so that the pitch underneath it is about 60-70 degrees (on average) for 15 feet or so, then it levels off to 40 degrees, then 30, then onto the lower 500 vertical feet of the trail (which is really intermediate).
The schussers were taking two approaches to the top 100 vertical feet. Some were standing right at the lip waiting for the trail to clear, then doing a nice Figure 11 and bombing the top 100 feet. They'd then stop about 100 yards off the face and watch their friends come down.
The second group were the jumpers. They'd get their buddies to stand at the lip and scope out the "landing area" (which was usually the very bottom of the 60 degree pitch but for some, it was where the slope began to level out below the initial drop). Like aircraft controllers at an international airport, these guys would scout out the trail and give clearance for takeoff when all was ready. These guys would then get a nice 20-30 foot acceleration and leap off the top lip, sometimes taking as much as a 20-30 foot jump out and down the trail. Upon landing, they would Figure 11 down to the "meeting spot" (again, about a hundred yards down the run) and wait for their friends to catch up.
So some started with a huck, then many of them would just Figure 11 the lower 500 vertical feet as well. That's the part I was referring to as a little dangerous, due to the mix of skiers down there. The upper drop was pretty well self-regulated.
If you guys are right and the wave of the future at local hills is more and more half pipes and terrain parks, it's going to encourage more skiers to become part-timers. There's got to be terrain for dedicated traditionalists to turn on, too. Oh well.
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