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Author Topic: Annual Ski and Snowboard Thing 2012/2013  (Read 6677 times)
Tommy T
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« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2012, 06:01:13 PM »

First day at Snowbird for the season.  15" in the last 48 hours as of opening this morning plus another 6 or 7 during the day.  All on a 60 inch bases with 115" on the year the year so far.  New snow, loose snow and 45 mph gusts on a steady 25 mph wind speed with cloud bottoms 1000 feet or so below the base station level -- testing whiteout.  I saw numerous intermediates get lost going down Chip's Run, missing switchbacks and ending up out in the middle of black level bowls.

The new Little Cloud quad lift is a delight, two more spaces per seat and higher speed more than doubles the uphill capacity and a side benefit is that the unload is now after a 90 degree turn toward the Road to Provo -- that eliminates the game of kamikaze that used to take place between the Tram crowd and the Little Cloud unloaders as they merged and criss-crossed trying to get to Mineral and Little Cloud basins.

(The horrible and dangerous green carpet experiment at the topmost entrance to Great Scott which was seriously panned by me last year is gone.  The Tram operator with whom I discussed said device basically said a lot of people didn't like it and no one cared for it.) 

Snow is forecast to continue over the Wasatch for two more full days and nights.

Tommy T. 
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« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2012, 07:02:12 PM »

Canyons is basically running a classic Wasatch-powder-on-packed-powder surface.  This was made comically obvious when a pretty good adult skier and I were making a pair of fast fresh tracks down a nice open gully on a newly opened face when suddenly both of us took headers -- I literally buried the nose and did what gymnasts call a "round-off" followed by a 1/2 gainer.  I dug my head out of the snow and saw the skier right beside me laying out flat with one ski about two turns back up the hill.  We laughed at the coincidence and after waiting for him to collect and check his ski, I headed down.  The snow down hill from the spot of our fall was softer, slower and required a bit of unweighting, even with the board, to get up for a turn.

I hit the collector trail at the bottom and turned down.  As I passed the next gully on the same slope, very similar to one we were in and parallel to it, I saw three skiers/boarders down in the snow at just about the exact same location up the hill. 

I believe that all five of us had been taken in by the old frost line that divided the run into an upper part with "well frozen packed powder" with 10" of fluff on top and a lower part with "mushy mashed potatoes packed powder" with 10" of fluff.  Every one of us was driving fast, making fresh lines, and when we first put full weight into a turn on the softer stuff everyone of us took a tumble. 

The same old/new:soft/firm interface probably was involved in a big snowboarder triggered avi (estimated 2.5' deep, 300' wide and 700' long) triggered near Noon today, right around the same spot as last year's fatality which I mentioned in the earlier post with a picture.  That area is known as Dutch Draw.  In good conditions it is a very good piece of side-country, but it obviously has chronic problems with its 36 degree slope angle and East aspect.  Even my Wasatch back-country route book warns about not just automatically using it as a return route to Park City from tours south of the ridge.  (I haven't seen a final report, but observers of the event believed that no one was injured today. Two boarders were engulfed by the cloud but were not hit with debris.  It appears to have been remotely triggered by a third boarder who was not caught by it and remained high.)

Tommy T.
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« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2012, 09:55:47 PM »



I believe that all five of us had been taken in by the old frost line that divided the run into an upper part with "well frozen packed powder" with 10" of fluff on top and a lower part with "mushy mashed potatoes packed powder" with 10" of fluff.  Every one of us was driving fast, making fresh lines, and when we first put full weight into a turn on the softer stuff everyone of us took a tumble. 



I talked to Patrol about this and they expanded on the cause of the "more solid" lower layer.  Last week-end there was a precipitation event that was rain up to about 8000 feet and snow above.  Then temps dropped and the snow up to the 8000 foot level got a rain crust while the snow above that level became"packed powder."  8000 feet ASL is a pretty close approximation for where the group tumbles took place.

Instead of breaking through into soggy snow, we slipped out on buried ice.

Tommy T.
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« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2012, 10:12:14 AM »

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!!

Our SLC Xmas present is up to two feet of new snow in the last two days and a calm, 20 degree day with mostly sunny skies to enjoy it.

Then two more days with another two foot storm and a clear Friday to enjoy it before what will probably be a huge crowd for the weekend.



Tommy T.

