Pages: 1 ... 4 5 [6]   Go Down
Print
Author Topic: Annual Ski and Snowboard Thing 2012/2013  (Read 6732 times)
Tommy T
Backcountry Guide
****

Reputation: +50/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2080



View Profile
« Reply #75 on: April 13, 2013, 10:46:06 PM »

A fast moving, hard hitting storm is expected to give us 10 inches, more or less, to finish out our stay.  Canyons will close after tomorrow (Sunday) but the 'Bird is gradually reducing the number of lifts running and the extent of open terrain available and expects to stay open until mid-May.  Certain lifts, like mid-Gad will close this week, next week the Gad-2 will close followed by GadZoom.  The Gad side will be closed so there will be no grooming or patrolling on that part.  The Peruvian chair and the tunnel will shut down a week later and all the action will be up the tram plus Little Cloud and Mineral Basin lifts.  (Linda's pass at S'brd is "chairs only" because she mostly skis the Gad side and if she want to, she can access the Mineral Basin via Little Cloud or through the tunnel from the Peruvian chair.  S'brd waives the "chairs only" restriction for this late season period so she can get to MB from the tram.  She hates Chip's and will usually ride the tram back down while I do something off the Cirque and meet her at the bottom.)

Closing on our newly acquired real estate will be April 23 and we leave for the season on the 25th.  (The present owners will rent from us while their new home is finished and furnished -- we'll probably come back out for a month in August or so to do our own furninshing and preparations for our first winter in it.)

Overall, I would say that this season has been a little less intense than last year but generally speaking I've experienced it as a little higher quality.  Almost nothing that I did this year was brand new to me, so there was less self-imposed pressure to "set a mark" and more time to enjoy a drop through the trees.

We did explore Sundance -- nice Wasatch feel for the greenies and blues -- and enjoyed Powder Mountain enough that we'll be back up there a few times next season.

I'll say something about non-pub restaurants.  While not increasing our number of meals out (already a bit on the frequent side), we tried hard to visit new and different places.  Tibetan food, Greek, Lebonese, Mexico City style gormet Mexican as well as the usual northern Mexican menu, a Kosher deli and sandwich shop operated by a Mormon Utahan who fell in love with the food during college in NYC, Peruvian seafood specialty restaurant of very high standard, a Bosnian cafe (?) (sort of eastern mediterania with less spicing), a reasonable facsimile of Texas BBQ, Vietnamese noodle house, Market Street -- an outstanding American sytle seaf food operation, etc.  That's the sort of thing that separates SLC from places like Bend, OR or Bozeman, MT.     

If you are hungry and coming down from the Cottonwood Canyons, stop for a meal at the Porcipine Grill, right at the bottom of Big Cottonwood just West of the stop light -- sort of hidden by the gasoline station on the corner, so slow down and check it out.  It's a serious apre-ski hangout with local beers, big plates, ski-bum waiters and a crowd that is mostly discussing the day's runs.  My pint was a chocolate stout from a local brewery north of SLC.  Delicious, but pretty strong -- I don't actually remember what I had to eat -- BUT IT WAS GOOD (Linda said so).

Tommy T.

Logged

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
                                                                             -- Pablo Picasso
Tommy T
Backcountry Guide
****

Reputation: +50/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2080



View Profile
« Reply #76 on: April 14, 2013, 04:22:06 PM »

Last report from Canyons for the season; April 14th, 2013 -- Closing Day, with 4" of new overnight, temps just below freezing all morning, bluebird skies, and nine lift rides with zero line -- that's nine lift rides on which the chair in front of me was empty.

I made at least a large number of freshies on every single run!  In fact, I made one 1000 foot vertical run that was absolute first tracks all of the way; three runs that were fresh lines for 1000 feet, the "Black Hole" natural half pipe with only only one track through it,  a first tracks and a fresh line in two closed trails that I poached by entering through trees, and freshies for 800 feet through "The Pines" to the natural half pipe "Tunnel of Fun" which had quite a few tracks which I avoided just by staying a little higher and/or a a little to the right of what had been already laid down.

Here's some pics of Canyons on the last day:

This is taken standing right next to the unloading station for the Saddleback lift.  There was absolutely no entrace track by any skier or boarder into this beautiful, open stand of Aspens.  Saddleback lift is an 1101 foot vertical rise and the trail map suggests that it is possible to spend about 80% of that in the trees and then finish under the lift. "



That was the entrance to the trees up on the rounded top of the ridge.  Down into the adventure, slopes are better angled -- still not a track, not even in the distance:



Toward the bottom, I cut over to the lift and finished under its line.  I headed right back up that lift and my tracks had not been touched.  These three shots are taken from the Saddleback lift and show

A) My line curving out of the trees toward the lift line:



B) Dropping down the line:



C) Coming out on the trail just above the bottom of the lift:



At the top the ride when I took those pictures, I thought about staying with that lift to see how long it would be before somebody else put a line there, but instead I dropped the trees on the other side of the ridge and went down through very open trees to the Tunnel of Fun.  It had taken some traffic earlier in the morning but still was in good shape with chances to high-point on the sides above the earlier competition.  Canyons claims six natural half-pipes and at least three of them, including this one, are really quite good:



Planning on making my last run down to the base, I may have accidentally taken advantage of some ambiguity in the placement of the "Closed" signs and ran the trail Eagle down the Orange Bubble lift line and laying in a new line in the process -- clearly the closure was because of thin cover and bare spots, not avi danger, and I had scouted it from the chair earlier.  I went back up to see if I had left a photograph-able trail, and on the way back down I made the same mistake interpreting the "Closed" sign on Lynx, just one trail over and parallel to Eagle.  Both of these were untouched, although it's hard to figure out why.  My line appears to be unnecessarily close to the trees, but in fact the center of the trail is bare and the snow just a few feet out from the trees is quite shallow and hiding a lot of rocks:




So,

that's it at Canyons.  SnowBird stays open until after we are gone and I'll get up there a few more times.

In the meantime, it looks like we're buying the SLC house.  Lot's to do in terms of finalizing the nickels and dimes (we agree that we saw the rickety garage and we'll be responsible for making it useable -- they agree that we could not have anticipated the problems that the inspector found in the brick chimney and they'll take care of the cost and the repairs to that), selling some bonds and getting a wire transfer lined up, agreeing to rent to them for a few months while they furnish and then move into their new place and arranging to store our winter gear in the house, even though they are renting it and won't be moved out. Got to arrange insurance, transfer the utility bills, line-up a grounds keeper for the summer, etc.

Gee!  We really have to work hard to have fun -- even in retirement.

Tommy T.









Logged

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
                                                                             -- Pablo Picasso
Tommy T
Backcountry Guide
****

Reputation: +50/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2080



View Profile
« Reply #77 on: April 18, 2013, 08:24:20 AM »

Headed back up Little Cottonwood -- probably for my last day this season:

From the Utah Avalanche Center this morning:

It's been quite a storm. Yesterday, it was full on winter complete with a cold, stiff wind and continued snow squalls. The upper Cottonwood Canyons have up to 20 inches of storm total snow with over an inch of water weight. Overnight temperatures continued very cold in the lower teens and even one reading of 8 degrees at Brighton. Winds blew yesterday from the north and northwest 20, gusting to 30. Skies are clear and they will remain so all day. The snow is somewhat sun crusted on most aspects but there is still lots of creamy, dry snow on the shady aspects that feels just like a January storm.

Snowbird is pretty much shut down to the Tram and the two bowls that are reached via it -- Little Cloud and Mineral Basin -- and it goes week-end only pretty soon.  Our passes at Snowbird are for week-days only, so the Friday into Saturday event that may make Sunday a great day won't benefit us and we'll be headed back to Texas by the end of next week and there will be some packing and moving our winter gear into storage at the SLC house to do.

It's going to be a geogeous, blue-bird day today.  I'll try to get one more Wasatch Wonder Image to close this thread down.

Tommy T.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 10:29:12 PM by Tommy T » Logged

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
                                                                             -- Pablo Picasso
Tommy T
Backcountry Guide
****

Reputation: +50/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2080



View Profile
« Reply #78 on: April 18, 2013, 05:07:25 PM »



April 18, 2013
View over Cliff Lodge at Snowbird from up on the Primrose Path.
Logged

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
                                                                             -- Pablo Picasso
Tommy T
Backcountry Guide
****

Reputation: +50/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2080



View Profile
« Reply #79 on: April 18, 2013, 05:53:39 PM »

That last post just stood on its own -- there was nothing to say.

No wonder we're buying a vacation house in SLC (closing is on for Monday).

Snowbird and Brighton are the only areas in the Central Wasatch still open during the week.  Alta is week-ends only and Brighton and S'bird go that way before the end of the month.

Today was really, really good -- new snow, no crowd at all, freshies for most turns on every run; a couple of first tracks--one off the first public Tram, just avoiding the ski lines and staying left of Chips.  The second one was pure luck.  Mineral Basin was closed on the first Tram ride; on my second Tram, during the usual cautions from the operator as we entered the top dock, he announced that MB had just openned.  A few people in front of me headed that way but kept going onto the Road to Provo or the Path to Paradise, so I just veered left and dropped the Headwall for a true first tracks -- crowds were small so I got some pictures of the line on my way back up on lift (these are displayed from the top down, although they were taken from the bottom up as I rode the lift back up).

