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Author Topic: Snowboarding 2013/14 -- Observations on Park City and Brighton  (Read 5156 times)
Tommy T
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« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2014, 04:39:44 PM »

And then on the morning of the 8th, that area was raked by a slide, estimated to be 150 feet wide and 600 feet vertical.  The reporting observers (they had climbed up from the other side of the ridge while skiing in the USA Bowl, above and across the road from Solitude in Big Cottonwood Canyon) who sent their findings to the Utah Avalanche Center photographed the path and debris field and believed that the slide was triggered by a collapsing cornice in the hours before the Park City area had openned for the day.  

The Wasatch areas have received between 3 (Park City) and 5 (Brighton) feet of new snow from the week long event and slides are all over the place.  Pine Cone ridge is under a closure again while Patrol starts over from scratch to evaluate and control.

Living out here sure isn't the same as skiing the Blue Hills after school.

Tommy T.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 04:41:21 PM by Tommy T » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2014, 07:31:47 PM »

Finally, good weather again and a chance to take advantage of some substantial new snow.

I headed up Jupiter Lift to the high bowls where the best snow was still very good and the traffic was light.  I had my camera and hoped to get a better shot of the Pinecone Ridge area and of the location of the recent slide.

Those objectives were accomplished, but with different results than I had expected. 

Although three ski patrollers in the shack at the top of the Jupiter Lift couldn't completely agree on the names of the surrounding areas (both in bounds and out), we all finally decided that Scott's Bowl, named that on the trail map of Park City, had very little to do with Scott's Peak out of Park City Ski Area's  boundary, which is so named on the USGS maps that show the USA Bowl and Solitude Ski Area.

This picture, from fairly near the top of Jupiter Bowl, as shown on the Park City map, connects what are probably the right names with the right features:



The dashed yellow line is the Park City Ski Area boundary.

The Saturday avalanche on the North (picture right) exposure of Scott's Peak really in no way threatened the ski area and was not particularly connected to the Pine Cone Ridge.  It did, however, spook the avalanche people at Park City and resulted in a closure of Pine Cone Ridge until additional exploration and control work can be completed.

The following picture, taken from near Pioneer Ridge over on Jupiter Peak, gives a good look at the terrain involved in my prize of the season so far, as described in the earlier post about making several 100 feet of fresh tracks down the face of the ridge.  (This picture was taken from about the notch in the ridge coming off of Jupiter Peak toward the left side of the picture in the earlier post.  There's a lot of untracked terrain in this picture and today I made 5 Jupiter Lift runs trying to mar as much of it as possible!)




I don't expect this to make a lot of sense to any of you, but it does give some idea of how much fun I am having playing around in the unused parts of one of North America's best ski areas.

Tommy T.
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« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2014, 03:45:14 PM »

Base depths from the Central Wasatch regions that I follow:

      
   Snowbird Last Updated: 2/12    88" - 88"
      
   Alta Ski Area Last Updated: 2/12        73" - 88"
      
   Brighton Resort Last Updated: 2/12    62" - 88"
      
   Solitude Mountain Resort Last Updated: 2/12     87" - 87"
      
   Snowbasin Last Updated: 2/12       83" - 83"
      
   Canyons Last Updated: 2/12      55" - 75"
      
   Park City Mountain Resort Last Updated: 2/12    69" - 69"


These are self-reported to the "On-Snow" web site and are represented as base and summit measurements.   I assume that areas reporting a single number have only one measuring point and that none of the areas have true summit measurements up on some rocky, wind-blown point.  I track the changes from day to day at the areas that I use and at the areas near the ones that I use.  Increases and decreases tend to be consistent with each geographical pocket (Little Cottonwood, Big Cottonwood, Summit County area, etc).  I have been told several things about Park City measurements -- one is that the number is taken from a local cross-country center and adjusted up a bit for altitude; another is that Park City doesn't actually measure and just reports a guess that is someplace in the middle of the Canyon Ski Resort range.  I really don't know.

It is also clear that these numbers are only a good way to track the season -- once there is a foot or two of snow on the ground, surface conditions are much more important to skiers and riders that basew depth//and if you're in a bowl with a lot of boulders, you may need to watch out for rock -- 8 foot high boulders aren't uncommon in the mountains.

Anyway, it's a fun thing to think about when the weather is foul (like today --  rainy at the bases, windy up high).


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« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2014, 04:21:47 PM »

Yesterday was fantastically good at Park City Mountain Resort.  I put in around 16,000 vertical feet, virtually all of it in the treed bowls off of Jupiter and McConkey's.  It's crazy out here -- big crowds for the long week-end (I have a "Fast Tracks" pass that really works to bypass the lift lines) but very few skiers and riders in the bowls and virtually none in the trees.  PCMR is not generally regarded as an area for the adventuresom.  But, in fact, it has a lot of very good open bowl and rideable woods.  At about 8500 feet ASL, I stopped in an open spruce woods and stuck my arm down full length down into the snow without feeling any layers or resistence -- just medium dense, unpacked snow.

Today, the weather in the mountains is a terrible mix of warm temperatures, a bit of snow and rain.    It's the tail end of the good snow-producing system that just passed.  The tail will be gone and the weather will a delight tomorrow -- then the next system comes through with a lot of snow and seasonal temps.

So . . . I'm at home on Sunday without a lot to do.  We live on a level that is well above the core of Salt Lake City.  It's the shoreline of the ancient lake that filled the Great Basin.  We look out to West over the tops of houses just a half block away and have nice views of the Oquirrh Mountains.  This picture is of the Oquirrh from our place taken this morning.  At the time, the web cams from the Wasatch ski areas were showing bad visibility in blowing wet snow.  Building that base behind us while we enjoy the dawn show ahead.



Just after the picture was taken, the weather worked its way downhill and we had an interesting spate of graupel  -- the ground is pretty warm and it melted almost as it landed and my efforts to get a picture of our porch with graupel were in vain.

(Then my wife called on the cell phone to report that she had smashed the front of the car into a sturdy sign of some sort in a parking lot.)

Tommy T.

Update:  The sign was a "Reserved: Handicapped Parking" marker mounted in a heavy concrete cone.  Pretty much wiped out the left front bodywork, headlights, etc.    She was able to drive it home, but it was a lot of impact near suspension, brakes, steering components and front wheel drive mechanics.  It'll require work before it's ready to drive I-80 to Park City or the Cottowood Canyon roads again.  I think I'll try to find a Jeep rental -- we want to leave a car here and fly back and forth in the future and 4X4 would have a lot of advantages both for complying with the "4X4 or chains" rules that are frequently in effect and for driving around the streets of SLC after the occassional big dump turns downtown into a two wheel drive bowling alley.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2014, 11:16:43 PM by Tommy T » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2014, 08:12:15 PM »

CAUTION!!  SHAMELESS BRAG FOLLOWS



That image has been lifted from a Park City Mountain Resort jobs available page.  The little pink line shows about 1000 feet of descent as done by me today, passing through the cliff band in a gully known as "Machete."

I had hiked up from the top of McConkey's Lift twice to make runs in the P-Zone and the O-Zone.  I noticed that the line seemed fully covered and clear of slides on the first run and I scouted it from below on the second.  Third time up, I stopped at the Patrol shack on the summit of Jupiter Peak and asked about whether they thought riding it would be a good idea.  The answer was "Well, there's no mandatory air, if that's what you mean."  I got a little advice as to where on the summit might be a good starting point and off I went. 

Damn!!!  That one is life-time top ten descent for me.  Steep, tehnical, long and (if I may say so) impeccably run  -- I didn't even skid an edge; it was connected carved turns all the way.  Starting right at 10,000 feet ASL and dropping 1000 feet before entering the trees and the track back to the lift. 

This is the kind of self-bequethed reward that makes a lot of effort to get into such a situation worthwhile.  And, by "a lot of effort" I mean riding dozens of areas, travelling thousands of miles, making agonizing compromises and decisions, studying a given region for years and being ready and able when a perfect problem presents itself for solution. 

Four hours later and my pulse is still elevated.

I think that I'll make this my only post for the week.   Just let it sit here for a while.

Tommy T.
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« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2014, 06:41:14 PM »

Son, Lans, and grandson, Eli, arrived for a short snow vacation last night at about midnight.

Today was a beauty to start the trip for them.  About 10 inches in the last 24 hours, mid-week lack of crowds, and three sets of male hormones ready to tackle the steeps and savor the deeps.



That's my oldest grandson, 15, making smoke at about 9500 feet ASL in Scotts Bowl at Park City Mountain Resort. 

Tommy T.
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« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2014, 10:37:26 AM »

CAUTION!!  SHAMELESS BRAG FOLLOWS



That image has been lifted from a Park City Mountain Resort jobs available page.  The little pink line shows about 1000 feet of descent as done by me today, passing through the cliff band in a gully known as "Machete."


I think that I'll make this my only post for the week.   Just let it sit here for a while.

Tommy T.
That's Awesome!
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« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2014, 06:02:50 PM »

The Pacific is in the process of sending us a BIG meteorological mess.

Today, Linda and I were cruising Blues at Park City under almost cloudless skies -- but that is done for the week. 

Time to get serious!!

The programs at U of U are predicting 25 inches of snow on Mt. Baldy by 11pm Saturday!

Tommy T.
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« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2014, 08:03:43 PM »

A couple of days out of sequence, but an email from my daughter-in-law asked for copies of all the pictures from the visit by my son and grandson.  This one stood out as "not just another action shot" and brings out a couple of strong points in favor of Brighton.



The two boys were flying home Sunday afternoon, so we took advantage of the fact that Bridger sells 1/2 day tickets for the morning (as well as for the afternoon and for lighted night skiing, and combinations of those such as twi-night tickets that cover late afternoon and night and super-day that runs 9am to 9pm).

In the picture Linda and Eli are out-of-bounds, on the East side of the ridge that makes the eastern boundary of the Brighton area.  Brighton has an absolute open boundary policy -- one may cross either direction at any point.  

The skyline behind Linda's right shoulder is mighty Timpanogos,  at 14,000 feet it's the giant of the Central Wasach  and the sentinel that looks over R.Redford's Sundance Resort.

Tommy T.
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« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2014, 08:40:47 PM »

The central Wasatch areas are facing a funny problem -- too much snow forecast for tomorrow and the coming weekend.  The snow report and forecast, especially from Park City, is trying very hard to say "we just got a great dump -- come on out!" while not saying "and tomorrow is going to be a real stormer that will be miserable for anybody out in it-- but it will be moderating by mid-night Monday."



Such problems!!

Tommy T.
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« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2014, 06:57:48 PM »

Forecast shown above seems to be right on for Saturday, so we went to see Borodin's Prince Igor, live via HD cinema from the NY Met.  

Borodin didn't complete the opera and really just left us a bunch of isolated scenes with music and no significant guidance as to how to put it all together or as to how it might end.  A number of Russian composers have used the Borodin material to create a complete version and the various versions are quite popular in Russia where the historic Igor is sort of the George Washington of his country.

The current version being done by the Met is musically inconsistent, story-wise difficult to follow and production-wise badly flawed in inexplicable ways  -- for example in the final scene the townspeople are gathered in the former central building, now ruined by bombs and or artillery, where they try to warm their hands over fires --  while a few electric light fixtures gleam brighty overhead?  (I assume that everyone knows that the historical Igor was born in 1151 and died just past 50 years later.)

I truly love most opera -- I've attended productions from Verona to Santa Fe and even played in the pit for a few non-pro productions and I consider it to be the pinnacle of performing art with everything -- stage craft, singing, dancing, acting, orchestration and more.   I wish that I had gone riding in the snow and thunder storms.

Tommy T.
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« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2014, 01:09:23 PM »

ARRRGH!!! Huh Sad Angry

All of my weather resources, both last night and early this morning showed snow in the air and slush on the ground for the central Wasatch areas today.  So, I stayed home to do a couple of chores and to practice some tricky rhythms in Fiddler on the Roof for a pit orchestra rehearsal tonight.


Now the web cams are showing blue skies and area updates are reporting great conditions.

Well, there is always tomorrow, which by the way, is forecasted as having a high chance of 15 mph winds and moderately heavy snow (7" at Park City // 9" at Brighton).

My son and the other grandson (the one that didn't come last week) will be out for the end of the week and the week-end and there will probably be good snow underfoot and reasonable weather for them.  (This is the youngest grandson who is the unrestrained enthusiast who has been a gung-ho skier since he was 1 year old.  Shortly before he was two years old, he made his first unassisted run of an on-the-map Green trail at Steamboat Springs, getting on the chair, off the chair and descending using turns and edges to control his position and speed with no leash and without being touched by anyone. When he was 5, at Mt Bachelor, he broke his leg by catching a ski on the icy snow curb left by the groomer.  His comment, from his wheel chair that evening, was "It wouldn't have happened if I had been in the trees with Gramp."

Frankly, it's hard to lose when you live in the Wasatch and you've got every day to choose from.  It just a slight frustration when plans or projections go wrong.


Tommy T.
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« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2014, 02:14:59 PM »

I started thinking about Utah yesterday when I found Uinta Hop Notch at a local store here in NH
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« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2014, 05:18:35 PM »

Two thoughts:

1.  Watch the date on those Hop Notch bottles.  The name was changed to "Hop Nosh" last Fall because of some marketing conflict with the "Notch" name.  I hear that it is gaining a national reputation.

2.  That brew is an IPA and is way too hopsy (typical of Uinta's ales) for my taste.  I like their King's Peak porter and Linda turned on to their Hefewizen after a seven course beer and dinner pairing affair sponsored by Uinta up at the Silver Fork Lodge in BCC.

Otherwise:

I'm loyal to the big, bad, high alchohol content stouts like Squatter's, Red Rock, Epic and Desert Edge breweries make.  By the way, Epic has become the last of the four to open a restuarant featuring their output.  It's on 2100S, right in the middle of Sugar House (just W of 1100E).  It feels very modern, has a good menu (both lunch and dinner) and an adjacent brewing operation that is specifically making brews for the on-draft service in the eatery.  No bar--just table service and that means that you can take kids in with you.

Tommy T.

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« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2014, 05:36:53 PM »

About a foot of new since my last visit to PCMR, 5" of it last night.  So Linda and I headed up for a mid-week day on the hill.

PCMR is large enough and complex enough in both the terrain and the lift layout that it is usually easy to find open runs of good quality with no crowds at all:



That's a shot taken at around 10am on Wednesday.  Linda really enjoys easy cruising on bluebird days with nobody zooming past or falling down in front of her.  In her opinion, this is about as good as it gets.  (The picture also shows the extent to which the lands around the whole Summit County, Utah, area are being densely built-up.)  Fortunately, National Forest lands protect the back side and much of the Cottonwood Canyons.  The West side of the watershed also limits development by virtue of protection rules for the Salt Lake City metro region water supply.

But, by the time we finished lunch at my on-the-mountain favorite, the Viking Yurt (where she had a portebello mushroom wrap and I had a buffalo brat on a bun), we headed back into the area immediately above the base and found the crowd:



If you go up the mountain in any meaningful way, you find yourself cut off from the base area.  Especially on race or training days, about the only way back from a large percentage of the terrain is down Home Run, a 4 mile long green trail that almost everyone has to take at least part of the way down.  The shot above shows small, mid-week usage.  On a busy weekend day or a powder Monday during school vacation parts of that trail remind me of NYC sidewalks.

Last Saturday, I got out there a bit late for me, maybe 10:30, and the two big parking lots were completely full.  Parking attendants directed me to jump the curb and parked me, pulled in nose first, across the sidewalk at one of the luxury hotels just across from the main area plaza.  Actually, it was a great parking spot but thank goodness my pass deal includes the "Fast Track" lane to bypass lift lines. I quickly Fast Tracked to the Jupiter Lift and there, with minimum lines, I spent the day making five runs, each interspersed with hiking the ridges -- couple thousand feet of climbing and just a little more than that on the Jupiter and I had a good day in spite of the crowds below.

Tommy T.
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