(Update:  22,400' of good riding -- mostly in trees for the unlimited freshies, with just a couple of runs in tracked-up open bowls for a little speed.)
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 11:14:42 AM by Tommy T » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2012, 04:33:15 PM »

Snowing hard on the mountains (9" to 13" basically the same tomorrow) and we had some other matters requiring attention anyway, so today's highlight is Linda's shot of the Rocky Mountain quail trecking across our back yard to our neighbor's.  He feeds them.



I cropped one handsome little male so you can see what the bird looks like:



Tommy T.
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« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2012, 11:20:38 PM »

Salt Lake City continues to amaze us.

This evening we ate at a small Bosnian cafe.

Not sure what we ate.  Mine was sort of a green pepper stuffed with a beef mixture in a stew of rice and other stuff.  Linda had a kebob with chicken and lamb resting on a kind of spinach muffin surrounded by rice. Excellent bread was shaped like a 6" pita but the consistency of a dense baking powder bread about 3/4" thick -- no yeast flavor, but sort of malty. Mild coffee served Turkish style and baklava for dessert.  Think Greek without grape leaves or Leboneese with less spice. The owners were our waiter and his brother, the cook -- both Bosnian Muslems recently immigrated to the U.S.

Sampled the fare of yet another Utah brewery -- Zion Canyon Brewery in Zion Canyon near Zion National Park.  Their "Springdale Amber Ale" is a full flavored ale without being bitterly hopsy.

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« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2013, 11:41:34 AM »

Happy Anniversary, everyone.  Linda and I were married on January 1 and are now beginning our 50th year.

The Christmas to New Years week was not too crowded in the Wasatch and the snow has been good to excellent.  Right now Canyons is showing over 10' on the season with nearly 3' in the last week.  Snow numbers are even better up in the Cottonwood Canyons.  Avi danger is pretty hard to predict across the region with 3 possible trigger conditions existing down through the still fairly shallow (less than 3') snowpack, but, in general, the highest danger ratings are only "Considerable" and much of the useable out-of-bound terrain is "Moderate."  In bounds, Canyons is doing a lot of control every day and is running about 90% of its total terrain open.

Now, however, we are facing a pretty dry, stable high that means sunny, not snowy, weather is certain for a week and likely for a week after that.  Temps will be chilly, so the snow pack will last, but the groomers are going to be pretty solid by the time the next storm system breaks through.

Happy New Year, too. 

Tommy T.


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« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2013, 05:07:32 PM »

Congratulations!  Thats Huge!
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« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2013, 01:53:47 PM »

Congratulations!  Thats Huge!

Thanks, Surf.  We were married at about 10am so we celebrate during the day and in the evening of the 1st, not at mid-night on December 31st.  So....

We were a bit slow getting out of bed this morning and, for the first time this season, I am making it two consecutive days with out being on the slopes.

Yesterday we did brunch at a Greek owned and themed restaurant called "The Other Place."  (If anybody doesn't get the tie-in to  "This is the Place," pm me or Surf and get the official briefing on the Morman history of Salt Lake City.)  We told the owner that it was our 49th Anniversary and he waived the check.  Then "Anna Karenina" at the Salt Lake City Film Society's cinema, The Broadway, in the afternoon.   Then the evening at home started with a tradition, pop-corn and champagne, and continued into other traditions . . . .

Tommy T.
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« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2013, 01:08:17 PM »

Well, for the first time in 8 years of doing this all-season thing, I've been sick.  This is my 4th day in a row without going out on the snow.  My main symptom has been laryngitis and an inability to feel like I am doing a good job of clearing my throat.  Sleeping is tough because of a lot of coughing.  We've had a terrible polution-filled inversion layer covering the city for a week and a nurse indicated that many people have various kinds of breathing issues when that happens.  I think that is a good guess -- I had some similar issues at Chaco in 2002 and it was found that the swamp cooler on our apartment in staff housing was really full of mold probably causing an allergic reaction in my upper respritory tract.

Another guess is that I have some version of the flu which my accummulated resistance from 45 years of annual flu shots is almost holding off.  I have some odd muscle sorness at spots that aren't related to boarding -- I associate that with flues that I remember from the past.  I'm just glad that it's 4 days out of 120 and not 4 days out of a 7 day vacation with a travel taking up each end.

I'm not missing much on the mountains -- the inversion is caused by a stable, stationary high pressure area backed up against the west side of the Wasatch. The same high has caused several days of cold clear weather at the areas with no new snow, icy surfaces in the woods and groomers that are getting beaten into submission every night but getting less and less pleasant every day.

I'll admit to driving my wife crazy and she confesses that the not talking bit is a relief.

I slept pretty well last night and feel better today.  I expect to be up at Snowbird tomorrow morning.  Linda is ready to get out in the snow again and a day with her is easier on me, so it's a good way to ease back into the routine.

Tommy T.



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« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2013, 03:20:54 PM »

Hope you feel better soon !
There's a bunch of flu type illnesses going around, unfortunately I fell victim to one
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« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2013, 07:04:12 PM »

I'll admit to driving my wife crazy and she confesses that the not talking bit is a relief.
Tommy T.
Haha!
Hope you feel better soon.  Its been crazy how many people have been sick around here lately.  At least your sick for the high pressure part of the cycle.
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« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2013, 08:41:35 PM »

Number 98 on my personal list of lift served ski area skied or (most likely) ridden -- Sundance Ski resort, near Provo, UT, in the region of the Southern giants of the Wasatch.  We've been there before for openning day of the Sundance Film Festival (most of which happens in Park City and which also has several venues around Salt Lake City). but this is the first time on skies and board.,

It was a beautiful day between the persistent high disappating and an expected SW storm moving in tonight.  Linda and I made about a 35 minute drive south from Temple Square to Provo Canyon and up a little side road to the Robert Redford creation:  Sundance Resort.  Don't even think about what Oprah did to Telluride!  Redford took a tiny family area and turned into a small private dream of a mountain get-a-way.  You can't even get a clue as to where Redford's cabin is unless you know my friend Angie -- her grandfather built it. One review used the phrase "lots of rough hewn wood."  That's the base for sure -- very little has been done just for show.  The buildings fit into the environment.  The staff is low key.  The food at the Foundry Grill is so good that we haven't tried any of the other options.

No crowd and no lines today, midweek and still running, like all of the range, on accummulating early season snow.

Still the groomers were of a nice texture, not beat to death, and we hit the warm-up cycle just right, starting around 10am, breaking for lunch around Noon, and adding an hour thereafter.

450 acres encompassing 2100 feet of vertical -- emphasis on blue cruising and short black drops from ridge to valley.  Here's a snip from Google Earth on which I've drawn the area boundaries -- tall and skinny:



Notice the valley cutting across the ridges half-way up.  Getting to the top requires two chairs, with a change over right at that spot.  If there were lines, that would be a serious annoyance!

Larger map area from the same source showing how the ski area is really a part of the shoulder and ridge system of Mt. Timpanogos, high peak of the Wasatch:



Pink bulls-eye is the Timp summit.

And a copy of picture lifted from the Web showing the winter view of Timpanogos as seen from one of the two main lifts at Sundance:



The area  looks like it would be a great jumping off point for lift assisted access to some serious high country. . . .

But, it is in Utah County which has imposed a local law that makes crossing the ski area boundary a misdemeanor offence.  Sundance Ski Patrol is required to detain anyone caught crossing the line and to notify the sherrif's office.   Appareantly, serious fines are levied.  (Needless to say such laws are not in effect in the counties where Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, Brighton, Canyons, Park City and Deer Valley are located.)  The rationale seems to be that the Timpanogos area is really very rugged and pretty dangerous a venue for back country work.  Rescue work is similarly effected.   It is National Forest and it is open to back country, but not lift assisted.

Oh!  Ticket prices.  This is a celebrity owned "Resort," not an "area."   So be prepared:

All day senior tickets were $15 each.  Full adult is $54; $25 for afternoon only.

It's not big enough for a week vacation, but it is a nice little cherry on top of the Wasatch ski options.

Tommy T.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 08:46:50 PM by Tommy T » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2013, 09:01:44 AM »

Timp is one of the more beautiful mountains in Utah, Ive hiked on it quite a bit for someone from the east coast because one of my sisters lives in American Fork and my brother in law works as a guide for Sundance.  However Besides the Mountain and the canyons (AF and Provo) I'm not really a big fan of the Utah County area in general.  Provo has a little culture, but in general that whole area is box standard and lacks any unique character in my oppinion.  We have also observed on numerous occasions that in general woman are treated as inferior there, so my wife doesnt really like that part of utah either

If you get a chance to drive the whole Alpine Scenic Highway when it opens its definitely worth doing.
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« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2013, 05:26:50 PM »

Timp is one of the more beautiful mountains in Utah, Ive hiked on it quite a bit for someone from the east coast because one of my sisters lives in American Fork and my brother in law works as a guide for Sundance.  However Besides the Mountain and the canyons (AF and Provo) I'm not really a big fan of the Utah County area in general.  Provo has a little culture, but in general that whole area is box standard and lacks any unique character in my oppinion.  We have also observed on numerous occasions that in general woman are treated as inferior there, so my wife doesnt really like that part of utah either

If you get a chance to drive the whole Alpine Scenic Highway when it opens its definitely worth doing.


You get another 100% from me. 

Timp is really nice.  Just looking at it is a lesson in structural geology.  Among other bits of professional business, all of which seems to pay him pretty well, my son teaches field camps for professional geologists (mostly in the oil industry ) and the Wasatch is like an open text book of stratigraphy that he uses for some of his courses.

In the years that I can remember, we've been wandering the West since at least as early as 1957 and I have family pictures of things like my Mother and me on top of Pikes Peak in the late '40s.  My family always camped for vacations -- I don't remember ever staying in a hotel with my parents.  In the early 50s, the first trips that I really remember, most of our trips were East into the Smokies or down into Kentucky to camp on the big TVA lakes on the Tennessee River.  After law school, Linda and I started exploring the West.  I know UT 96 pretty well and Linda and I camped at the Timp campground with both kids when they were still pretty small, so that was early 70s.  We did some minor backpacking and camping over in the Uintas but nothing very long and nothing at all in the Wasatch.  We were still in the "visit all the National Parks" stage and backpacking with the kids was mostly short trips from a trail head for one night in the woods.  By the mid-80s we were beginning to ski in the West with the first areas being Park City and Snowbird, squeezed around a business trip to SLC (see next paragraph).

I'm really down on Provo which is exactly as you describe it.  I did some legal business there (as a consultant to a Salt Lake City law firm) when the city was trying to negotiate a resource recovery plant/power plant joint venture between Provo and BYU -- the people on both sides just drove me crazy.  At some point, the SLC law firm withdrew from representation because they did other work for Provo and other work for BYU so, as the two began negotiating with each other, conflict of interest questions arose and they did the right thing.  (Surf: Do you know that I did virtually all the legal and financial work on the Claremont recycling/solid waste disposal facility?  That one took the passage of laws by the Vermont and the New Hampshire legislatures and an act of Congres, plus negotiating a 20 year operating contract and overseeing a tax-exempt bond issue by the NH Industrial Development Authority.  If you know anything about it, tell how that project is working out -- if it's still working at all.)

I don't know the local demographics well, but I understand that SLC now has a majority of its population that is not Mormon.  I suspect that Provo remains very heavily Mormon.  The Mormon treatment of women may not be a problem for many of the Mormon women, but to non-Mormans it seems sort of, well, Medieval.

Angie is from one of the towns just North of Provo and she hated it when she lived there through high school and hates it more now that the family farm looks like a version of the Marine Corps base at Twenty-Nine Palms, built from Lego blocks.  She is not just a lapsed Mormon -- she is an active and vehiment critic of Mormon society.

(Some of you may not read every one of my posts over the several years that I've been posting.   Angie is the non-family female that I most love and respect.  She's my best snow-board student ever and she taught me quite a bit about astronomy and almost everything I know about archeo-astronomy.  Never married and disappointed by almost every man she's ever known, she's currently in charge of the National Park Service's over-all response to global warming.   Last I heard she, was working with individual parks to help each park develop a plan to determine global warming effects on it; to decide how to present the individual problems to the park visitors; andto have a plan to adapt and cope with what the effects may be on the park's particular situation and resources.  Based at the Park Service's Intermountain Headquarters in Ft. Collins, Angie frequently spends time with us at our winter ski homes.  I know her age, but I won't publish it.  Suffice it to say she is inbetween the ages of my daughter and my oldest granddaughter.  We have a sort of curious, mutual mentor relationship.  She and my wife also have a nice synergy.  My wife had a professional career and is at least as independent as Angie.  I think there is a bit of a surrogate mother situation between them.  This, then, is Angie, as I most often see her these days:



Big south-west storm bringing in 36" in the high terrain over the next 48 hours.

Tommy T.
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