So this is at the top just over the lip, coming down from just opposite of the Little Cloud lift top station:



Continuing that line, this is the central section just before entering a broad chute at the bottom:



And, the lower section with just a touch of technical challenge:



As the Sun heated things up towards Noon, the wind picked up and got very gusty. The Baldy anenometer was recording 60 mph gusts at about the time this shot was taken just beyond the Little Cloud lift station, looking down the Path to Paradise.



Even after Noon, when I road back down the Cirque again to get to my car and head home, I was able to find some untracked lines to finish of the day:



(My track is the obvious, unartistic, board line down the skier's left side of the picture.  It's a bit tricky to read the photo; my line and the one to the skier's right of it disappear behind a ridge and all the ski lines in the foreground are coming down from the skier's left side of the lower Cirque more or less along that ridge and then coming over it.  The other board and my line disapear down into the low point on the other side of the ridge and come out lost in the mess of other tracks.)


Tommy T.







« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 10:30:34 PM by Tommy T » Logged

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
                                                                             -- Pablo Picasso
Tommy T
Backcountry Guide
****

Reputation: +50/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2080



View Profile
« Reply #80 on: May 03, 2013, 02:04:21 PM »

Last report on our travels and our snow fun last winter-- we're home.  Yet another trip across the mountains and plains to Deep East Texas -- the changing vistas from the still-snowcapped Rockies through the deserts to the now in bloom prairies to the Pineywoods of home always look about the same in pictures although the experience changes from year to year.  This year we got a few interesting animal shots that should be a bit of a visual change for the end of this thread:

Coming down between Steamboat and Breckenridge in north-central Colorado we saw a pair of Osprey, one tending the massive nest (re-used and enlarged year after year) and one sitting nearby keeping watch.





In the prairie, we saw the prairie dogs -- in fact a whole prairie dog town that looked like something from a Disney nature film as the little rodents popped in and out of their holes:







Caprock State Park in Texas is home of the state buffalo herd (if you call them "bison," we know that you are from East of the Mississippi).  Once before, we camped at that park and there is a posting of a single buffalo on a hiking trail.  This year we got a good look at a herd:



The future of the herd look to be pretty good as well:



Now we're home, the car is unpacked and the Thule box in stored.  We have some serious laundry to do and the grocery store needs a visit.

Tommy T.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 11:18:19 AM by Tommy T » Logged

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
                                                                             -- Pablo Picasso
Tommy T
Backcountry Guide
****

Reputation: +50/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2080



View Profile
« Reply #81 on: May 06, 2013, 12:01:31 PM »

On May 1, 2013, the snow pack at the Alta/Collins station dropped below 100 inches. That's not bad, huh?

A substantial report on the findings of a massive climate assessment for the Southwest has just been released.  The whole twenty chapter report and a summary of findings with links to the report and other source is on-line at    http://swcarr.arizona.edu/key-findings .  "Southwest" covers all of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and at least the Southwestern drainages of New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.

The report is not good for water users for the next 100 years or so but it does give some comfort to skiers and snowboarders for the remainder of my life -- the precipitation may actually go up and temperature increases in ski country will show up as a gradual moving up of the freeze/thaw line. 

It is a comforting, if self-centered, expectation that the high-altitude snow pack will hang around in the Wasatch and the Central Rockies for at least several decades.  And, we may not have to shovel out the garage in Salt Lake City very often.  Property values around our SLC house might suffer if the SW economy takes a hit from things like loss of open range suitable for grazzing, more expensive water for domestic, industrial and agricultural uses, and too late/too little efforts to control emissions.  Alta may be down to 100 inches by mid-April in another 10 years.

I voted for the Green Party in the 2012 elections -- one of 12 Green Party votes in my entire county (Texas went GOP for President 70/30 -- don't try to convince me that I wasted my vote).  At my age and self-dedication to fun, I can't do much more than that, although I do encourage the rest of you fight for rational policy change based on the best available science and economic analysis.

Tommy T.
Logged

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
                                                                             -- Pablo Picasso
Tommy T
Backcountry Guide
****

Reputation: +50/-2
Offline Offline

Posts: 2080



View Profile
« Reply #82 on: May 07, 2013, 01:21:54 PM »

Crazy weather continues nation-wide.

Yesterday highs in Seattle were higher than the highs in Phoenix.  Northern Vermont was hotter than Pensacola and Tallahasee.

(Fortunately, from the global warming point of view, I'm a pretty good water-skier.  I haven't wind-surfed much since breaking my neck during Hurricane Bob, but, given an appropriate rig, I could probably still handle a moderate gale.)

Tommy T.
Logged

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
                                                                             -- Pablo Picasso
surf88
Backcountry Elite**
Backcountry Guide
*****

Reputation: +69/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 3235


climb


View Profile Email
« Reply #83 on: May 08, 2013, 07:35:12 AM »

It was crazy looking at the upside down weather map yesterday.
Logged

More Snow Please?

My Blog:
http://www.outdoortripreports.com/
Pages: 1 ... 4 5 [6]   Go Up
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal